There has been a really strong focus on work-life balance across many professions as we all take some time to reflect on the lessons learned from the pandemic. But the last two years have really taken their toll on the veterinary profession which is experiencing a workforce and burnout crisis. Veterinary workers are widely reported to have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession with mental health issues sadly threatening many a veterinary career.
Happy vets do however exist, and I really wanted to talk to someone who could help me understand what practical steps you can take to protect your wellbeing at work and in turn increase your chances of a long and happy veterinary career.
In this ‘Happy Vet’ episode of the The Consult Room podcast I talked to Jo Trow who is a great example of a positive role model that this profession needs right now. Here are some of her great practical tips on setting yourself up for success at work whilst maintaining that all important work-life balance.
Everyone Needs a Team
Support networks are vital, whether it be at home or at work we all need people that can look out for us and who we can reach out to when we are struggling. Similarly be that person for your colleagues and learn to recognise the signs of stress in others.
Unwinding after a stressful day helps to rebuild that resilience. Exercise, hobbies or just even a walk can be hugely beneficial.
Mute those work Whatsapp groups, switch off emails and let things go. If people from work can contact you then you’re mentally still at work
Treating the pets of friends and family allows those work-place stressors to bleed into our personal lives. As much as you may want to help, Don’t feel bad about saying no.
You are the best person to understand if you are struggling so listen to what your body and mind is telling you and what it needs.
When a whole team is under pressure we all feel a responsibility to do more. It’s ok to muck in, as long as you have the resilience to do so but if you are already overwhelmed then speak up and step back.
Remember this is a job
There is no shame in hanging your stethoscope at the door at the end of a day and separating your lifestyle from your career. You are so much more than your profession and it’s paramount to protect your personal life and wellbeing.
Dr Paul Manktelow has a diverse career that spreads across a number of industries. A 2002 graduate from Glasgow vet school, Paul is now Chief Vet in the Charity sector, and has gained a wealth of experience in leadership, communication, strategy and business development. An accomplished public speaker and media presenter, Paul regularly appears on TV, radio and print speaking on a variety of pet health and business topics.