Recently I have been experiencing some health complications following a surgery, which forced me to take more time away from work than I had previously planned. As someone who has accumulated weeks of unused sick time over the years, more a testament to my choices than my level of health, this was initially a distressing place to be both mentally and physically. I was not used to being away from my primary focus for so much time and being so limited in my ability to care for others (for those with and without fur). Being somewhat incapacitated takes a toll on one’s sense of autonomy, and independence, and leads to a great deal of introspection about what is truly important and where our values lie. I am happy to report that I am on the road to recovery (at a slow but steady pace) but the ordeal has led to some significant modifications in my work and home life, beginning with necessity but sustained now by the desire to begin a new chapter in my personal wellbeing journey. It started with small steps like reading books to my children instead of emails from work and opened up a new sense of peace once I accepted that life goes on whether or not I modify that protocol or work on records until midnight. The truth is we are all replaceable in our work lives (with rare exceptions, hats off to you geniuses among us!) but no one can serve as our substitute for our families and loved ones. They need you. YOU need you, too.
As an organization, the WSVMA has been dedicated to highlighting the topic of personal wellbeing for many years now, striving to offer programs and services for you as an individual practitioner and person who is seeking balance between work and home life or personal wellness goals. We have made personal wellbeing a part of our overall strategic plan since 2021 and have continued to work on expanding what that means to our members within and beyond our organization. As part of that initiative, I wanted to highlight a few of the member benefits that I have personally benefitted from as well as a spotlight a few that the board of directors is working to promote or provide to the membership.
- Discounts on 50-minute coaching, consulting, counseling, and personal/professional support sessions tailored to individual WSVMA members with Dr. Carrie La Jeunesse (WSVMA past president, former Chair of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Wellness Committees)
- Online discussion forums through the WSVMA platform with focus topics on health and wellbeing
- Formation of a new Wellbeing committee co-chaired by Dr. Sonya Olson and Danielle Alleman
- New member benefit coming soon: Employee Assistance Program for veterinary staff and their families
By Dr. Jennifer Bennett, WSVMA President
Posted April 8, 2022