Four Tips for Managing Stress as a Veterinarian

Do you ever find yourself wondering how it’s possible to love your job yet feel so stressed at the same time? While you’re passionate about being a veterinarian and caring for animals, it may feel like as time goes on the stress of your job is taking a toll on you. Your day is a whirlwind of seeing patients, pet emergencies, doing paperwork and running your practice, all of which cause you to leave work at the end of the day feeling exhausted and worn out.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact, it’s common for vets to experience stress in their jobs. If stress is left unmanaged or avoided, you’re likely to experience job burnout, and it’s possible to fall into poor methods of coping like eating unhealthy foods as a comfort, excessive drinking or taking your frustration out on others.

It’s important to pinpoint what’s causing your stress so you can take steps to reduce and manage it. Take a minute to reflect on your typical day and what’s contributing to your stress. Is it the physical fatigue of long days, challenge of managing and growing your practice or simply the emotional difficulty of making hard decisions about the lives of animals?

While you’ll never be able to totally escape the unique demands and challenges of your job, there are several practical ways you can reduce and manage your stress.

Plan Ways to Unwind During and at the End of a Stressful Day

Achieving a healthy work-life balance as a vet can be challenging. We get it, being a vet is a big part of your life, but you’re also a person who needs a separate personal life. It’s vital to establish clear boundaries when you’re on the job and when you’re off.

If possible, take a break during the middle of your day to either have lunch out of the office or go for a walk. The change of scenery will help take your mind off work for a little and help you feel more energized to return for the rest of your day.

Likewise, it’s important to plan something rewarding at the end of your day or find an activity after work that will help you unwind and take a mental break. This could be exercising, reading, watching a TV show or simply spending time with your family.

The American Veterinary Medicine Association provides vets additional ways to disconnect from work, like avoiding checking email when you’re home with your family. Otherwise, your personal time isn’t yours at all. Totally being able to switch your focus from work can help you relax and rejuvenate after a long day at the office.

Delegating to Others So You Can Focus on Your Responsibilities

Depending on how many people work at your practice, it’s possible you’re stressed from taking on too many responsibilities. You may notice yourself getting wrapped up in administrative duties, trying to handle finances, HR issues, or marketing, in addition to treating your patients. While it’s important for you to have a level of control over these areas of your business, it can be overwhelming to have your hands in too many things.

Hiring and training trustworthy employees who perform well in their roles will help you focus on your own responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to delegate appropriate tasks to your office administrator or vet tech that are taking up too much of your time. While there are several things to keep in mind when hiring a vet tech, look for employees who are able to independently handle responsibilities and perform quality work. By hiring star employees, you’ll feel more relaxed letting them do their job so you can focus on yours.

Be Willing to Open Up About Your Stress

When you have pent-up frustration over your job, sometimes the best way to begin dealing with a problem is to confide in an understanding friend or family member. Other people can often help you process stressful situations at work and help figure out approaches to dealing with them.

If your stress begins to develop into severe anxiety or depression, it’s helpful and necessary to seek professional help. There is no shame in seeking professional counseling to help deal with your stress. It’s not only important to maintain physical health, but mental health as well. By being proactive about this, you can prevent more serious mental health issues from arising.

Improve Your Time Management

Many vets experience stress due to the busy nature of the job, having to work long days and deal with unpredictable emergencies. While this aspect may never change, learning to have better time management can help.

There are many ways to improve your time management, and one of the most helpful ways is to make sure you schedule buffer time in between appointments to allow you to catch your breath. If your day is jam-packed with patients, you probably feel exhausted when it’s time to go home. If you purposefully schedule this buffer time, you’ll have more clarity and focus to give to each of your patients.

Another tip is to schedule time for unexpected emergencies. Sounds impossible, right? But chances are you’re familiar with different types of pet emergencies that often take place. By designating time in your day, maybe an open appointment time in the morning and one in the afternoon, you won’t feel overloaded because you’ve already designated this time in your schedule.

Another way to save time and reduce stress? Use VPR Cloud.

At VPR Cloud, we understand the stressful challenges that come with being a vet. That’s why we created VPR Cloud – a tool created by veterinarians, for veterinarians.

VPR Cloud includes an easy-to-use veterinary drug index and dosage calculator that’s accessible on any browser and device. You can store information about each animal you treat, allowing you to track current and previous prescriptions. Save time by being able to print or email clients an information sheet detailing accurate information about their pets’ medications.

Reach out to us for a free trial to experience how VPR Cloud can help make your day a little less stressful.