March 2019

In today’s VETgirl online veterinary continuing education blog, Dr. Justine Lee, DACVECC, DABT reviews how you should live your veterinary life like you were in a hotel room.

OK, New Year’s just occurred, and you’re probably like me… You broke all your New Year’s Resolutions already, right? Well, here, some life hacks that I recently pondered and discovered!

As an emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist, I don’t live the typical life of a veterinarian, as I work from home sometimes and business travel quite a bit (while being a stay at home mom part-time and working at a specialty hospital part-time too). When I business travel, I stay in your traditional hotel (e.g., Hilton’s, Marriott’s, etc.). After traveling all these years, I noticed a trend of certain things that I always did in a hotel room whenever I business traveled. And that’s when I realized, there are some serious life lessons on how you should live your life like you were in a hotel room.

What I realized? I prioritize self care and efficiency when business traveling. And why can’t I implement these changes at home?

1. Soak in the tub. 

I’m a mom of a toddler. I don’t have time to soak in a tub, right? But whenever I business travel, I always take the time to, as this is one of the easiest ways for me to have self care and relax. And that’s when I realized… I don’t take enough baths at home! Nothing is more relaxing to soaking in the tub, unwinding, turning off your phone, lighting some candles, and just vegging for 10-15 minutes. That’s seriously all the time I need, and I feel like a million dollars. So, check out this VETgirl life hack. As my toddler’s room is right next door to the tub, I’m paranoid about waking him up with the water running. Now? As soon as I’m done bathing my kid, I get the tub ready (for me, not him), close the bathroom door, and get my kid ready for bed. In the 10-12 minutes it takes me to dry off my kid and prep him for bedtime (including ready 5 stories), voila, the tub is done. I’m able to close my toddler’s room and turn him down for the night, go next door to the bathroom, turn off the water, and voila, no noise interference with the kid and I’m ready to soak. And I’ve timed it perfectly so the tub is 2/3 full without the fear of overfilling. Life-hack, mom win!

2. Take the time to have a decaf coffee and night and unwind.

One of my best spurges that I made last year was a Nespresso machine. I love having a decaf with a few snacks, while relaxing with my partner on the sofa. For a while, I was using a French press to make my decaf. Then I realized, while business traveling, I capitalize on the decaf coffee EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Because it’s easy. And there’s no clean up (it’s a pod!). And it relaxes me. So I splurged on the Nespresso machine and voila, decaf without the mess and now I do it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. to unwind.

3. Be minimalistic.

I’m a super light packer when I business travel. I want to be carry on only and don’t want a ton of crap lying around in my hotel room. And that’s when I realized I really find peace with the minimalist approach. If your space is cluttered, your mind is cluttered. I personally love the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (despite some hokie parts), as it’s helped with my minialistic approach to decor and life.

4. Crank out work without wifi on.

I try to be very productive while I’m in the hotel room (and on the plane flying over), because I want to maximize my efficiency as as veterinarian. You can read my previous blog on efficiency in the clinic here. Why do I try to crank in the hotel room? Because I’m taking time away from my partner and child, and want to crank so I can spend technology-free, work-free, stress-free time with my family later. So, learn to be more efficient so you can be “on” for your family, partner, life, etc.

5. Outsource it.
One of the benefits of staying in a hotel? You don’t have to clean up after yourself! You don’t have to do the laundry! You don’t have to wash the tub out! I’ll admit it. I have a housecleaner. And it’s one of the best decisions I made. I’d rather prioritize the time and money doing something that I love – like working on VETgirl, saving lives, or being with my family. So, consider outsourcing some aspects of your life. You can read more about it here.

I know you might not business travel much. You might not spend 80+ days in hotel rooms. However, these are easy changes that you can implement into your life to make you have better quality of life and work life balance as a veterinarian! Check out our other life hacks HERE and HERE too (#ad). And may the wellness force by with you.

  1. I have another one. As i am a perpetual loser (read, I lose ie forget always something), I do a hotel room sweep. Before I leave I start at one point in my room and follow the wall (either to the right or left) to check if I did not leave my iPad, clothes, passport etc) until I am back at the same point. Same thing at home or at work now before I lock up or leave. Has decreased my ‘forgetting’ stuff (and having to drive back to retrieve) significantly.

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