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Finding Balance, Personal Wellbeing

Finding Time for Self-Care

Finding Time for Self-Care
Veterinarians who are trying to achieve that elusive work-life balance need to find time for self-care. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Laura Baltodano, Owner of Lighthouse Pet Clinic
Lehigh Acres, Florida

Action step

Watch the video on my website and begin implementing the concepts and tips outlined that will enable you to better manage your time: laurabaltodano.com/5-top-time-management-tips.

The number 1 reason I hear from my clients about not taking care of themselves is lack of time: that existential, elusive work–life balance. The reality is that we all have the same number of hours available to us in a day. Have you considered how you are spending your time when you are not working?

Self-care is critical to overall happiness and fulfillment in both life and career. When you take better care of yourself, every aspect of your life begins to become more clear, you develop a better attitude, and you respond differently to obstacles and unexpected events that come up in your day-to-day life. The increased confidence you experience helps you become a better team player, clinician, parent, significant other, and friend because you feel better about yourself. In our profession, it can be too easy to become overwhelmed by what we need to do each day to care for our patients; we end up putting our own needs aside. Over time, that will be detrimental to your overall well-being. It is time to reconnect with your own individual needs in mind, body, and spirit.

Schedule Time for Self-Care

One strategy to begin creating that time you need for self-care is considering your daily schedule and where you can create that “Happy Hour” before your day gets started. Depending on your schedule, it may be that it changes week to week. That is okay. Remember that it is not about being perfect, but the key is being intentional and taking those first steps in developing a new habit. Studies show that developing a new habit, where performing a task becomes routine and second nature, takes 6 months. Be kind to yourself and know that it is a process; however, it is absolutely attainable.

When you begin developing a new routine to incorporate self-care, let those who are close to you know or have an accountability buddy. Explain why it is important to you so that they can keep you on track on days you “don’t feel like it.” They happen to everyone, so it is best to be prepared in advance with a strategy when they occur.

Taking time for yourself each day is not selfish—it is essential to living your true potential.

Dr. Laura Baltodano graduated in 2013 from Washington State University. She is the owner of Lighthouse Pet Clinic in Lehigh Acres, Florida. In addition to veterinary medicine, Dr. Laura is passionate about equipping others with tools to enhance their wellbeing. She is a certified health and wellness coach, a certified 7 Minute Life Time Management Trainer, registered yoga teacher, mindfulness teacher and is licensed to teach The Four Elements of Success by Lori Beth Jones. She loves singing, kayaking, reading and archery and enjoys spending time with her husband, 4 children and 9 pets.