4 ways to balance life in veterinary practice

Finding the right work and life balance is tricky, and leaning too far either way can lead to a nasty spill.
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Apr 01, 2012

Whether you're juggling work and studies or struggling to fit in time for family, friends, and hobbies without neglecting your work, maintaining a perfect equilibrium isn't an easy task.

I can't tell you how to put balance into your own life, but I hope by sharing my story—and the stories of other team members who struggle just like you—perhaps you can brainstorm your own solutions to take care of yourself and find the time to do the things you enjoy with the people and pets you love.

A dog's life

For some, working full time, running a household, and keeping up an active social life seems effortless. These people always seem to look good, too. It may be tempting to try to emulate their example, but first ask yourself if theirs is a lifestyle that you could maintain for the long haul. For example, with great effort you could teach a basset hound to run an agility course or train a Jack Russell terrier to lay around the house all day, making himself busy getting into no trouble whatsoever. But do you really think either dog could maintain these activities without going completely bonkers?

Don't try to be an agile basset hound. Find a solution to your life-balance issues that suits you as well as a chewed-up pair of slippers suits a Jack Russell terrier.

It seems that most people have life-balance issues that they either manage or they struggle to manage. However, I've noticed that the people who don't seem to ever struggle often appear to live lives that are out of kilter. That is to say, they spend a disproportionate amount of time doing one thing and one thing only. If you're trying to figure out a way to do everything—and do it well—there's good news and bad news. And then some more good news.

The good news? If you've realized that you're not at your happiest or best when you spend too much time at work or too little time with grown-ups, then you're on the right track. The bad news? No two experts agree on how to balance your work and your life. The other good news? No two people are exactly alike. So it makes sense that there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this puzzle. The answer to finding balance lies within each person.

Your experience might be similar to mine or it might be completely different. In the next pages you'll see other examples of team members' experiences and their challenges as they try to find their own work-life balance. Perhaps you're a single mother or a son caring for aging parents. Maybe you're deeply committed to a charitable organization in your community, pursuing a degree, running a business, or donating your personal time to a no-kill animal shelter. Whatever your experience, remember that making time for a healthier "you" will help you offer more to the career, people, and causes you love.