2 tests to check your stress

December 15, 2019
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

Sharing resources from her own educational journey on mental health, secondary trauma and burnout, Fetch dvm360 speaker Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP, shared a pair of self-assessments and an urgent call for an important persons self-care—yours.

You're worn out. You fear your fellow veterinary team members and veterinarians are also worn out. It's going to sound ridiculous, but you need stop and take a couple of tests.

In calling veterinary leaders to bring self-care practices to their teams and clinics, Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP-a growing voice in promoting more thought on trauma in the veterinary community-urged conference attendees to start with themselves.

Dr. Dogan asked attendees in her Fetch dvm360 San Diego session Thursday, Dec. 12, to take two short tests:

1. The Social Readjustment Rating Scale, which looks at how many potentially stressful events have happened to you in the past 12 months.

2. “How vulnerable are you to stress?” which helps you judge what support and habits you have today to manage stress.

The first self-assessment gives insight into how much change you're experiencing right now; some self-compassion may be in order if you discover you're facing a lot all at once. The second self-assessment is a window into the healthy or unhealthy habits you may have today as well as your access to resources that can support you in tough times.

The quizzes are found on pages 12 and 14, respectively, in this PDF.

“They're a means of bringing your attention to what's going on in your life,” said Dr. Dogan to the audience.

Take the tests for yourself. Dr. Dogan asked attendees to consider the results and identify one thing-an easy thing-to improve: More sleep. Better meals. Meditation. Reaching out. Expressing feelings. Then turn that one thing into a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goal for yourself. (Check out the basics of SMART goals in this article.)

Dr. Dogan understands if you're skeptical about this. One attendee came to her after a session on self-care to say, “Meditation just seems like another thing to cross off my to-do list.” She gets it: “I've been there, but you've got to start somewhere.”

So do that. Take the two self-assessments. Figure out where you are. Figure out how you feel. And if you're suffering, set a goal to do one thing.

See where it goes from there.