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Five ways to look after your mental wellbeing

29 Oct 2020

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Fatmata Kamara, a Mental Health Nurse at Bupa, shares five ways you can help take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Working in the veterinary profession can certainly be described as a labour of love. Whilst working with animals can be extremely rewarding, it can also be challenging at times. Working long hours, feeling under pressure can begin to take a toll on your wellbeing.

We know that many people in the veterinary profession can suffer from anxiety or depression. So, it’s never been more important to look after your mental wellbeing and show yourself the same care and attention as you do the animals you care for.

Here, Bupa Mental Health Nurse Fatmata Kamara, shares five ways you can help take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

1. Connect

Humans are naturally sociable creatures and having good relationships and connections with others is really important for your wellbeing. You’ve probably bonded with many of the animals you’ve cared for over the years. But feeling supported by your family, friends, colleagues and community can also help you to feel a sense of belonging.

As a vet, working long hours on your own could leave you feeling isolated and it’s not always easy to open up to others about how you’re really feeling but by starting the conversation you can help to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Not only can getting things off your chest help you to feel better, but by opening up, you might just enable others to feel comfortable doing the same.

For information and advice for yourself or on how to start a conversation about mental health in your workplace, visit Bupa’s Open up campaign.

2. Be active

Being a vet can be a very physically demanding job, working long hours, often on your feet with lots of heavy lifting. Exercising might feel like the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day, but taking time for yourself can help your mental wellbeing.

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve your mental health. The good news is you don’t have to do intense exercise to feel the benefits. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy. Maybe a long run or high-intensity workout helps to clear your head after a busy day. But if you prefer slower movements, you could try:

  • heading out for a walk in the fresh air
  • gentle stretches in between patients
  • yoga to wind down before bed
  • joining a sports team or club to help you get moving and connect with others

3. Take notice

Whether you have a day full of appointments at your practice, treating livestock or on your way to an emergency callout, a busy workload can make it difficult to switch off and may leave you feeling stressed.

Regularly practising mindfulness can help you to deal with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness involves slowing down your thoughts, taking notice of your surroundings and focussing on the present moment.

You could try going for a walk and actively taking notice of your surroundings. Bupa have created a number of guided walking meditations podcasts to help you get started. These range from 5 to 15 minutes which you can try here.

4. Learn

From your first day at vet school to your final placement, you’ll continue to learn and develop throughout your career.

Research has shown that continued learning throughout life is good for your wellbeing. But it doesn’t have to be work-related. Having a creative outlet and learning something new can benefit your mental health. What’s more, immersing yourself in hobbies and activities you enjoy could help to take your mind off the pressures of work.

Why not try one of these six nutritious soup recipes from Bupa to keep you warm during the cold winter months and boost your immune system.

5. Give

Being part of the veterinary community requires empathy and compassion so you’re probably used to helping others. Research has shown that helping others can make you feel happier, while committing an act of kindness can improve your wellbeing. But it’s also important to ensure you ask for support from those around you. Getting involved in your local community is a great way to help you feel connected and supported.

Bupa is here to support you. That’s why BVA members receive discounted rates on BupaCare health insurance*, to find out more call 0808 271 8237^. Or visit BupaCare health insurance for BVA members.

 

Disclaimer

This is a sponsored editorial article from Bupa, published by BVA on behalf of Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence.

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