Veterinary health and wellbeing are top of mind for veterinarians across the profession, including at the AVMA. As you and your veterinary team members prioritize self-care and support for your colleagues, we’re here to help.
Our new guide 100 Healthy Tips to Support a Culture of Wellbeing offers strategies and practical steps you can take at work and at home to support healthful living and create a positive work environment.
Now available on the AVMA website, it addresses each of the nine unique dimensions that contribute to our wellbeing: creative, emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual. Because wellbeing is affected by all of these factors, 100 Healthy Tips includes suggestions to improve each of them. It also combines strategies for improvement both at the individual level and in the workplace.
Here are some examples:
Workplace: Organize an employee poetry reading during lunch or after hours in a local coffeehouse.
Individual: Seek out inspiration: visit museums, attend live concerts, attend a book reading, take in a sunset.
Workplace: Institute “Feelings” Rounds into your daily check-ins or weekly staff meetings. Encourage – but do not require – everyone to participate to the level they are comfortable.
Individual: Actively seek out laughter. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
Workplace: Create a work environment that is as clean, open, and light as possible.
Individual: Learn about nature preserves in your area, and go exploring. Walking in a natural outdoor setting has been shown to be effective at reducing depression, stress, and anxiety.
Workplace: Provide support for establishing and navigating retirement plans for your employees.
Individual: Consider hiring a financial planner to help you manage your finances.
Workplace: Foster a communal growth mindset in your workplace. This will include grace for learning and making mistakes, and modeling vulnerability in acknowledging your challenges and asking for help.
Individual: Explore a hobby that you’ve never tried before.
Workplace: Schedule and uphold regular performance reviews, both to bestow positive feedback on your team and to clarify job performance expectations for the future.
Individual: Create a five- or ten-year vision for yourself professionally and personally. Is the work you are doing moving you toward that vision?
Workplace: Be supportive of team members who adjust their schedules to make it possible to exercise or schedule a medical appointment.
Individual: Prioritize sleep! Make it a necessity, not a luxury.
Workplace: Highlight an employee a week or month to give everyone the opportunity to share about themselves and get to know one another better.
Individual: Limit the time you spend on social media. More than one hour a day is associated with a decrease in wellbeing.
Workplace: Bring in someone to lead guided meditations during lunch breaks or staff meetings.
Individual: Cultivate a daily personal gratitude practice, either by journaling or talking about it with friends and loved ones.
100 Healthy Tips to Support a Culture of Wellbeing is just one of the ways the AVMA helps you and other veterinary professionals take an active role in your health and contribute to a positive work culture. This resource originally was developed for the 2018 Veterinary Wellbeing Summit held earlier this year, which explored practical strategies for participants to take home and implement in their own lives to enhance both personal and professional wellbeing.
We are continually developing new tools and resources to support your health. These include tools to help you plan and implement your own self-care plan; lead efforts to improve workplace wellbeing for your team; learn how to identify and help colleagues who might be in crisis and considering suicide; and much more. To see them all, visit the wellbeing section of our website at avma.org/wellbeing.