Making 2021 Great, Part 1: Creating a Mental Health Space for Your Team

veterinarian relaxing on the couch

By Staci Welsh, CVPM, CVT, LVT 

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, you may be wondering what you can do to make a positive impact on your team’s mental health in 2021. As a veterinary practice manager, you want to rejuvenate your team for the New Year, and start off with a fresh, positive outlook.

What better way to allow your veterinary team to rest and recharge than with a mental health room at your veterinary practice?

It’s well-known that veterinary professionals struggle with well-being, and COVID certainly didn’t help matters. By setting up a recharge room in your practice, you can reinvigorate your team’s mindset and boost morale, so everyone goes home at the end of the day happier and healthier. 

How to find the space for mental health in your veterinary practice

You might be wondering, Where on earth will I find space to dedicate to a mental health room? 

Trust me, you don’t need to renovate your practice to create a relaxing and soothing space for your team to recharge. It’s really as simple as dedicating a quiet, private area to your team’s well-being. 

Perhaps you have an extra break room or office that isn’t being used. Or, maybe your recharge room can be created as soon as you clean out that closet you’ve been ignoring for years. If your practice is still conducting curbside appointments, you might have an extra exam room you can use for now. 

veterinarian relaxing in exam room

The key is to make this area a safe space that is used only for decompressing. Don’t bring any workplace or client drama into this stress-free zone. And, make it as private as possible. Most veterinary professionals are introverts, and sharing emotions is not something we do well. Create a space that allows for privacy and the time to regroup after dealing with an upset client or difficult euthanasia.

How to set your mental health space up for success

If your recharge room is a literal broom closet, it’s not going to do much good for your team’s mental health as they battle the mops and brooms for space. Perk up your stress-free spot to create the ideal soothing vibe in your recharge room with the following features:

  • Paint colors to soothe the situation — Calming blues and greens are grounding colors that encourage well-being, while soft neutrals can promote relaxation. 
  • Tissues to trap tears — Part of mental health is expressing emotions, and plenty of tissues may be needed to release frustrating, painful, or other heartfelt feelings.
  • A mirror to freshen up — What good are the tissues if a girl can’t check for smudged mascara before leaving the mental health room? Include a mirror so team members can confidently go back out to face their clients and patients after decompressing.
  • Stress balls to squeeze away tense emotions — Pumping your stress and anger through a stress ball can help alleviate tension.
  • Creativity outlets to grant a mental reset — Focusing on a puzzle—especially if it has adorable animals—can provide a pleasant mental reset. Naughty veterinary professional coloring books are also a great creative stress-reliever.
vet using puzzle
  • Yoga mat and videos to release endorphins — A quick burst of exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, and yoga can also allow for meditation and relaxation.
  • Healthy snacks to deal with “hanger” — Nobody is happy when they’re hungry. Add healthy trail mix and granola bars to your room to help team members get through until dinner. You can also include a Keurig and stock teas with calming ingredients for a quick, soothing beverage. 
  • Music to chill out — Just like calming music can soothe a stressed dog or cat, your team members can benefit from soft classical music or nature sounds playing in your recharge space. 
  • Mental health resources to research — Books, pamphlets, and websites regarding mental health and how to cope with stress, anxiety, and negative emotions are a great tool for science-minded veterinary professionals. Not One More Vet is an excellent resource for veterinary professionals to seek help anonymously. Not only do we not like to ask for help, we like to handle our problems in private. By stocking your mental health room with a variety of easily accessible tools and resources, you may be able to open a dialogue with your team member and get them the emotional support they need. 
  • Artwork to inspire — Hang inspirational posters and quotes in your mental health space to help team members focus on the positive.

Although known to have soothing properties, avoid using essential oils and candles in your recharge room, as they may trigger migraines in scent-sensitive team members.

How to set boundaries for your mental health room

By implementing a combination of the above features in your mental health room, your entire team may be clamoring to use it throughout the day. As the practice manager, you must set boundaries and limits to ensure patient and client care tasks are still being completed in a timely manner. While you’d love to ensure your team members’ mental health needs are fully met, finding the balance between catering to mental health and running a business is essential for this idea to be successful. 

Perform one-on-one sessions with team members to see how they’re doing, and encourage breaks as needed. Recognize your employees’ need to recharge and tell them to take a break, checking on them periodically to see if you can offer more assistance. 

You and your team made it through 2020. You’re resilient, hard-working, and dedicated. Remember that it’s OK to feel overwhelmed or stressed out, and it’s OK to need a moment to recharge and rejuvenate so you can face the rest of the day with a positive outlook. Providing a safe, private spot for your team’s mental health will go a long way toward helping you make 2021 your best year yet. 

Looking for additional ways to make 2021 your best year yet? Schedule a free, 30-minute demo to see how the Vet2Pet team can help yours.

Staci Welsh CVPM, CVT, LVT

Staci Welsh, CVPM, CVT, LVT, previously worked with the Vet2Pet team as the director of strategic partnerships. Staci has enjoyed a long career in veterinary medicine, and she is passionate about building industry relationships and helping practices use the latest technology to grow and thrive. Questions about this blog? Email info@vet2pet.com.

Share this post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

What's more popular than the latest designer doodle?

It’s Bits and Bytes, the newsletter from Vet2Pet’s founder and CEO, Stacee Santi, DVM! Full of the latest on veterinary technology, team wellbeing, client experience, and more, Bits and Bytes can be delivered directly to your inbox each month!

Cookies aren't just for dogs!
We use them to ensure a great experience for you too. By browsing this website you agree to this usage.