Veterinary medicine is vastly rewarding, but like other professions, can also be emotionally challenging, even in the best of times. Given all that has occurred over the past year, it is more important than ever to take actions to support your mental health.
Make a self-care plan
Veterinary professionals are caregivers, and taking care of others starts with taking care of yourself. Carve out time and space to rest and recharge. Not sure where to start? Get tips for prioritizing self-care.
Talk to a friend
If you are stressed and feeling overwhelmed or living with a mental health condition like many people, you don’t have to go through it alone. Reach out to a friend, colleague or family member and let them know how you’re feeling.
Find professional support
As veterinary professionals, we encourage our clients to seek professional help when their pets do not feel their best. Doing the same for ourselves is smart. Finding a good therapist or counselor can often help us figure out a plan that helps us to start feeling better soon.
Create space for mindful moments
Mindful moments can help you slow your mind, let go of negative thoughts and calm your body. Apps such as Headspace offer a variety of mindfulness and other guided meditations.
Check in with co-workers, friends, and family
Asking for help is difficult for many people. Even a casual chat in the hallway can make all the difference when someone is having a tough day – try open-ended questions, and listen to understand.
Be a wellness champion
As veterinary professionals, we don’t always give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves. Encourage your team to adopt healthy habits, model self-care, and support others when you see them doing the same.
Take the ASK suicide prevention training
The ASK – Assess, Support, Know training is designed specifically for veterinary professionals to help them recognize when someone is in emotional distress and connect them to professional support.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts and needs help immediately, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255.
Small steps count
Mental health is just as important as physical and emotional health. Taking just one positive action today is a step toward long-term mental health and wellbeing.