Aahh…vacation. I recommend it to everyone. I spent the last week at the beach on the Oregon Coast. Something about the expansive water, crashing waves, and sand helps me relax and reset. So relaxed it’s taken me awhile to write this message. A friend once told me it takes a full week for the mind to release stress. Many of us only take off a few days and then get back to our lives. I used to think that was enough, but after taking a full week and realizing how much better I feel, now I better understand that the full seven days is a must. Work life balance isn’t just for millennials.
Prior to my break, circumstances had added several stressors to my life and the combination of these started to feel overwhelming. They consumed a lot of my energy and time. Thankfully, vacation came and allowed me to step away from my everyday life. I think a couple of things happened. First, time made some of the situations change and resolve on their own. I was also able to step back and look at things from a different angle, which helped me gain a better perspective. Being in a beautiful place with a supportive family helped, too. I came back relaxed and able to mentally and physically respond to life’s challenges.
Our profession has unique challenges. We all have difficult cases, difficult clients, friction from co-workers, and other stressors. It’s common to feel like you are the only person this is happening to. But know that your challenges have happened to someone else. Being able to talk to others in our profession helps us to realize we are not alone.
I’m glad to see that wellbeing is being addressed starting in veterinary school. Students are offered resources to help deal with their stress and they’re more aware that our profession has a higher suicide rate than anyone else. They can carry the lessons forward when they begin practice.
One more thought about the ocean. I think why it works for me is that it humbles me. It is so vast and I am so small in comparison. The ocean makes anything I’m dealing with seem tiny. Speaking of humbling, I was invited to play a round of golf with a classmate and friend. I hadn’t played in 10 years and I was bad then. Things were no better after four hours as I displayed some interesting shots. No gopher was safe.
One important aspect of the WSVMA is networking with colleagues. I invite you to come to the Pacific Northwest Veterinary Conference this year. There will be time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. It is an opportune time to talk with similar minded people. There will also be speakers on wellbeing. Come and say hi. I’m a good listener.
By Dr. Paul DeMaris, WSVMA President
Posted August 10, 2018