We asked several people from our community if they could send us their tips on how they practice mental health in their workplaces. Below you can find practical ways to apply mental health and try to create a healthier environment with your colleagues.
This blog has been made to support our VETchat by The Webinar Vet podcast episode with Tshidi Gardiner ‘Managing Burnout And Taking Care Of Your Mental Health’.
Listen to the episode here.
The main things I learned (and didn’t do for many years) to protect myself was to be very strict about my working hours, make sure to leave on time rather than staying on ‘to help’ and being able to say ‘No’. Unfortunately, veterinary practice is a culture of overworkers and bosses rely on people doing unpaid overtime rather than employing another member of staff. Only when we start saying ‘No’ and protecting our personal time will they realise they cannot continue to push people to their limits.
Have some kind of routine – something each day that is kept the same and acts as an anchor when other stuff may not be going to plan. Try to concentrate on only 3 things per time (longer-term), for example having up to three projects ongoing and ensuring I finish things before starting anything new. Have a good level of self-awareness and know what helps me if I feel upset/down/stressed/agitated. Exercise is a great de-stressor for me. Increasing the things in life that energise me and decreasing the things that drain my energy
I’m trying to be better at giving more compliments at work. It’s supposed to give you an oxytocin boost that makes you feel better and obviously gives the recipient a little boost too.
My tip would be to have someone you can talk to either at your own place of work or in another practice. Someone that can first-hand relate to some of the daily struggles that can often be hard to explain to those outside of the veterinary world.
I‘m a huge believer in communication and I think it’s absolutely key to feel safe within your workplace to be able to communicate effectively and discuss any worries or concerns with your team. Whether you have experienced a challenging case that has made you doubt your skills or knowledge or if a client has acted disrespectfully and caused unnecessary upset, then communicating this with your colleagues can have a big impact and really help to process any emotions.