The Importance of Taking Care of You
"We are caregivers, but we must begin to take care of ourselves as this is the most powerful way to take care of others."
Self-care: this term gets tossed around often, especially in our profession. But what is self-care? Self-care describes a conscious act that individuals take to promote their own physical, mental, and emotional health.1 There are many forms self-care may take. We know the importance of getting enough sleep every night—self-care ensures this actually happens. In the veterinary hospital, it means taking a lunch break or stepping away for a few minutes for some deep breaths of fresh air. In this issue, we address different ways that veterinary nurses can work toward this goal. Kenichiro Yagi takes a look at dissatisfaction in the profession and recommendations to improve retention. Jamie Rauscher addresses strategies for facing confrontational clients—and knowing whether the juice is worth the squeeze. And Anna Santos discusses 5 ways you can work toward a more balanced life—no matter where you are in your personal wellness journey.
We are facing irritable clients and exhausted teammates. Pandemic fatigue is real. If we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot truly help others and are ill-prepared to handle life’s inexorable challenges. Self-care is essential for building resilience toward stressors in our lives that we cannot eliminate—think of the pandemic. To truly live our best lives (personally and professionally), we need to take the steps to care for our mind and body. Self-care must be viewed as a priority rather than a luxury. It is a fight that requires support from the entire staff, understanding from clients, and personal commitment. We are caregivers, but we must begin to take care of ourselves as this is the most powerful way to take care of others.
The words of mental health advocate Katie Reed sum this up perfectly: “self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”
Call for Entries:
Dr. Earl H. Rippie Veterinary Nurse Leadership Scholarship
Dr. Earl Rippie recognized the value veterinary nurses bring to the healthcare team. In his memory, the NAVC’s Rippie Veterinary Nurse Leadership Scholarship was established. Veterinary nurses who have demonstrated leadership skills and made a positive impact on the profession are eligible to enter. If you know a veterinary nurse who has gone above and beyond during this challenging year, consider nominating them for the scholarship or entering for yourself. The scholarship winner will be awarded free registration to VMX 2022 with a travel package that includes airfare, hotel, per diem, a VMX Hands-on Workshop as well as special events. Applications will be accepted starting April 1 until July 1, 2021. For details, visit navc.com/vmx/scholarships/veterinary-nurse-leadership-scholarship.
1Scott E. 5 self-care practices for every area of your life. Very Well Mind. August 3, 2020. verywellmind.com/self-care-strategies-overall-stress-reduction-3144729. Accessed February 18, 2021.