Veterinary professionals have stressful demanding jobs, this information we all know. After being in the clinic all day (and sometimes night) it’s important to take a few minutes to decompress so you aren’t bringing the day home with you. This is often very hard to accomplish but there are a few quick things you can do during your commute home that can help reset the day.
By Tasha McNerney BS,CVT,CVPP, VTS*
Now, this isn’t to imply you will never take things home with you, we all have cases that stay with us long after we punch out for the day. But by doing these 3 things you can help to process the day and recharge before the next shift. Don’t worry, I won’t try to sell you on bubble baths and massages…most professionals I know don’t have time for that (especially if you are a parent to humans or pets).
1- Think of one thing that went well, and that you are grateful for. While it might seem hard to give thanks to another tedious day at the office, especially during the days of “curbside” but when you really think about it, we are entirely grateful for the opportunities we are given on a daily basis, as they provide purpose and a part in our identities.
Doing a gratitude exercise can make us feel happier and more positive, which will relax our senses and bring us back to a tension-free balance. So, whether it’s the client that you won over or the puppy that had it’s first low stress nail trim visit, think of the ways you went right today.
2- Breathe in some aromatherapy. Experts suggest that some scents can calm anxiety and boost mood. Aromatherapy is known to be a relaxing therapy and is a great way to naturally relax your mind and body. The number one is lavender.
There are a number of methods of using lavender to soothe anxiety and stress. The natural organic compounds in its leaves and flowers can be ground between the fingers and then rubbed onto the temples. This topical application can soothe the body and mind by relieving anxious thoughts and balancing the mood. Options include pressing essential oil on your temples, inhaling it, or consuming it in tea form. I carry a small lavender oil roll on and put it onto my wrists and temples to breathe in during my ride home.
3- Laugh. Experts say that watching or listening to a funny clip can make us feel happier and less stressed, which can bust a bad or tense mood from a busy workday. Both Spotify and Apple have comedy podcasts and you can get a laugh while on your drive, bus, foot or train ride home. Laughter can be great medicine, and it makes us remember that life doesn’t need to be taken so seriously, and we should let go a bit and remember to have some fun.
So, while these are just small things you can do to refresh and reset after a tiring day in the clinic, they won’t replace a strong network of friends, family or therapy professionals you need in your support network.
But, in a pinch, they can help you take a moment for yourself when a long day of fearful cats and skin infections has you questioning why you didn’t just go to journalism school.
*About the author:
Tasha McNerney is a Certified Veterinary Technician and Certified Pain Practitioner specialized in Anesthesia from Glenside, Pennsylvania. She is very committed to educating the public about animal pain awareness. Tasha loves to lecture on various anesthesia and pain management topics around the globe and was recently named the VMX 2020 speaker of the Year for veterinary technicians. Tasha travels across the U.S. to consult with veterinary hospitals on best anesthesia practices and has authored numerous articles on anesthesia and analgesia topics for veterinary professionals and pet parents. In her spare time Tasha enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and son, and recording the Veterinary Anesthesia Nerds Podcast.