As busy people, it can be easy to get so involved with caring for animals that you forget to take care of yourself. That’s why it can be a fantastic idea to integrate self-care activities into a work day, ensuring that you and your colleagues get much needed time to check in with each other.
Create an open dialogue about stress and workloads
Setting aside some regular time to openly discuss workloads can be extremely beneficial to your colleagues’ mental health, but also workplace efficiency. This can be as simple as making space in the morning meetings for people to voice their concerns, but why not make it an event? There’s nothing like coffee and cake to persuade an over-worked colleague to take a break and talk about their concerns.
Try to approach stressful workloads with the Franklin-Covey method. The Franklin-Covey method suggests that you mark tasks as:
A: Urgent and important
B: Important but not urgent
C: Urgent but not important
D: Neither urgent or important
You can then complete task A, then B and C. You may even find a colleague is happy to help with a task, or even take task D off your list!
Offer nutritious food options in the break room
As medical professionals, you know better than anyone else the importance of diet to general health. A small ‘breakfast bar’ can be a positive start for the day, leaving no excuse for colleagues who ‘ran out of time’ before work.
It’s not always reasonable to provide healthy lunches for all the team, but keeping snacks like fruit or flapjacks easily accessible can provide a nutritious boost between tasks. If these prove popular, a weekly food order or a tuck shop can be tailored to your team. Or, for something a little bit different, how about a ‘taste and try’ day? Bring some more unusual food options to mix up the routine.
Not every snack has to be healthy though! Cake days are always popular, or you can see whether there are any ‘national’ days coming up – there’s no better opportunity than ‘National Pasty Day’ to try your hand at baking.
Bring some healthy competition to the workplace
Physical exercise can be an excellent way to let off some steam, but it can be difficult to motivate yourself after a busy day. A great way to get your colleagues moving is by introducing a bit of competition to the practice!
You don’t have to be performing incredible athletic feats, something as simple as a team step-count is enough to get everyone active. You could have a leaderboard going to see who can do the most steps, or you could have a grand total, and if the team reaches a certain goal, it might be time for a treat.
Make it a social event
The bonds between colleagues can be so important to motivation and team spirit, and sometimes working hours just aren’t enough. Social events can be a fun way for colleagues to get to know each other away from the hustle and bustle of a busy veterinary practice. Remember that these should be entirely voluntary – there are any number of reasons someone may not be able to attend.
Going bowling or for a group meal can be a good start, but getting suggestions from colleagues is another opportunity to try something new and get to know what makes people tick!
These are just a few ways that you can promote healthy habits and wellbeing in your practice, but it is always a good idea to check in with the people you work with.