Happiness by Lua Pramos / CC BY-SA 2.0
A career within the veterinary sector can be rewarding; however, it comes with its fair share of challenges.
Staff are often expected to undertake long hours and juggle heavy workloads. To avoid burnout, it is important you make time in your schedule to relax and wind down. This article will arm you with some tips and tricks to keep stress at a minimum during your working day.
Start your day right
Never underestimate the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. To be the best you can at your job, it is essential to take time out of even the busiest days to refuel. Remember, vets need feeding too.
Whether between patients, on your lunch break, or during your commute, practising short, mindfulness exercises can help calm a busy mind and optimise brain function. This can be something as simple as taking a minute to focus on your breathing or a nearby object to clear your mind and refocus. The job of a veterinary surgeon or nurse can be emotionally and mentally draining, so don’t be ashamed to take a short step back to rejuvenate.
Too much to do and too little time? It’s a feeling any veterinary surgeon or nurse will recognise. Keep on top of your workload by organising your time efficiently, making sure you prioritise those important jobs. Develop a clear filing system for patient notes so you can access information quickly. Don't be afraid to delegate administrative jobs out to other practice staff where possible, freeing up time for you to attend to patients.
You’re not alone
The RCVS recognises working within the sector is both physically and mentally challenging. In 2015, the RCVS launched the Mind Matters Initiative to improve the mental health and well-being of vets across the country. Alongside running mental health awareness training courses across the UK, the initiative has also developed a bank of free resources on its website (www.vetmindmatters.org) to help those within the veterinary sector flourish. If there’s something troubling you, you can also contact Vetlife – a charity that provides emotional, financial and mental health support for everyone in the veterinary community (including veterinary nurses and students) through its 24/7 phone and email helpline. Call 0303 040 2551 or register at www.vetlife.org.uk to receive independent, confidential and free help or advice. After all, to care for your patients, it is important to look after your own mental and physical health, too.