Coping with the COVID-19 quarantine

April 19, 2020
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA

dvm360, dvm360 May 2020, Volume 51, Issue 5

I’m sure many of you can relate, but the harsh reality of our new normal as veterinarians has officially sunk in for me. Passover and Easter celebrations were enjoyed virtually. Friday night happy hours are being conducted with friends and family around the world via 3 x 3 video squares.

Seeing our patients without their pet parents in the hospital and providing curbside service are part of the new normal. Advanced technology, including telemedicine and smart mobile apps, is being used every day to communicate with clients and team members. Waiting in line at the grocery store or your own doctors’ office now takes that much longer. And with summer fast approaching, many of our vacations and summer plans have already been canceled.

And you know what? I’m OK with it. And you want to know something else? So are you.

This is a very serious pandemic we are facing. It’s being referred to as “the great pause,” and will be remembered as a time of mourning loved ones lost to this vicious virus, understanding the importance of what social distancing meant and appreciating the fact that those big arguments and disputes were just not worth it.

One thing we can never get back in life is time. I think that is something more resounding now than ever. It seems like yesterday that I lost both my mom and dad just weeks apart from one another, and I remember them telling me, “Adam, don’t stress over the little things. It’s just not worth it. Oh, and by the way, we love you.”

That advice is absolutely right on point for us right now. Veterinarians and support staff are working tirelessly to help treat and save lives so that the special human-animal bond can be maintained and protected. Veterinary students have had to adjust completely to a new way of learning with little to no notification. But don’t stress over the little things, everyone. Appreciate the fact that we have our family, our friends and this incredible profession to cry to, laugh with and lean on through the dark times. Oh, and by the way, you are loved so much.

I like to think of COVID-19 as a time to cognitively reframe our mindset, and I invite you all to do the same if you haven’t already. Instead of feeling “stuck at home,” be thankful you are “safe” at home and with your pets to snuggle with. Instead of feeling so “restricted and confined,” feel “grateful” for all you have. You’re not missing out on the things you enjoy. Instead, you have a greater appreciation for the things you do enjoy! We are all worried about our health but know that we are doing all that we can to stay healthy.

I know this message won’t make COVID-19 go away. However, I do hope you find comfort in knowing we are all in this together and by changing our coping and cognitive mindset, we can continue to be the best person and veterinary health care professional we can during these times. We got this. Stay safe, stay connected and stay pawsome.

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