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It’s no secret that veterinarians are resilient. The profession has faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic but has adapted and pushed forward to sudden, drastic changes to meet new and growing demands.
“Our job is resilient, and if our job is resilient, it means the professionals in that profession are resilient,” said Kara Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition). “If we are resilient, it means that we are [have] recovered from [things] and learned to change course and move forward. “
When faced with adversity due to a global pandemic or difficult clinical situation, having the right tools to maintain your resilience is crucial. During her talk at the Virtual Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX) 2021, Burns shared 4 strategies to keep going in tough times in veterinary medicine.
1. Prioritize self-care
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (i.e. getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising) is key to maintaining resilience.
Additionally, Burns stressed that the veterinary team members experienced tremendous stress during the pandemic, so practicing these healthy habits is vital to your overall mental and physical health.
2. Maintain close relationships
Maintaining close relationships with immediate and extended families, team members, and organizations is critical when problems arise. In addition to having a solid support system, it is important to practice effective communication. Let people know when you are about to burn out and rely on the people you love and trust during these challenging times.
“We’re going to have these close relationships, and we’re going to have those relationships when something bad, something difficult, something difficult comes up,” said Burns.
3. View failure as a learning opportunity
Failure is inevitable. While it can be frustrating and even daunting, it can help you grow personally and professionally. A critical element of resilience is accepting that it’s okay to make mistakes.
“Failure is not fatal – we learn so much when we fail. As long as we fail, embrace that mistake, take feedback from our mistakes, learn from them, and then apply and move forward, we really don’t fail, ”said Burns.
4. Maintain a positive attitude
When things don’t go that way, remaining hopeful can build resilience, Burns said, adding that optimism enables you to expect good things even in a storm around you. Burns also suggested visualizing what you want.
“Studies have looked at visualization and it really makes a difference; It changes the way you think, maybe even on the subconscious level, “she said. Seeing the result you want is the first step in changing your reality, she explained. Don’t be afraid of that Holding back failure, she added.