"As you grow older,
you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
– Maya Angelou

"As you grow older,
you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
– Maya Angelou

icon set of vets, techs and clients

Our team is made up of veterinary professionals just like yourself.

Because you need and deserve your care, too.

As your fellow veterinary professionals: we care about you, and we’ll do everything we can to help you at work. If we could build an app that reached out of your phone and lightly bopped you on the nose every time you skip a lunch break or cruise social media just before bed, we would. But at the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself as well as you look after your patients and clients.
A lot of self-care articles and resources point out that you have to care well for yourself in order to be able to care well for others. While that’s certainly true, it’s also true that you should care for yourself simply because you matter.
Peruse some of our ideas below for giving yourself the VIP treatment you deserve.
We’re not wellness experts or physicians or therapists. Please consider this page simply a resource for sparking some ideas for self-care. We truly hope you will consult the appropriate professionals for help if needed. Believe us, you’re worth it.

Take a breather.

Feeling stressed? Your body has a built-in tool (one you may take for granted!) which can help manage anxiety and stress: your breath. Deep breathing using your diaphragm/abdomen can soothe your sympathetic nervous system and help bring you back to the present moment when thoughts are racing and stress is mounting.
Take one minute for yourself and perform some guided healing deep breathing while basking in a beautiful, relaxing scene.
TIP: For the best experience, expand the video into full-screen mode.
cats paws in human's hand

Get some support.

Life is pretty overwhelming at times, but you don’t have to shoulder your burdens all alone. The VIN Foundation offers veterinary professionals a wealth of supportive resources.
Learn, get inspired, and feel connected to your peers with the Veterinary Pulse Podcast.
Get help with tough work situations, difficult school circumstances, stress, depression, emotional unrest, physical challenges, addiction… or if you just need to talk to somebody with Vets4Vets® and Support4Support. Vets4Vets® and Support4Support are available at no cost and made possible through individual donations and grants given to the VIN® Foundation, along with the Dr. Sophia Yin Memorial Fund.
Please note: you do not have to be a VIN® Member in order to use The VIN Foundation resources.
dog looking for a treat

Nourish your body.

Food is fuel, and the quality of the food we intake has a profound impact on our health, performance, and overall well-being. Healthful and well-balanced eating is way too vast and individual a topic to cover here, so we’ll simply say:
  • Be thoughtful about the food you eat. Make sure most of it is nourishing your body the way you want the food you recommend to clients to nourish their pets.
  • Consult a physician, a health professional, nutritionist, etc. for individual diet and health recommendations. Fad diets are usually just that – a fad, not a long term solution.
  • Enjoy your food; it should be pleasurable. This means taking a deliberate lunch break, vs. wolfing down a slice of cold pizza while fiddling with the world’s most annoying IV pump. We know, easier said than done – but try.
woman laying on floor calling to cat

Unplug.

It’s hard to imagine life without our smartphones, right? They make life so much more convenient and connect us to the entire world. But like Mom always told us, moderation is key.
From negatively affecting our physical health (an increase in sedentary lifestyles and tech neck come to mind), to harming relationships via perceived inattention (don’t multitask family dinner and checking email), to making us feel isolated and depressed (we’re looking at you, social media), overuse of smartphones and apps can cause considerable harm.
Consider setting certain times of the day as phone-less, like mealtimes, before bed, just after you wake up, and definitely when you’re interacting with your fellow humans. For a longer, more profound experience, you may even want to try taking “unplugged” breaks annually, or throughout the year.
smiling woman walking dog outdoors

Get moving.

Notice what we didn’t say there? “Exercise.” Exercise is important, of course, but if you’re not already doing it, it tends to drum up visions of intimidating, hardcore workouts. So let’s keep it simple and just start with: get moving. Movement is great for your body, your mind, and your spirit!
Everyone has opportunities to move more throughout the day, whether it’s taking a 5 minute walk around the block at lunch, or taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or parking in a farther spot in the parking lot for a longer walk in.
If you’re already constantly moving at work (which we know many of you are), consider bouts of gentle stretching throughout the day. Your joints will thank you!
Be sure to consult your physician before starting a new exercise program.
man napping on couch with cat

Make sleep a priority.

You’ve heard it a million times: sleep is important. But when our days are full, pushing back bedtime tends to be our go-to solution in order to accomplish more.
Add some stress to the equation and you’ve got the perfect storm for sleep deprivation, and mental and physical exhaustion. After all, stress and poor sleep are best buds, egging each other on and feeding off each other’s energy (or lack thereof).
Put simply, it’s healthy to make your sleep a priority.
smiling family surrounding proud dog

Retreat… and connect.

Wait, what? Those 2 things are opposite.
Indeed they are, and that’s the source of their magic. Take time to be by yourself to rest and recharge and cultivate a rich inner life, and then enjoy the feelings of connection and community you can only experience when interacting with others. Lather, rinse, repeat.
You determine how much of each you need, but both are essential.

Into the great wide open.

As vitally important and meaningful as your work is, it’s not everything. There’s so much more to life, and to the world.
woman seated outdoors with dog in lap
  • Get outside and enjoy the healing power of nature.
  • Explore activities which have nothing to do with work.
  • Check in on your friendships.
  • Take that trip to Iceland and see the fjords.
  • Build pillow forts with your kids.
  • Revive the garage band idea.
  • Learn a new skill. Build a bookshelf.
  • Host or attend a neighborhood block party.
  • Combine date night, Taco Tuesday, and shooting stars.
  • Sing. A lot.
  • We’ve heard that writing haiku can be very good for soothing the soul.
You get where we’re going with this. You can – and should – love your work and it can be a significant part of your identity, but make sure it’s not your entire world. Your clients, patients, and coworkers will all benefit from a more fulfilled, well-rounded, and connected-to-the-world you. And most importantly, so will you.
As a (hopefully temporary) side note: we’re aware that this is extra challenging to do these days while struggling with overbooked appointments and staffing shortages, but we hope you can at least find small ways to do this. If you must, let the fjords wait for now and head to the park instead.

Watch otters.

You read this last one correctly. Science – and by “science” we mean the VIN® Practice Communications team – has determined that watching fat, happy sea otters loll about in beautiful Monterey Bay reduces stress dramatically and inspires soul-healing “awwwww!” exclamations. So, watch some otters.

Other Resources

  • AVMA: Self-Care for Veterinarians
  • NAVTA: Wellbeing
  • VIN®/VSPN™ Rounds: Culture: It’s Not Just for Yogurt, Anymore!
  • VIN® News Service: Veterinarians urged to defy doomsayers, embrace pleasure

Compassion Fatigue

  • VIN® Foundation Veterinary Pulse Podcast: Are you caring too much? Red Shoe Syndrome with Dr. Susan Cohen
  • VIN® Rounds: Powerful Practice: Vaccinating Ourselves against Compassion Fatigue
  • VETX International Blunt Dissection Podcast: Ep 24: Compassion Fatigue with Dr Bree Montana
  • AVMA: Work and Compassion Fatigue

Suicide in the Veterinary Profession

  • VIN® Foundation Vets4Vets® and Support4Support Mental Health Resources
  • CDC: Facts about Mental Health and Suicide Among Veterinarians
  • VIN® Foundation Veterinary Pulse Podcast: Inhale, Exhale Series: Dr. Susan Cohen on colleagues in crisis and suicide awareness in the veterinary profession
  • VetzInsight: Veterinarians' Perfectionism Can Drive Suicide
  • VetzInsight: Suicide Affects Veterinary Technicians Too
  • Not One More Vet
  • QPR Institute
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741.