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Warning! Be alert for the dreaded ‘End of Year Fatigue Syndrome’ in your veterinary team

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Dec 6th 2018 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
Warning Be Alert For The Dreaded End Of Year Fatigue Syndrome In Your Veterinary Team

Are your veterinary team members tired, grumpy & looking a bit wild-eyed? This may be the reason....   

(I've published a version of this post each year as things start looking a little hectic as Christmas is approaching!) 

So let's start with symptoms

Have you noticed any signs of fatigue, grumpiness, stress or a strange wild-eyed look in the eyes of any of your staff? If the staff in question also have children then they may already be suffering from the dreaded  ‘end of year fatigue syndrome’ - a strange annually recurring condition that often appears from late November right through to December.

Now for the causes

Depending on where you are in Australia, the school year is almost finished or it may be a few weeks away from finishing but often the final two weeks of the term can turn into a challenging, energy-sapping marathon of:

  • end of year class parties that require party food to be prepared and taken to school;
  • end of year concerts at school with additional rehearsal time, not to mention costumes;
  • shopping for packs of Christmas cards and the accompanying 'candy canes';
  • awards nights;
  • final school music concerts;
  • shopping for gifts for class ‘Secret Santas’ (& sometimes multiple treats up until the actual gift giving);
  • shopping for another gift to give to younger school ‘buddies’;
  • end of year ballet concerts that require weeks of additional weekend rehearsals, on-stage rehearsals and extra hours devoted to hair and make-up;
  • end of year breakups for cubs, scouts, etc;
  • shopping for gifts to thank class teachers & music teachers.

This list is just the start and doesn’t include family Christmas shopping, work parties, etc.

As a manager - what can you do?

Firstly you need to recognise that there is little you can do to stem the tide of the ‘end of year fatigue syndrome’, but there are some things you can do to make it more bearable for all involved:

Be flexible

Children always want their parents to attend their concerts, and getting them to extra rehearsals can also mean coming and going at some strange times so it would be a huge help if there was some flexibility in work times around this time of the year.

Be understanding

It’s hard enough juggling work and family life at the best of times but at the end of the year, this stress can be tenfold. Children, not to mention parents, can start getting tired, niggly and more demanding. Small dramas at work suddenly become magnified and low energy levels also mean stress is harder to deal with. 

It would help all concerned if when times start to get tense – everyone stopped to take a deep breath.  It would help even more if someone then went to buy a box of doughnuts.

Remember.. it won’t last forever

Although intense,  these multiple events usually happen within a very short period of time so after about two weeks it should all be over – if we all last that long.

So, as long as everyone remembers to keep breathing and as a manager you take on the role of administering doughnuts as required your team should survive the ‘end of year fatigue syndrome’ for another year.

Then, of course, comes school holidays ......and that’s another story altogether!

So what are your challenges at this time of the year? What have I forgotten? Tell us in the comments section below.


Gillian Shippen @ Dec 1st 2017 8:06am
Thank you - yes every year at this time I can't wait for the break I get between Christmas & New Year. It just cannot come quick enough

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