14 Feb 2024
Finding wellbeing as a vet
10 May 2016 | Anne-Marie Svendsen Aylott
One of the ongoing challenges in veterinary practice is juggling emergencies, client and team communication and clinical skills. We are asked to multi-task and move from one area to the next without necessarily having the time to make a smooth transition or refocus ourselves and over time that can cause exhaustion, depression and burnout.
One of the ongoing challenges in veterinary practice is juggling emergencies (that by their very nature are unplanned for), client and team communication and clinical skills. We are asked to multi-task and move from one area to the next without necessarily having the time to make a smooth transition or refocus ourselves and over time that can cause exhaustion, depression and burnout.
What makes us feel better?
The search for happiness is a key factor that drives our society. Different cultures have different theories as to what makes you happy – and research is starting to put science behind the thoughts.
A common misconception is that happiness is the euphoric state that you get when you get a pay rise or win the lottery. Yet this state is transient and only surface related. 90% of your happiness comes from within – from what you think, how you handle your emotions, how you translate what happens around you and what expectations you have to yourself and others.
A better term than happiness would be wellbeing. Wellbeing already puts us into the framework of something long term, something sustainable and something that is about us – not about the job, the money or the external things that surround us. And because wellbeing is about us, it is something that can follow us wherever we go.
You know the saying that the only thing you take with you wherever you go is yourself? It is often used when people explain why we might go through the same patterns over and over again in our relationships, our friends and our jobs. By turning it around and focusing on what would actually help us and what would make us feel better, we can take that wellbeing with us everywhere.
How science can drive personal wellbeing
The wonderful thing is that science has clocked on to the fact that you can measure and test wellbeing and that through the science and the research you can identify the key factors that help people find what is unique to them – what drives their personal wellbeing. It is a journey of discovery – and a nice one!
Once we realise what it is about work that puts a smile on our face, it becomes much easier to focus on it and to be pro-active about finding it. And once we realise what it is (and whom) that drains our energy away from us, we start to see the purpose of saying no – politely and assertively – and to enjoy the benefits that comes from standing up for ourselves in a calm way.
Wellbeing is something you can grow for yourself. And wellbeing and confidence seem to go hand in hand, meaning that as you focus on feeling better in your life – you find that your confidence grows and your wellbeing increases even further. It is all in your control. And that is the truly great thing about it.
Overcoming the challenges of wellbeing in veterinary practice
Veterinary practice offers unique challenges to wellbeing - yet there are practical techniques that can help us not only survive but thrive and enjoy what we are doing. Learning about what you can do to help yourself is the difference between doing a tricky surgery with an operating theatre, monitors, nurses and a full surgical kit - and trying to get the job done on a rickety fold out table with an old scalpel. While you may manage the job, it won't necessarily be easy or enjoyable - and the risk of complications is much higher!
Many of the practical skills that will make a real difference are based on new research that was not available at the time when we chose to go into veterinary practice, so even with the best will in the world we may not have had access to them before.
Anne-Marie Svendsen Aylott
Anne-Marie will be sharing practical techniques to help you create a positive atmosphere within yourself and the practice on our CPD course Finding the balance - achieving personal and professional wellbeing on 21 June 2016.
If you are concerned about your own wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone you know, you can call the 24/7 Vet Helpline on 0303 040 2551.
If you are an employer, why not take a look at our employee wellbeing guidance with advice on how to manage work-related stress.
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