Just as important as what’s going on in the clinic is what’s happening outside of the clinic. When I first started out this year, I came home at night and read, and watched webinars, and researched. I thought about cases lying in bed, rather than sleeping. After every surgery I did, I imagined the dog was probably at the ER because I had screwed something up (only to come in the next morning and find out they were doing just fine). I found myself coming home crying at least once a week. I stayed late at work reading up on cases. I worked way too hard way too fast and forgot that in order to be a good veterinarian, I had to take care of myself.
I took work home with me every day, and that’s something I still do to this day but to a much less extent. I had to find a way to be a good vet, to know all the things I needed to know, but to also remember that I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. These parts of my life are also important.
So, what do I do when I’m not at work? I love to take my dogs for hikes. I love going to the beach. I love eating food, and occasionally making it. My husband and I recently bought a house, and most of our weekends have been spent doing renovations. I will never be a contractor but I can put down vinyl plank flooring and drive a tractor enough to crash it into a tree. I have a serious addiction to Netflix. I love knitting and drinking tea. I love sitting on the decks of Portsmouth and having a drink. I like exploring new places around us.
It’s been a big year, and what happens outside of work allows me to do what I do as a career. Without the mental breaks of hikes, or lazy nights spent with my husband, I wouldn’t be able to walk a client through their pet’s cancer diagnosis, or explain what anal glands are, or anything that I do when I’m in the clinic. That’s something all of us as veterinarians need to work on. That’s something we should be teaching aspiring veterinarians to be doing. While we love our patients and clients, we have to love ourselves and the people around us as well.