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Looking after your mental health
Mental health charity Vetlife has put together comprehensive guidance on managing mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidance from veterinary mental health charity, Vetlife

In light of the government's advice on social distancing, mental health charity Vetlife has put together comprehensive guidance concerning the impact on mental health for the veterinary profession during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Here we have pulled out some of the charity's key information and advice. For the full document, and advice for those already struggling with their mental health, please click here.

Information overload

While it is important to stay up-to-date with the evolving situation, Vetlife recommends that people only look for information updates at specific times of the day. Watching, listening or reading news once or twice a day from a trusted source will limit how much information you are exposed to and can prevent feelings of anxiety and distress.

An individual's control of the current situation is very limited, and therefore overexposure to news can only increase worry and may even enable the spread of misinformation.

Maintaining connections
Self-isolation, social distancing and quarantine rules mean that we may now have very limited contact with our friends and family during this time. However, being able to still contact our loved ones during this pandemic is crucial for our mental well-being.

Vetlife suggests trying to maintain and structure in regular social contact using social media, video calls or telephone. Indeed, many families are now hosting virtual birthday parties or online pub quizzes!

While self-isolation can make you feel withdrawn and less likely to want to reach out to others, you must do so, even if it does feel very difficult.

A sense of routine
If you've suddenly found yourself working from home, you might be feeling a little lost - especially if you are now also looking after children or vulnerable people who may also be self-isolating.

Keeping to usual timings can help you to cope with this sudden change and maintain a sense of normality. For example, going to bed and getting up at the usual time and eating when you would normally do so.

Increasing the amount of contact you have with friends and family by phone or telephone can also be a massive help during this difficult time.

Look after yourself

Sleep and rest are vital for our mental health and, under this increasing pressure, they are more important than ever.

As caring professionals, you might naturally turn to look after others before you care for yourself. But you must take some time out for yourself to rest, sleep, eat regular meals and stay hydrated.

Vetlife recommends prioritising rest days and breaks where you can. More advice about sleep can be found at https://ep.bmj.com/content/102/3/127

What can you control?
Vetlife states that you should identify aspects of your life and work which you can control and maintain these. During times of adversity, having a sense of control is important, even if it is only over very small things.

For more help and advice, the Vetlife Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for confidential support. To contact Vetlife, please call 0303 040 2551 or click here to send an anonymous email.

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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News Shorts
BSAVA rolls out CPD resources and benefits in absence of Congress

A package of CPD resources and benefits are set to be rolled out on BSAVA's social media channels over the coming days in a bid to fill the gap left by the cancellation of BSAVA Congress.

The package includes a 10 discount voucher on all printed manuals and access to the BSAVA Library. BSAVA said that it will also be recording more than 100 hours of planned Congress lectures over the following weeks so that vets don't completely miss out on the Congress experience.

The resource, titled Congress on Demand will be ready in early May.