Updated: Mar 8
It’s no secret that veterinarians are some of the most stressed individuals in North America. According to the CDC, AVMA, and numerous resources (e.g., Merck Animal Health Wellbeing study), the veterinary profession is at risk for suicide.
Personal wellness practices can help support mental health issues by integrating supportive nutrition and exercise, which both support mental health.
The problem with beginning a personal wellness practice is that there is so much conflicting information out there, it can be overwhelming to begin, especially for veterinarians who tend to be perfectionists.
With hectic and often unpredictable schedules, it’s important to focus on integrating fewer habits that give us the most bang for our effort.
High Impact Fundamental habits are habits that,
Here’s a list of the top high impact fundamental habits for veterinarians:
1. Normalize and Routinize Your Eating Behaviors
Getting through vet school can mean picking up some unhealthy habits, such as late night snacking to get through overnight study sessions, and surviving off coffee all day long. It takes time to change deeply ingrained habits, so you might not be able to organize 3 square meals, snacks and water tomorrow. You can start by noticing your hunger signals, your fullness cues and begin planning meals that include 1 serving of protein, carbs, fat and veggies.
2. Planning and Preparation
Adopt a weekly ritual such as meal prep. Taking a couple hours out of your week to prepare a few healthy meals is one of the best ways you can create a feeling of calm. You’ll feel so relieved knowing you have healthy food in your fridge instead of trying to scavenge food when you’re hungry. Meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated! Batch-cook some protein, cook up some carbs (rice, pasta or potatoes are great) and while those are cooking chop up some veggies.
3. Move Often and Well
Find some movement you like doing and do it often. Moving well means being present and mindful with the movement you’re doing. Focus on connecting your mind to your muscles, and stay present with your breath. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.
4. Recover Well
Healthy amounts of stress can be beneficial for us. It can help us improve our memory, alertness and performance. Stress becomes a problem when it starts to take over your life. Relaxation promotes overall health and gives you a chance to step away and clear your head. It doesn’t have to be a big time commitment; it can be accomplished with deep breathing exercises, meditation or even yoga.
These habits will give you the most impact for your effort, and help you improve significantly in the four pillars of wellness: Mental Health, Supportive Nutrition, Movement and Stress, Sleep and Recovery.
All of these wellness tips are a part of our VetVive Integrated Wellness curriculum, and are broken down into skills, practices and small actions to help you improve your health.
It’s not a 30 day plan, it’s client centred coaching, about integrating high impact habits that will support you for the rest of your life.
Interested in coaching for yourself or your team? Book a free consultation today!