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  • Writer's pictureDr. Katie Ford MRCVS

Finding Balance and Fulfillment: Personal Development for Veterinary Professionals

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Veterinary balance creation

In the demanding world of veterinary practice, finding balance and fulfillment can often feel like an elusive goal - we get it!

Long hours, emotional challenges, and the pressure to keep up with the workload can take a toll on your well-being; and that's without anyone mentioning the societal expectations and pressures outside of work too.

At Vet Empowered, we believe that personal development and exploration is the key to achieving balance and finding fulfillment in your veterinary career. In this blog post, we'll explore actionable steps and strategies to help you navigate the path towards personal growth and create a harmonious and fulfilling professional life.

Personal development is our jam, and we're here for it. You've got this.

And in this blog we're not getting into whether we call it balance, integration, symbiosis..... semantics... this is another blog for another day. For now, let's talk about some important reminders...

1. Prioritise Self-Care for Veterinary Balance

Oh FFS Vet Empowered, don't throw this one at me.

Self care feels like a buzz word right now? It's so important, and often at the times we want to do it the least are the times we need it the most.

Self care is not a luxury but a necessity, especially for veterinary professionals.

Make time for activities that rejuvenate and nourish your mind, body, and soul. Sometimes it feels as though we've forgotten what those things are - now is the time to get curious. Activities such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending quality time with loved ones help many people, but you'll find your own set of things. (And let's not forget the basics - as un-basic and often uninspiring as they are - hydration, good nutrition, screen-free time)

Prioritising self-care allows you to recharge and maintain a healthy work-life balance, ultimately leading to greater fulfillment in your veterinary career. You always find time to recharge your phone, let's create the time to recharge you too.

ACTION: Where can you create 15minutes today to check in with what you need?

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Spent any time with us, you'll know that we'll talk boundaries with you until the cows come home (and to get the vets home earlier!).

A boundary is effectively a ring fence around something we value - including yourself in that too. The aim is to preserve and care for what we are setting the boundary around.

You can't see a boundary, but you can communicate it with others or take actions around it. This might be saying 'no' to extra work, it might be deciding you'd like to spend less time around someone that doesn't light you up, or it might be not replying to messages outside of work hours.

Establishing clear boundaries is essential for maintaining balance and preventing burnout. Learn to say no to tasks or commitments that overwhelm you or don't align with your priorities. Communicate your boundaries effectively to colleagues, clients, and even yourself. By honoring your boundaries, you create space for personal well-being and fulfillment in both your professional and personal life.

We will do a whole post on boundaries and their somatic elements at some point....

3. Nurture Growth Mindset

Cultivating a growth mindset is a powerful tool for personal development, but also in balance too. Embrace challenges, view failures as learning opportunities, and believe in your ability to develop new skills and overcome obstacles. Embracing a growth mindset allows you to approach your veterinary career with curiosity, resilience, and a sense of continuous growth, leading to greater fulfillment and satisfaction.

Also view creating balance with growth mindset too. When we start to focus on creating balance and what it means to us, often the invisible perfection standards rear their head - or worse - other people's expectations and definitions. Give yourself permission to make incremental moves and learn as you go.

4. Learn About Yourself and What Balance Means to You.

Create space to figure out what's important to you, and what balance and fulfilment actually mean; we can tell you now there's no right or wrong and often people don't ask themselves.

Grab a pen and paper and consider answering the following:

  • What does the word balance mean to me in my life right now? (Replace with a similar term if you prefer)

  • When do I, or have I previously, felt most fulfilled in my life? What components were involved?

  • What is most important to me in my life? How can I add more of this?

  • What would my ideal (work) day look like? We know we'd all like to spend every day sea swimming with our friends...

  • Why do I do what I do? Why did you come into it in the first place?

Reflect back on your answers and look at whether you can find a small action to take right now towards making a beneficial change.

5. Foster Meaningful Connections

Find your people. Loneliness is the epidemic that nobody really talks about, and often can be fuelled if we doubt ourselves or feel as though we are doing things 'wrong'. We know at Vet Empowered that lots of new graduates will relocate completely for a job, and often find benefit from joining local associations and making local friends. Consider which relationships light you up, which ones you'd like to create and which you'd like to dial down?

We're not here to tell you that you must have connections outside of the veterinary space, or that you must not socialise with work colleagues - we're inviting you to zoom out and take a birdseye view of your current connections and ask if there's anything you'd like to change.

You are a wonderful, unique human and the right people will benefit from connecting with you - you might not have found those people yet.

6. Practice Mindfulness & Raise Self-Awareness

Totally our jam too - from meditiation guide and somatic training to so many more additional qualifications and experiences, our team know this stuff is magic.

Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine to cultivate present-moment awareness and reduce stress. Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or breathing exercises, can help you stay centered, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being. By practicing mindfulness, you create a solid foundation for personal growth, balance, and fulfillment in your veterinary career.

7. Align with Your Values

Reflect on your core values and ensure that your veterinary career aligns with them. Identify what truly matters to you and make intentional choices that reflect your values. When your work aligns with your values, you experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Aligning your professional life with your values allows you to lead a more meaningful and balanced veterinary career. We cover this more in the Vet Empowered Signature Programme - not to be underestimated lovelies.

Finding balance and fulfillment in your veterinary career is within your reach. By prioritising self-care, setting clear boundaries, nurturing a growth mindset, seeking self-learning opportunities, fostering meaningful connections, practicing mindfulness, and aligning with your values can help to bring back a sense of fulfilment and meaning.


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