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How Veterinary Assistants Can Handle Stress: 5 Tips

The work of a veterinary assistant can often be enjoyable, but there are difficult aspects to the profession, especially when the working environment handles a high volume of patients. Assistants often work 40 hours a week, sometimes on weekends and holidays. They can also have many responsibilities—including helping to perform procedures on hurt or sick animals—which can make it difficult to manage stress and emotional health. 

Tips for Managing Stress

There can be an expectation for vet techs to always be on the move, updating charts, checking on animals, talking to pet owners. This can become a habit. Knowing how to manage stress is integral to success in this profession. Here are five tips on how you can ensure that stress doesn’t affect your health and your personal life.

  1. Manage Your Time Effectively

As far as is possible, plan your day. Prioritize the most critical tasks and use a calendar to schedule them. Set reasonable goals and deadlines for yourself so you’ll know where to focus your attention. Don’t put off important work until later; this will only cause stress for you later. 

However, it’s inevitable that things are going to come up—emergencies are part of the job. Remember to leave space in your schedule and be flexible. If a client comes in with a pet needing emergency care, that takes precedence over counting the inventory—and this should not cause tension or anxiety.

It’s also important not to get distracted by social media or other things outside of work. Try to focus on one thing at a time. A study found that few people can effectively do multiple tasks at a time. For most people, trying to do more than one thing at once can lead to errors. 

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  1. Get Some Light Exercise

Exercise can help reduce the effects of stress and improve your overall health—including your mental health. Being more physically active can lower stress levels, help you sleep better, and clear your mind, making you more productive at work.

Exercise also has an antidepressant effect because it increases your endorphin (the feel-good hormone) levels. This helps to relieve depression and anxiety by increasing the release of dopamine—a neurotransmitter that regulates moods and feelings of pleasure or happiness.

  1. Work with a Team

Working with a team is another way to share the workload and make your job less stressful. A culture of collaboration allows team members to share tasks and keep each other motivated. It’s also easier to learn new skills when working with others because there are opportunities for observing and asking questions.’

  1. Take Days Off

When you first start working as a veterinary assistant, spending every waking hour with your patients can be tempting. But this is not the best way for you to cope with stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, taking some time off is essential—and even more so if your new position comes with additional responsibilities such as training new staff members or overseeing an existing team of assistants.

Taking days off can reduce strain on the body and mind when dealing with high-intensity workloads. 

  1. Play with Furry Friends

Lastly, play! When the workflow allows it, spending a little time entertaining the animals can help everyone relax. Taking a dog for a walk and getting a little fresh air is a great way to reset after a tough situation, and when the patients are well enough, many enjoy the extra attention. Besides, just petting an animal can reduce stress.

Become a Stress-Free Veterinary Assistant

There are a few things about being a veterinary assistant that can be stressful, including the working environment or apprehensions about your job, including ways of advancing your career. It’s okay. Focus on things you can control. When the pressure is adding up, don’t be afraid to take a step back and reassess. A veterinary assisting program can help you build your skills and comfort level and become job ready. 

Explore our Programs to learn how you navigate being a veterinary assistant. 

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