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It begins with your passion to help, or a drive to succeed, (usually both if you are a Vet or a Vet Nurse!). However, your desire to do so can override the need for self-care. Self-care is not selfish. It is sensible mental and physical health maintenance.

If you work long work hours, endure heavy workloads, continually absorb other people's anger, sadness and frustration but without release yourself, it will eventually cause you to break-down.

Burn-out creeps up on you, without you being aware that it is happening.

How can you recognise burn-out?

Look at yourself as though you are the patient. Here are the signals…

  • 1.A drive to succeed, which is overriding your self-care
  • 2.Chronic Fatigue
  • 3.Lack of Focus – are your concentration levels not what they once were?
  • 4.Physical (e.g. GI problems, weight fluctuations, lowered immune system)
  • 5.Anxiety – nervousness, dread, uncertainty
  • 6.Insomnia
  • 7.Depression – feeling worthless, incapable, sad for “no reason”
  • 8.Anger – at the world, other people, yourself, your patients?
  • 9.Lack of enjoyment e.g. lost interest in a job/hobby that used to bring joy
  • 10.Isolation – wanting to shut yourself away and hide – get away from it all
  • 11.Emotional detachment- wanting to disconnect from everything
  • 12.Feelings of hopelessness – nothing will change, I have no control

Do you recognise yourself in any of the 12 signals? Yes? You are in burn-out. Accept that you are not selfish to need self-care. You can change. You can ask for help. Do it now.

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