Veterinary technicians are at the heart of animal care. They assist veterinarians with tasks like first aid, nursing, and dental exams. On a given day, a vet tech job description also includes preparing animals for procedures, taking X-rays, and administering medications. No matter the size or scope of the veterinary office, the work can be fast-paced, emotional, and intense. This is why some vet techs may experience work-related stress.

Coping with Stress as a Vet Tech

Even if you love putting on your veterinary scrubs, it is common to experience anxiety or become overwhelmed. According to a recent employee survey by LinkedIn, self-reported signs of job burnout have risen as much as 33 percent in the last year. Those who work in animal care are far from immune to this trend, as they assume considerable professional responsibility, work with the public and see sick patients. When you are feeling stressed as a vet tech, the tips, and advice below will help you to cope with the tension, pressure, or worry that may come with being a caring, dedicated vet tech.

Unplug After Work

A veterinary technician’s day is full of patient appointments. It is critical to stay focused during procedures, communicate tactfully with each patient’s family and be supportive to fellow employees. Since you devote so much of your energy to your job, it is possible to experience symptoms of emotional stress like muscle tension, irritability, or fatigue. These feelings may come up after work when you are spending time in solitude or relaxing. Instead of distracting yourself with the television or smartphone, unplug and engage in self-care.

Meditation, deep breathing, and gentle exercises like yoga are popular stress management techniques. They also help to calm the mind and body in preparation for sleep. If you are having trouble staying asleep at night, remove blue light devices from your bedroom. These include tablets, TVs, and computer monitors. The less technology you have in your relaxation space, the easier you may find it to fall asleep and stay asleep. You can also prevent sleep conditions like insomnia, which can make it difficult to perform well at work.

Find a Fun Hobby

A fun, engaging hobby is a great way to take your mind off the stressors of work. Fun, engaging physical activities also help to keep your body healthy. Walking and running keep your muscles and heart-healthy. They also encourage you to get out into nature and enjoy more fresh air. Team sports can enhance your social life, while solitary hobbies like star-gazing, traveling and pottery are completely different from what you do during your workday.

Another excellent way to find a hobby is to partner up with a friend or family member. Discover what they like to do and then try it for yourself. Take a martial arts class, learn how to paint, or create your own podcast. Incorporate your love of animals by engaging in pet photography, walking your dog with friends, or taking your favorite animal companion to your local pet-friendly eatery. Scheduling interesting and exciting events can help you to feel more resilient when you have challenging days at the veterinary hospital.

Chat with Your Colleagues

No one knows how you feel quite like your fellow team members. When you are having a tough day, talk with your colleagues. Once they know what you are going through, they may be able to offer helpful advice. It is also possible that they can help or support you in some other way the next time you encounter the same type of patient or procedure.

While it is essential to communicate when you are feeling stressed, it is also a great idea to tell your team how much you appreciate them. Encourage each other when an exam goes well or when you have a smooth, positive day. The more you come together during the good times, the easier it will be to lend a hand when your colleague needs it the most.

Seek Online Support

There are thousands of veterinary-related internet groups and social media pages. By networking with other technicians and technologists, you can help to broaden your knowledge about the field and learn more about being an animal care professional. While you can feel free to use your name or personal brand on these sites, you are also free to create an alias or speak anonymously. This freedom allows you to communicate your concerns or stresses about your job role or company without feeling unprofessional or uncomfortable.

If your stress is related to learning a new task or technique, watch videos or read online research. Joining a professional group or an online club for veterinary techs can also help you to feel more confident in your skills and gain the leadership you need to take your career to the next level. Some animal care professionals simply need to de-stress with some adorable animal pictures or funny veterinary jokes.

Love Your Pets

A veterinary tech’s job is busy and intense, but it is still rewarding to care for sweet and adorable pet patients. Cuddling your own animal companions at home can help you to relax and de-stress, just like when you play with a pet at work. Some of the biggest mental health benefits of having pets include less work-related stress and reduced anxiety. Dogs, cats, and other small animals can also help to decrease symptoms of depression, encourage a positive mood, and ease loneliness.

If you do not already have a pet, consider getting one. If you have work-related burnout, caring for a new dog or cat may help to increase positive emotions. Some veterinary offices even allow employees to bring their animals to work with them. Other perks for pet owners may include discount patient care and a newfound love for working with certain animals.

Caring for Animals and Your Emotional Health

While you selflessly care for your patients, you may start to experience symptoms of burnout or stress. While it can be easy to ignore these feelings in a fast-paced work environment, it is important to pay attention to them. Anxiety, depression, or body tension can be a sign that you need to communicate with your employer or change your routine. Taking time to relax at home and improve your workday can enhance your health both mentally and physically.

When it comes to taking practical steps to reduce stress, keep your professional wardrobe stylish and comfortable. Stretch scrubs and nursing shoes will help you to be more productive and energetic on the job. Reach out in-office or online if you have questions or concerns about your role and responsibilities. Continuing your professional education can also make a difference in how you feel during the workday. A holistic approach to your health and a commitment to your personal needs will help you to become a better person and employee. You will also become more successful at caring for your animal patients.