The Balancing Art: Achieving Work-Life Balance for Veterinarians
A guide for achieving work-life balance for veterinarians.
As exciting and interesting it may sound to be around animals, taking care of them, can be quite demanding. In a day they have to get a lot done.
From maintaining patient records to checking upon patients, from attending calls of friends and family for advice for their pets to attending late-night emergency calls.
So, do veterinarians have a good work-life balance?
Being a veterinarian is such a giving profession that they are always taught to have compassion and be helpful. They are willing to help their clients at any time of the day which results in them neglecting their personal life and ends up disturbing their work-life balance.
Through this article, you may understand the importance of maintaining a work-life balance and how one can attain it.
IDEA OF PERSONAL LIFE
A great career can give you satisfaction and financial stability but it alone cannot give you happiness.
At the same time if you're dissatisfied or unhappy with your professional life then it will affect your personal life.
So, it's all about creating that balance between the two.
Let us look at a survey carried out on behalf of Simplyhealth Professionals in February 2019,
Which states that while 71 percent of assistants feel that their career has largely met their expectations, work-life balance, animal owner expectations and remuneration are all areas of concern.
Around 18% of them have reported mental health as the reason for their career not meeting their expectations.
Now, an unbalanced work-life is one of the reasons for this mental health issue. The idea of work-life balance differs for every individual. Some people love to work for long hours. On the other hand some people HAVE to work for long hours due to some sort of compulsion, it might be financial or something else.
But none of this is good for the long term as this may lead to exhaustion, poor mental and physical health, and no social life.
Eventually, it's all about you having that sense of balance and not what people think about your work-life balance. Just remember to not make work your ONLY priority.
But what is the importance of work-life balance?
- It would mean less stress. Taking up only as much work as you can do is going to help you work better and not get stressed.
- Less stress will in turn mean better mental health.
- Greater physical health. Eating on time, eating home-cooked food, getting the time to exercise or meditate will help you maintain your health.
- Helps to live in your present. It would allow you to be where you are at that moment, mentally.
- Improves relationships, gives you time to work on your relationships too.
- Increases engagement at work. An employee who is not stressed and is healthy would motivate others to work better too and this is just going to increase your engagement with your co-workers.
- Inculcates creative thinking. A calm and composed mind will put you in a better space to think something creative.
- Gives a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
VETERINARY AND PERSONAL LIFE
Work-life balance can be a little difficult in the life of a veterinarian as they often have to deal with emergencies. This isn't really a 9-5 job. Late-night emergency calls, extra working hours, working on the weekends too is very common. Here are some tips on achieving that work + life balance-
SOMETIMES SAYING NO HELPS
It is okay to surpass your working hours sometimes but one shall keep in mind to not do it always. One must learn to say NO, which can be a little difficult in the veterinary profession.
Taking up more work even when you already have a lot of work stacked up will just create more stress. You would constantly think about the work that's left for you to do and won't be able to give your best at what you're presently doing.
YOU ARE GUILTY FOR NOT CARING FOR YOURSELF
You must ask yourself what other than your work you enjoy doing? Taking up hobbies, trying new things will not only relax your mind but will also help you to develop different skills and improve your overall personality. Meditation is said to be the best form of self-care and one must try and take out at least 10-15 minutes from their day for it.
DON'T TAKE WORK HOME
It's very important to keep your work restricted to your workspace only or else you won't have your personal time to yourself.
Let patients know your working hours and make it clear about you not taking any calls or appointments after that. Do the same for family and friends, of course with an exception to emergencies coming up.
SOMETIMES YOU NEED MORE THAN TWO HANDS
It often feels like you can do everything by yourself but in reality, you cannot. Taking up all the workload on yourself just reduces your efficiency.
It's always good to delegate work. By this you will not only be able to finish work faster but also will be able to lead better. It will make your employees also feel confident about themselves and keep them motivated.
This is what you call smart work.
EXCHANGE A FEW WORDS
As it is rightly said "communication is the key". If you feel pressured or overwhelmed with your work, talk to your seniors or co-workers or family. Every workplace aims at creating a healthy environment for their employees for which you must communicate.
RESEARCH SAYS SO
According to experts there are 8 dimensions of wellness, which are-
- Emotional wellness
- Financial wellness
- Occupational wellness
- Social wellness
- Environmental wellness
- Intellectual wellness
- Physical wellness
- Spiritual wellness
You must look closely at these dimensions and try to understand if they are met through your work.
Now let us consider a few situations,
A vet tech who is working extra hours or is not free on the weekends too and is missing family or social events is affecting his social wellness.
A vet tech who does not have time to cook because of his working hours is forced to eat outside which in turn is affecting his both physical wellness and financial wellness.
A vet tech who is not able to attend his weekly prayer meetings because he's working on the weekends too is affecting his spiritual wellness.
A vet tech who is not being paid enough for his work and is therefore not able to meet his financial needs but is still choosing to work at that place is affecting his financial wellness.
A vet tech who has a lot of burden of his work and is under constant stress because of that is affecting his emotional wellness.
A vet tech who is only prioritizing his work and is not taking up any other skills or activities and is therefore not able to grow is affecting his intellectual wellness.
Work-life balance is all about managing these wellness categories and maintaining a balance among them. There might be a change in plans sometimes or emergencies arriving but that is okay SOMETIMES.
In conclusion, everybody's definition of work-life balance is different and everyone has different ways to achieve it.
Find what's the best way for you and work on it. It is not easy considering the nature of your profession but remember it is important for your wellbeing.
Remember to not confuse having a career with a life. You have a life apart from this career which is important too and above everything you are the most important one.
In the end, balancing everything is going to give you clear space to think better, perform better, be an exemplary practitioner, and have good personal relationships.