Just like your masks and gloves, we think it is important that you have emotional PPE to help protect you from the stress in your world. We know that the work you do each day in your hospitals is important, meaningful, and impactful. We are so thankful for heroes like you who provide pets with amazing care in your community. However, we also understand that there is a lot going on in the world, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or in need of some support, we are pleased to share a new resource for you. The Emotional PPE Project connects healthcare workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can help. There is no cost and you do not need insurance. You can learn more by visiting https://www.emotionalppe.org/
The veterinary profession can be stressful and fast-paced. Allowing yourself time to rest, relax, and recharge is critical to ensure that your health and wellbeing remain optimal, which will allow you to continue providing amazing care to the pets in your community. Sleep can be elusive, but it keeps our bodies healthy. There are five stages of sleep that support the maintenance of body functions such as mental activity, immune response, and hormone regulation.
Stages 1 through 4 are non-Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep when brain activity slows and your sleep gets deeper. The fifth stage, REM sleep, is when the brain is active. You cycle through the stages multiple times so each one has enough time in the spotlight to play its role in your total wellness.
Your brain’s ability to cycle through all five stages depends on the amount and quality of sleep you get. The minimum recommended daily amount of sleep varies based on age — newborns typically need 16 hours, preschool-aged children need 11 hours, school-aged children need 10 hours, teenagers need 9 hours and adults need 7 hours.
The quality of this sleep also matters because of the restfulness that comes with deep sleep. If you are not sleeping enough to reach this stage, or you sleep the recommended number of hours and your sleep is interrupted, you probably still feel tired during the day.
Since sleep deprivation can lead to problems such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and stroke, it’s in your best interest to get the quality sleep you need. Catch the Z’s you need by:
Getting into a routine.
Try going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, as well as cutting naps off after 3 p.m. so you are not restless at bedtime and exhausted in the morning. Your body will appreciate the consistency!
Being mindful of what you put in your body.
Diet matters — avoid caffeine and alcohol later in the day and do not eat heavy meals at night. It is best to not use nicotine at all.
Unwinding before bed.
Cool your bedroom down and relax with a book or some music before bedtime. Limit the use of bright lights, noises, and electronics as much as possible.
Taking good care of your body during the day.
Choose an exercise that you enjoy enough to do regularly (but not too close to bedtime) and spend some time outside so your body can get exposure to natural light.
Not lying awake for hours.
If you are tossing and turning for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity until you feel tired enough to sleep.
We want all of you to feel rested and energized as you provide heroic care in your hospitals! Make sleep a priority so that you can live out your passion for caring for pets for a long, long time to come!