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The recent RCVS study revealed that 90% of vets find veterinary work stressful….yet there wasn’t much evidence of stress at Noel Fitzpatrick’s VET Festival last weekend!

Maybe everyone just left their cares behind to absorb some learning as they breathed in the fresh air and basked in the sunshine. The month of June does help. I do recall last year when there was a heavy downpour for an hour when we (briefly) needed our wellies and ponchos, but mostly the sunshine seems to bless this event. Even if it does rain, people are so relaxed here that they mentally just go “...whatever…” and carry on enjoying themselves.

As well as being blessed with sunshine the event was also blessed with some great speakers. In her own sessions, Lizzie Lockett, recently appointed Chief Executive of the RCVS and Director of Mind Matters, quite candidly said that her husband, who meditates daily, is better at relaxing than she is!

That doesn’t matter as that awareness of the direction you need to go in is a big step forward and comments like that really help the audience relate to the points being made. Lizzie and the rest of the Mind Matters team need to be congratulated for being the catalyst and driving force behind the cultural shift towards wellness that is apparent in the veterinary sector at the moment. They are making a difference.

One of the things that makes speakers great is when they are prepared to share their own experience and imperfections with you…it helps you think “…well, if they can achieve despite experiencing some difficulties then I can as well.”

It may also open your mind to trying things that can help you relax and get physically and mentally more able to face whatever challenges come your way, so that when you step back into the workplace you have a chance to make each day just that bit better...and this brings me a to a key point about the philosophy of VET Festival....

The wellness stream didn’t just stop at the tents. Just as the rain held off, the wellness theme flowed out of the tent, down to the wellness hub where you could take time out for some yin yoga, meditation and message and gently lapped over the whole event. The food on offer was both tasty and nutritious, whether you were a carnivore, vegan or somebody obliged to eat gluten free. There was plenty of laughter and fun stuff to do and all that fun and laughter releases endorphins which made it easy to be in a receptive state of mind to absorb the excellent clinical streams.

When an event like that is so relaxing and such fun it’s easier to carry the smiles and the learning back into the workplace and find a way to whistle while you work.

To sum up what I love most about Vet Festival, it is that they walk the talk. And last weekend we all danced a bit of it as well. ☺

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