Life at a distance had just begun to feel routine, but just as quickly as lockdown restrictions were implemented, they are beginning to lift in most states.'
After weeks and weeks of maintaining social distance, you may notice you're not as comfortable stepping out of the house as you once were. For veterinary professionals, this feeling could be amplified in the workplace as you are required to be in close contact with both colleagues and pet owners. This could be particularly true for those coming back from furlough and working within the new reduced-contact regulations for the first time.'
Although it may take some time to adjust to the next phase of reality, there are some simple steps you can take to ease post-lockdown anxiety:
1. Acknowledge your feelings
According to mental health experts, anxiety around post-lockdown life is an emerging phenomenon. Sensory overload returning to social situations could induce some physiological symptoms of anxiety, especially if you struggled with mental health issues prior to lockdown. Being able to identify and acknowledge these physical and mental feelings will be the first step to feeling better.
2. Invest in your physical health
Many people have used lockdown to cook healthy food and dust off bikes or at-home gym equipment. Be sure to prioritize and continue these habits. If you're a religious gym-goer who needed a break from your routine during the lockdown, now may be the time to ease your way back into moving your body with yoga or Pilates. Keep it simple, and don't overwhelm yourself with big, sudden changes.
3. Use your communities and colleagues
Chances are you're not the only person you know who's feeling anxious. If you don't feel comfortable discussing your concerns with your co-workers, there are groups of vet professionals talking and problem-solving challenges of post-lockdown life on community Facebook hubs such as Veterinarians, Vet Techs, and Vet Assistants Unite!, Vet Tech Nation, Not One More Vet, and our own group (founded during quarantine), Vet Show Community.'
4. Be kind to yourself
It was difficult to adjust to lockdown, so it will be difficult to adjust out of lockdown. Don't expect to go from 1 to 100 overnight. You've spent over two months trying to make yourself feel safe, and feel secure in your home, so leaving your cocoon might not be the most appealing thing yet.'Don't go out, return to social situations, or practice face-to-face contact if you're not ready! Go easy on yourself, and if you're experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks, please contact a medical professional.
-'Veterinary Social Work Hotline at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville'('To contact a vet social worker, call 865-755-8839 Monday through Friday 10am-5pm. You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.')
- If you are experiencing anxiety or having suicidal thoughts, please text HOME to 741741 (US and Canada)
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18 Aug 2020 Isabelle PerlmanAs the pandemic continues, keeping teams happy can be challenging. By taking the time to understand the ways you can boost morale, your team will always remember your efforts and stick around a while.
07 Aug 2020 Rachel Lees RVT, KPA CTP, VTS (Behavior)Advice that all vet professionals, not just veterinary nurses, need to hear. If you don't take care of your mental health, you risk making negative life altering changes to your patients and yourself.
05 Aug 2020 Laura Shapiro, Group Event Director, CloserStill MediaThe biggest challenge we faced in the wake of COVID-19 was having to get to grips with the fact that our daily lives had to change at the drop of a hat, along with the indefinite uncertainty.