According to the CDC, AVMA, and numerous resources (e.g., Merck Animal Health Wellbeing study), the veterinary profession is at risk for suicide. It’s no secret that veterinarians have hectic schedules. It can be unpredictable sometimes. Caring for animals is such a rewarding career to have but making time to take care of yourself is just as important than one might think and is crucial for your health. With that being said, work-life balance and self-care is key to one’s well-being. A few simple ways to help maintain a healthy well-being is to spend time with your family/friends (socialize), travel, and exercise. These things can mean different things to different people but all in all, can have the same effect.

Socializing doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment surrounded by people. Time to yourself is also necessary, however, being around family and friends that care about you and that want the best for you can be uplifting and bring positivity into your day-to-day. If you are friends with your coworkers, that’s great, but getting out of the work space and into a less stressful environment allows for you to enjoy the people you work with on a different level. By doing that, it can bring that positive atmosphere back into the work place. Even doing things on your own but in a group setting can be a breath of fresh air, like going to a trivia night or a painting class, etc., and socializing that way. There are so many networks and groups based off your interests that you can join on social media that hold meet and greets, happy hours, and different kinds of social outings. Meeting new people and conversing with them is a breath of fresh air in itself. You learn different perspectives and outlooks on life or in your profession and whether it’s good or bad, can hopefully make a positive impact on your life or make you consider another way of thinking that you might’ve never done before.

Another way to socialize is through exercise. Sure exercising sounds exhausting when you already have a lot going on, but it actually has so many health benefits varying from being in a better mood to having an easier time sleeping. With being a doctor and having a crazy schedule, who wouldn’t want to feel more relaxed?! Better yet, it’s in your control. There are more ways than one to exercise and there are a lot of options for working out nowadays like bootcamps, yoga, spin, etc., that are in a group setting and allow for you to meet new people. If that isn’t your style, taking short walks from time to time will help clear your head and give you time for a breather if you find yourself in a sticky/stressful situation at work or simply just need to step away for a moment. If you prefer to exercise at home, but aren’t sure what exercises to do exactly, you can do a quick search on Instagram, Pinterest, and if you don’t have those, a simple Google search will do just fine. With that you can find what works best for you, your body and your time.

Speaking of needing a break, we are given vacation days for a reason – to use them! When you think of “vacation” does “travel” pop into your head? Does that word immediately stress you out because of all your responsibilities you would be leaving behind start piling up in your head? If yes, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Traveling allows you to unwind and get away from that feeling of being overwhelmed, it shouldn’t be another stress. If it worries you that by going on vacation you are missing out on work and money you could be making, fear no more.

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