Episode 154 | Prioritizing Downtime

In this episode, Dr. Wise shares the importance of prioritizing downtime in the veterinary profession. She explains that without regular downtime, individuals become stuck in a repetitive cycle, lacking the opportunity to create a different life experience.

Downtime allows for the exploration of emotions and desires, which can lead to personal growth and the realization of a more fulfilling life. However, many veterinary professionals struggle with downtime, as they often spend their days off decompressing from work-related stress and anxiety. 

Dr. Wise encourages veterinary professionals to prioritize self-care and emotional management to break free from this cycle and create a more balanced and fulfilling life. 

She also highlights the need for emotional well-being education in professional programs to support individuals in high-stress careers. 

Ultimately, she encourages individuals to take the time to plan for their future and give themselves permission to want more in life.

Key Takeaways:
1. Downtime is important in the veterinary profession to allow for creativity and personal growth.
2. Without regular downtime, individuals can become stuck in a repetitive cycle.
3. Many veterinary professionals struggle with downtime and spend their days o3f decompressing from work-related stress.
4. Learning to manage emotions and prioritize self-care is crucial for breaking free from the cycle of stress and anxiety.
5. Emotional well-being education in professional programs can support individuals in high-stress careers.
6. Prioritizing downtime allows for rest, rejuvenation, self-reflection, creativity, and pursuit of personal goals.
7. Taking the time to plan for the future and embracing personal growth can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life in and outside of the veterinary profession.

Website:  https://joyfuldvm.com

Vet Life Academy:  http://joyfuldvm.com/vetlifeacademy 

VetMed; JOY CLUB: https://joyfuldvm.com/joyclub

Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay



Website: https://joyfuldvm.com



Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay


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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos. 

Hi there. I'm Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach and certified quantum human design specialist. If you are a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DBM podcast is absolutely for you. Let's get started. Hello my friends. Welcome to another reflection Friday here at Joyful DBM.

Today is Friday, December 29th, 2023. Can you believe it? We are finally here at the end of the year, absolutely unbelievable that this year is over. And this is our last reflection Friday for this year. So today I wanna spend a few minutes talking about prioritizing downtime. And before you click away from this, I want you to just take a second to hear me out on what I have to share because there prioritizing downtime is more important than just refilling your cup.

So let's think about this for a second. As I've been away from the office for over a week now, I took a bit of a vacation, I've had more downtime, and as expected, a few different things have happened. Number one, I've had the opportunity to be much more creative and there's a very logical reason why this occurs Day in and day out in veterinary practice,

we are engaging the left side of our brain, so that very logical, analytical, scientific part of our brain, the physical mind aspect. And in that we stay very busy. So our consciousness is focused on tasks, on cases, on data, and in that kind of focus with our attention only in that one place, the right side of our brain doesn't have a lot of opportunity to be utilized.

So our creative aspects, things that allow us to dream and to future plan and to vision cast and those kinds of things, which are important for every single one of us. So if we aren't taking regular downtime, we are not actually creating anything different than what we are experiencing day in and day out in our lives in these moments because what we focus on,

we create. So even though it is very valuable to focus on our work, to go to work, to earn money, to pay our bills, to do all of those things, it is kind of a robot type function, if you will. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I'm not trying to shame any of us, but I want us to realize that when we get caught on the hamster wheel of getting up,

going to work, coming home collapsing, getting up the next day, doing it all over again, where there's never any time for anything else, let alone anything fun or creative that we do then create a habit pattern where we just keep perpetuating that same type of existence. Though when we do have a little bit of downtime, we recognize that we don't like that kind of existence.

So the downtime actually starts to have a very unintended consequence, which is rather than getting an opportunity to relax, we end up having an opportunity to spin in our own thoughts, creates more anxiety, frustration, depression, stress, all that kind of thing. And it's actually easier to get back on the hamster wheel where you're not thinking about your life or experiencing your own emotions.

Activity, busyness is a really good buffer to your emotions. It keeps you from feeling what you're feeling when you're focused on something else because we can't really focus on two things at one time. So downtime gives us an opportunity to notice those emotions and that's the uncomfortable side of downtime. But absolutely why we must prioritize it. 'cause not only do you wanna use your downtime to truly rest,

right, to regain some energy, to partake in aspects of your life that are not associated with your career, but also even in the discomfort of downtime. And what I mean by that is even when you're having some downtime and you realize the negative emotion comes up, or you start thinking about how you want your life to be different than it is, or you want your job to be different than it is,

or you allow yourself to dream about the things that you want for the future. And even when that oftentimes will pull you into kind of a bit of despair because you think about the things that you want for the future, but the existence that you have now, that hamster wheel of activity doesn't create a path to get it. All of that is very valuable because unless you step off the hamster wheel,

you'll only live in the hamster wheel. So you've got to step off of that rollercoaster to allow what else is important for you as a being to come to the surface for you to realize, wait a minute, there are things about my life and my job and my career that I absolutely love, but this is not the only thing that I want to have in my life.

I want relationships, I want hobbies, I want other outside interests. I want to do other things, build other things, be other things. And unless you give some attention to that which you are not gonna be able to do when you are knee deep in appointments in a veterinary hospital, unless you give attention to that, you will never create it.

So this is why downtime is so critical. Now, what happens for a lot of us in downtime when we only have a couple of days off, is that it takes the entire first day just to decompress. That's very normal. We are working in a high stakes career, right? It's, there's a lot of pressure, there is a lot of anxiety,

there's a lot of need from other people. And I'm not saying that the, that that experience that I just described is inevitable because it's not. But it does require developing the skill of managing your emotions no matter what is happening. It's exactly what we do in our Vet Life Academy program is teach you how to do that. So you are always in control of your emotional wellbeing,

even when you're at work. But until you've learned how to do that, and believe me, it is a skill to be developed. It's not something that you just know how to do. Somebody has to teach you how to do it. And it was something that I had to learn, which is why I'm so passionate about teaching it now because I spent decades of my career being very stressed out,

losing every day off to anxiety and dread of going back to work the next day. I'm completely disengaged from my life un like to the point of being afraid to go out in public because I didn't wanna run into clients like I have been at the darkest of dark of this career and I know that there is a better way, I live a better way,

I teach a better way. So we do that in Vet Life Academy. But if you don't have those skills yet, then what happens is that those days off become what I call the Sunday Blues. And you end up frozen on your days off. So you don't engage in your life, you don't partake in your hobbies. You probably just sit there mindlessly throwing through Facebook or watching mindless tv,

looking on Amazon doing something like that. Again, staying busy. Notice all of these things keep your mind busy because if your mind is busy, you don't have to deal with yourself. And when you have the opportunity to deal with yourself to notice how you're feeling to be curious about it and not judge it and not get into despair about it, then you can make some real changes.

So this downtime, prioritizing downtime not only creates the space for you to get into your right brain to actually partake in some of those hobbies and activities and think about the future and dream and plan and create a vision for your life, that part's amazing and it feels wonderful to do. But you can't even get there if you are so caught in the anxiety and the emotional consequences of the life that you have now.

So that downtime, if it's showing you stress, if it's showing you anxiety, if you feel like almost more stressed out when you're off because you're always thinking about work and you would just rather get back in it, 'cause when you're in it, you don't feel as bad. I just want you to see that that is a very normal experience for us in this profession.

It's not inevitable. It is not the way that you have to live. And it is an indicator for you. I want you to use it as an indicator that, wait a minute, you've just got some internal work to do. You've got an opportunity to grow internally, to grow as yourself, to learn how to work with your emotions, to realize your emotions,

calibrate everything in your life. That everything that you want for your life is really gonna first be created internally from your own desires. But then the way that you get there is going to be determined by your emotional state. And if your emotional state is in the toilet all the time, you are never going to be able to create all, create all those things that you want for yourself.

And where we get really discouraged here is when we notice that our emotional wellbeing is low and we believe the lie that it's never going to get better. That this is what we've created for ourselves. That this is, you know, just an an and inevitable consequence of a veterinary career that maybe there's something wrong with us personally because everybody else seems to be happy,

but we aren't. We aren't enjoying our careers, we aren't enjoying our lives. And then that can get into a very negative downward spiral that lead can lead people to take, to make decisions that are life ending. And we don't want that. It's not ever necessary. This the level of discomfort or despair that any of us feel is never worth giving up our lives over ever.

And it's only temporary. The only challenge is that when you're in that dark place, you don't even know that there's an option to get out of it. And unfortunately, the way that we have talked about these challenges in veterinary medicine has perpetuated the challenges themselves rather than showing veterinary professionals that we actually have power to change all of this. And we don't have to change our circumstances first.

That again, this is an inside job that it starts on how we manage ourselves, understanding the neuroscience behind where emotion comes from and realizing that we get to change all of that. We have the power to change all of that. And when we change all that, then we have the capacity to make the changes in our circumstances that create the external reality of the lives that we want in the futures that we dream of.

So my friends, I know this is a lot when it comes to prioritizing downtime, but until you prioritize some downtime, until you allow that physical mind to settle down a little bit and see what comes up, when you're not focused on something that is urgent or important to to somebody else, you will miss all of this information that you're actually giving yourself on what you need to do to support yourself best.

I promise you that living in anxiety and dread and frustration is not a normal state of being. And that doesn't mean that if you're experiencing that it, that you're broken. That's not what I mean at all. What I mean is it's just simply opportunity because your normal state of being is to be peaceful and calm and joyful. And yes, this is a human experience with human emotion.

You're gonna have ups and you're gonna have downs, and that's all part of the game. But neither side is going to be 100% of the time. And when we believe the lie that we are stuck in those lower states of emotional wellbeing, and if there's no way out, then that despair really starts to compound and we start to feel very defeated. If you're there,

I've been there. I know exactly what that's like. And all you need to do is just decide to take care of yourself, to decide to be a student again, to be curious, to realize that you don't know all there is to know about how to create happiness and wellbeing as a human. It's not something that is taught to us. It's ridiculous that it is not it taught to us.

It's ridiculous that it is not improved in every type of professional education across the board because professional educations lead to professions that are typically high stress, high anxiety, high anxiety, high stakes. And without the capacity to manage emotional wellbeing, those professionals suffer in those careers. They might financially look wonderful. They might have all of these things that they can buy with their money that they create.

And I know with veterinary professionals, some of you're like, what money? 'cause my student loans are so high, like I don't even have any money. That's a whole other story. But despite all of that, that staying busy in your work only works for so long because at some point you're not gonna work anymore. You're already noticing what that's gonna be like when you have a day off and you are in despair on your day off.

And the thing of it is, you're in despair, your despair, your day off. 'cause you don't wanna go back to work. But at the same time, as soon as you go back to work, you feel better. So just notice that if you think that getting out of that job is gonna fix everything, it probably isn't because you're still gonna be left with yourself.

And this is work that we all have to do. We all have our own journey with this, but is a journey that you are equipped to take, it is a journey that you came here to take. I would take it that far and say that it is intentional for part of your life to do this. So pay attention to what happens internally for you when you have downtime.

Are you stuck in anxiety? Are you stuck in dread? Are you frozen like I was in these types of emotions? Or are you able to disconnect to really be in a creative state, to have fun, to have joy, to interact with aspects of your life that have nothing to do with your job, to put focus and attention on creating what it is that you want for your future?

Do you even know what it is? Have you even given yourself the opportunity to plan at one point you did, my friends, at one point you planned your future because you decided to go into the veterinary profession and you pursued an academic career, you know, an academic path to get a credential that led you to veterinary pro the veterinary career that you have now.

And so notice at one point you had the capacity and the intention to create a plan to move forward. And for some reason, when we get into our jobs, we stop planning ahead. We stop looking toward the future, we stop dreaming. It's almost like we can't give ourselves permission to want something more. And that is the greatest disservice that we can give to ourselves as humans because we are here to experience.

We are not here to do. You are human beings, you are not human doings. And it's so important for us to realize this no matter what type of profession that we have, our role here is not simply to be in action all of the time. So my friends, as you get ready to go into the new year, I do hope that you will consider what it is that you want for the future,

for the next month, the next year, the next 10 years. And to know that taking time to just ponder that, to sit in the energy of that, to put some effort toward creating that is valuable time spent, that you do not need to be in action every moment of every day. And that the downtime that you give yourself has way more value than just renewing your physical energy.

It has way more value than just checking off a bunch of things on your to-do list, which actually just keeps you busy, right? It's actually essential for your wellbeing and for your internal being to have that time to just be. Because when you take that time for yourself, you will create clarity around what you are here to do, what your life is about,

and what you want to create for the future. And that's the greatest gift gifting you can give yourself going into next year and everyday forward. All right, my friends, that's gonna wrap it up for this reflect reflection Friday. I wish you all a very happy New Year, and I'll see you soon. Bye for now.