1). Home delivery services! Use them!
For example I use a meal delivery service: fresh ingredients with easy to complete recipes arrive at my door every week...no shopping, no figuring out what’s for dinner...it's great!
I take it a step further: Cooked whole meals in boxes arrive twice a week at my house. Zero effort. Calories on the package. Actual vegetables. Mine is called Methodology. -Carrie Jurney
Also- I love grocery shopping on prime now. I can, from my kitchen order my groceries and they are delivered by the afternoon.Out of cat food? Order it. - Carrie Jurney
My pet food: yup delivered to my clinic on autoship. My dogs have not eaten Cheerios for dinner in a long time! -Abby Whiting.
2). Scrubs, White Coats, uniforms:
All my scrubs are the same color. That way they all match. No looking for pieces that match -
My “white coats” are now steel grey, hair and water resistant ...so much easier to keep
clean and “fear free” appropriate! -Abby Whiting
3). Meal Prepping!
I'm a meal prep person so I will dedicate 4-6 hours a week to cook and portion food ahead of time. I go off of what I get from my produce and what proteins I have and go. Then the night before I work I pack my lunch box and snacks! -Dr. Hawley
I got sick recently and as a result had a great opportunity to change my eating habits: I went to eating whole foods like real foods, from a farm or garden. I cook a couple days a week and pack up everything I need in pre portioned containers. This makes the work week so much better! And no more fast food means I feel better too. - Abby Whiting
4). Home Care:
Don't judge, but I hired someone to pick up my dogs' poo from my backyard weekly. I have a mastiff with anxiety issues, food allergies, and IBD. Best investment in my sanity in a loooooooooooong time. - Dr. Jewell
I got a house cleaner that comes q two weeks. I still clean in between, but it takes an amazing amount of pressure off. If my house isn't moderately clean I can't sit down and relax, so this gives me that extra time. -Dr. Gallaghager
I hired a yard guy and bought a Roomba!- Dr. Mullin
A steam mop makes my floors clean in no time! -Dr. Simpson
I grew to accept dog hair as the ultimate living room accessory- Abby Whiting
5). Self Care:
Am a runner. Sucked it up and bought a decent treadmill and some freeweights. Because those precious minutes matter when you are trying to run before work. I don't care if the gym is five minutes away, its still a drive, parking, etc. Now I just walk in to my office. I also love Youtube yoga!
Also working out before work just works for me. I know it gets done that way- if I wait, then that emergency, being tired, etc is just going to suck away my chance/motivation. - Dr. Jurney.
Road Races: I register for one a month...helps keep me motivated and on track.
Groupon: I don’t “pamper” myself hardly ever...but coupons for massages and such make it easier! -Abby Whiting
I schedule my next vacation while I am on vacation...otherwise it falls to the end of the list! -Abby Whiting
I text my friends and family every Sunday...otherwise life gets moving too fast and we lose touch.
Drink plenty of water, then drink some more . -Dr. Patnik
Meditate! - Dr. A.L.
Read non veterinary books! Food for the tired soul!
Remind myself that I am a superhero...and that I did good today!
Sometimes I take a nap...or watch a useless movie, or just sit still and quiet.
I get "off the grid" at least twice a year...out into nature, away from emails, social media, phone calls. It really re centers me. - Abby Whiting.
When I was a new grad: I held pot lucks at the house once a month to have other new grads over to talk through the transition from student to doctor and know none of us were alone. -Abby Whiting
6). Clinic Life:
Find the good and praise it! Teams work better and more efficiently if they feel appreciated and important.
Keeping my desk area tidy...which ain’t easy...there seems to always be an empty diet coke can, 5 million post its, and a stack of to be dones on it. -Anonymous.
Take a break! A 600 second break does the body and soul good - Dr. Jurney
Leave on time: the more individual members of the profession that begin to fiercely defend and protect their time off, the healthier our profession will become. - Abby Whiting
Snacks! I keep on hand some high protein yummy snacks to keep me outta the candy jar!
Laugh! Smile! - all of us!
I hired a student loan financial planner who has extensive knowledge and experience with medical professionals and their unique loans. Best investment! -Dr. Beckley
I made a new rule: no spending money outside the house on work days: no coffee, no out to eats...My savings account and my waistline are happier!- Abby Whiting
By Dr. Jason Sweitzer
Shared with generous permission from drandyroark.com
April 4, 2016
For Vet Teams
Guest Author JASON SWEITZER DVMI’d like to correct a logical error we, as veterinarians, have been making, that we should look at as more of a typo. In veterinary medicine we should change the spelling of alone to allone.
I have felt alone and helpless in my darkest times. I am a thirty-four year old veterinarian with ADHD, elementary school puns, and pre-pubescent humor; married for over ten years, with two children under the age of five each with their own problems; working 60+ hours a week in 4 days, living back in the town I grew up, racking up several injuries, in braces recovering from jaw surgery; and love to teach and care so much about others that I don’t take time for my family or myself and break down crying on the freeway at 2:45 AM coming back from work. That kind of alone.
Thankfully, I had recently joined a veterinary support group. A group dedicated entirely to supporting each other, in whatever way we may need. I shared my unique story and problems. Through my colleagues, I shared every single struggle, every aspect of my life.
My colleagues helped me shine a light in the darkness of my life and realize that I shared everything. We shared everything. Someone had been through what I was going through, often multiple people, and they had survived. They offered insight, resources, support, and something much greater.
I am proud to be a part of a profession of colleagues so great that they take time out of their equally busy and stressful lives, for me. I would like to pay forward a small part of that. In the darkest and most obscure situation, where not another car or light could be seen anywhere for miles, I had felt alone, broken, clinically depressed, and starting down a path towards suicidal ideation. Through their efforts, I realized that I am not alone. We are not alone. We are all-one. I submit we need to edit our mental autocorrect to permanently change alone, to allone. We are ALLONE.
Someone had been through what I was going through, often multiple people, and they had survived.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Sweitzer, DVM, RVT is an associate veterinarian at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA. He does general practice and emergency medicine for small and exotics animals, as well as wildlife, with special interests in behavior medicine, management, and teaching. He balances his life with family, playing field hockey, and voluminous quantities of bad jokes and puns.
Dr. Abby Whiting
Recently a young girl who is very near and dear to me was diagnosed with a serious chronic and debilitating illness. Needless to say this has had an explosive impact on her, her family, her friends, her life, and her future. In the beginning the focus was on getting to the diagnosis and finding treatments to direct our energies towards...but after a couple years and no real definitive answers….her disability became clear. I firmly believe no child should endure what she does on the daily. I was lost , as was her patient care team and her family. What can we do to have a meaningful touch in her life, how can we mitigate the pain?
After many specialists appointments, therapists, PT, etc someone recommended a Service Dog. In an instant I knew how I could help. It was like being pulled by a magnet in this direction. In years past I had been a puppy raiser for a SD...and I knew I could do it again. After researching countless SD organizations and considering the adoption of a fully trained SD, we came to the conclusion, financially speaking, we had to do it on our own.
Where to start? I researched everything I could. I found trainers who were willing to advise me and plenty of support from the SD world and my veterinary friends. Then we had to go about the business of finding a SD prospect. This is the moment when I started to believe in divine intervention/coincidence. We heard about a Golden breeder who was everything I had hoped for: they were a tiny operation, 1-2 litter a year...health guarantee, raised in the house with children, temperament fantastic, and previous litters from these parents had resulted in SDs. And then, our angel contacted me: a friend and client who prefers to remain anonymous called me. She too has a SD and she and I talked for months about my hopes to get one for this child. She called to tell me she was donating the adoption price of the dog. WOW I was blown away. We called the breeder: and yes we were on the waiting list. A few weeks later we heard they were born and we were invited to come see them. We selected our pup and visited him weekly while he was growing.
As a group we decided the pup, now known as “Thor” , would be sent to me for puppy raising and basic foundational training. At 9 weeks old he arrived at my door a bundle of golden cuteness. We have been so blessed by so many angels in our network. My veterinary clinic donated his pediatric care, Ceva Animal Health donated Adaptil products, a gifted dog trainer (Trainer Kevin) with Kennelwood Village Pet Resorts in St. Louis, MO. donated his basic training and coaching of me, and his “side kicks” donated his food, equipment, and a medical insurance policy for him.
Thor and I went to work. We started with the basics: house training, crate training, socialization, basic obedience, and moved on to public access and task training. We worked hard with Kevin to get him ready, and soon it was clear he was destined for a higher purpose. He took to his training like a fish to water. We were able to wheelchair train him in 6 days when his girl took a turn for the worse.
Recently he was placed with his girl for a trial. While his training is ongoing, his placement confirmed he will be the Superhero she needed. He has transitioned well so far especially for a young dog. They are becoming a team and watching them come together has refilled my bucket immensely.
It was a ton of work: there were no days off of puppy training and public access. I worked him when I was tired, sick, crabby, and when I was motivated and happy. He went to work with me, grocery, malls, movies...everywhere. Actually I recently went to the bathroom alone for the first time in months. There were moments when I wasn’t sure this would help. What if he failed as a SD, then all his sidekicks and angels would be let down. What if I couldn’t train him, I mean I’m not a trainer...but then I saw the look on Sophie’s face when she worked with him. I saw the confidence he gave her. I saw him instantly seem to know he needed to stay close to her, to protect her.
Anyone who has had experiences with true Service dogs knows the amazingly powerful impact they have on their handlers. It is a relationship like no other. I am so grateful Thor is here for Sophie. I am beyond grateful that I was able to be his puppy raiser. It refilled my emotional/spiritual bucket and allowed me to be the change I long to see in the world. It dissipated my helpless feeling in regards to her illness. It was the honor of my life.
My friends thought it would be very hard on me to let him go to her home, to say goodbye. I had folks expecting me to be in tears, or to be lost without him. The weekend we placed the dynamic duo together I got to spend with them, coaching them. He impressed me beyond words and it was clear to me that all of us have been on a journey guided by something higher. He is meant for this. I am not sad at all. I am warmed by the gifts that he brings to his new handler and the independence she will find with him.
Why am I telling you all this, why on this blog? Because this has been a huge piece of my self care, a big infusion into my personal bucket. If you can volunteer your gifts to make a difference in the life of another, let me tell you...do it. It makes me feel a touch selfish, as perhaps I got more out of this experience than the family will.
The Admin Team of NOMV is a group of veterinarians dedicated to improving veterinary mental health.