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Platinum CPD introduces 100 days of happy

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Sep 16th 2021 - By Cordene Midgley, Platinum CPD
Platinum Cpd Introduces 100 Days Of Happy 2

The search for a few easy tips & tricks to help make yourself a happier veterinary professional.

I consider myself a happy person. I have high energy levels, a positive outlook on life and generally can find the good in every situation. I mean, people often laugh when I said that I did my master’s research in happiness, so theoretically I should be the person who knows something about the topic.

I used to have this absolute desire to crack the code to happiness, needless to say, I am a person who likes control, structure and did not thrive in ambiguity. Quantifying happiness (the fluffiest subject out there) and creating a model that I could implement to ‘live a happy life’ seemed like a noble cause to commit to. In a lab environment, without any external influences, I am pretty sure that it would have worked. But let’s be clear – life does not quite work that way… So here is the humbler approach to the pursuit of happiness.

Background

I grew up in the veterinary industry. I am a qualified veterinary nurse (who was married to a vet), my dad is a vet, and my sister is a vet nurse (who was married to a vet). I worked as a nurse in private practice and in industry for 6.5 years. It is safe to say that I have a passion for the veterinary industry and seeing those closest to me suffer inspired me to determine the root causes of veterinary unhappiness. I no longer work in the industry, but I know that it will always be part of who I am!

The problem

When people discuss mental health in the veterinary industry, you get showered with words like suicide, depression, increase in mental health illnesses, lower mental well-being, excessive workload, long hours (and I can go on). But what bothered me was that all these topics discussed mental health from a negative approach. I wanted to figure out what happiness is – and whether there are a few easy tips and tricks that you can implement to make yourself a happier veterinary professional. Kind of take the approach of preventative healthcare and apply it to veterinary well-being. Why should we wait until we suffer before we ask for help, if we can implement elements in our daily lives that can help us thrive? It is time to go from surviving to thriving. Some of what I will share, will be based on research and other insights from experience since.

Habits

There has been a lot of debate on how long it truly takes to change habits. Researchers used to think that it takes about 21 days, but more recently it was shown that it takes between 18 and 254 days for a new behavioural pattern to stick (How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world). As such, a 21-day challenge will not be sufficient, if we want to help you make happiness your new habit. Now, let’s not get carried away and ask you to commit to a happy year, so here is to getting it started for 100 days.

Setting you up for success

One of my pet peeves is unrealistic goal setting. When you set unrealistic targets, you are actually setting yourself up for failure and the chances of you getting despondent and quitting is rather high. Thus, the challenge is quite simple (but don’t be fooled, it will take some work)!

1 thing for your body

It is no secret that exercise releases endorphins, regulates moods, relieves stress, decrease anxiety, improves memory and helps you sleep better. It has a profound positive impact on lifting moods of people who struggle with depression. But here is the thing, if before the 100 days, you did not exercise often, don’t plan a 1 hour workout per day for 100 days. Just do 1 thing a day for your body. Set a goal that you can stick to. I was relatively fit (I did CrossFit 3-5 times per week) but since I had covid, my fitness levels severely decreased, and I have only been able to manage 2 cardio workouts since June! So, part of my plan is to follow the couch to 5k running plan to help me get my cardio fitness up.

1 thing for your soul

I started guided meditations in May this year. I read in Eat.Pray.Love that communicating with your higher power is a two-way street: talking and listening. So, if praying is talking and meditating is listening… anyone who knows me would be able to take a wild guess as to which one I’m good at. So, how do you quieten your mind and stop the hamsters on the wheel from constantly running?

My first guided meditation, which I can admit, I did every day for almost 2 months is The 6 Phase Guided Meditation by Vishen Lakhiani. I since discovered Insight Timer app and there are thousands of free meditations on there. Whatever is good for your soul, do something every day to improve your spiritual health. Pray, meditate, read, breathe, hang out with your pet – just do something that feeds your soul and reminds you of your purpose.

1 thing that makes you happy

This is a funny one as it differs from person to person. My first day I bought myself an orchid and had my hair cut. Both things made me happy. This can be listening to your favourite song, going for a walk, watching the sunset, opening your favourite bottle of wine, cooking a great meal, spending time with family and friends, playing with a puppy, painting, sewing or learning a new skill. Literally absolutely anything. Just do something that will put a smile on your face.

Why stop there?

If you want to add any personal goals to this list, please do! Make the challenge your own. This is merely a guideline and should be something that you do for yourself! I want to drink 2 liters of water a day and do 1 handstand push-up by the end of my 100 days. Yes, I got a coach to help me in this endeavor and will update on my progress – here is to falling a few more times! If you have a personal goal, make that part of your 100 days and let the Platinum CPD community support you along your journey!

Unfortunately, I have to admit upfront that I am no expert in happiness – “cautiously optimistic” may probably a better term to describe me. I studied veterinary happiness for a long time and I will share with you everything I can over the few weeks, but ultimately, it is up to you to find out what makes you happy – and do that often! The 100 days of happy is an attempt to make happiness a new habit.

This post was originally published on the Platinum CPD Blog: 100 days of happy

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