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4 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Vet Team [And How Gratitude Benefits Mental Health]

Isabelle Perlman

Veterinary teams have been working tirelessly long before the pandemic, and each member—from receptionists to practice owners—could benefit from some well-deserved thanks.

For practice owners, it’s crucial to acknowledge the work of your team (read our blog, “5 Ways to Keep Veterinary Teams Happy During a Pandemic" to learn why that is). For the rest of the veterinary team, expressing thankfulness for your colleagues and managers during this time can bring you closer together and help you reflect on what most likely has been a challenging past few months. In all cases, studies show that gratitude has a positive impact on your mental health in many ways.

Here are 4 easy ways to give thanks to your vet team this year (plus the psychology behind why each can benefit your mental health):

1. Hand-write individual cards

Let’s face it: who doesn’t love receiving a hand-written note? On one hand, writing individual cards to your team is a great way to acknowledge someone’s hard work and reflect on how they have helped you and your team. On the other hand, a study on gratitude reveals that “gratitude letter writing produces better mental health by shifting one’s attention away from toxic emotions, such as resentment and envy.” So, putting your gratitude down on paper can be a positive experience for both you and your team.

2. Host a Teamsgiving

During a time when it is not recommended nor safe to gather in large groups, people miss the feeling of coming together now more than ever. Many members of the team may not be celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family this year (or at all), but by hosting a Teamsgiving in the practice, you can give your team the chance to reconnect in a deeper way. Depending on your comfortability, maybe this means having a potluck lunch for your team; maybe it means going around in a circle and saying one positive thing about each team member. Whatever it may be, studies show that “Gratitude is one factor that can help people find meaning in their job, along with applying their strengths, positive emotions and flow, hope, and finding a ‘calling’.” 

3. Give a gift

For some, it can be difficult to express their emotions through words. While this may be a good time to practice, the act of gift-giving can once again be positive for both yourself and the recipient if that is more comfortable for you. If you know your colleagues well, sharing small and meaningful gifts can strengthen your relationships, and even if you don’t: everyone loves a good gift card. Much research has shown that “the giving of gifts provides the giver with as much satisfaction as the recipient by enabling the giver to experience a positive self-concept, to feel generous and valuable.” 

4. Make a donation

Donating to a charity (or multiple charities) of your team’s choice can be a great way to give thanks as a group; and similar to the psychology behind giving a gift, it can spread positive mental health as well. In the season of giving, many people enjoy giving back to their community just as much, if not more, as they do receiving. You can ask your team to decide on 1 or 2 charities and to give as much as they would like. You could even set up a donation box in your practice inviting clients to give back, too. In one study, the University of Nottingham actually found that “Gratitude has the largest effect on a person’s willingness to give to others. It affects them more than happiness, sadness, empathy, shame, or anger.” By that logic, practicing the 3 above ideas for gratitude can give way to nurturing a very generous team!

We are thankful for you! That’s why we cover well-being: so you can be the best you possible. For more on team-building and mental health, check out: 

5 Ways to Keep Veterinary Teams Happy During a Pandemic

A Personal Story About Mental Wellbeing from a Devoted Veterinary Nurse
Over-Committing to Too Many Pets [and the Toll on Team Mental Health and Patient Care]

6 Tips for Instant Stress Relief at Work

Wellness During a Pandemic [Plus Helpful Resources]


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