Relief vets are a unique group. Our entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, emotional investments, and dedicated natures can contribute to both our successes and our struggles with work-life balance.

Being a relief veterinarian gives me the strength to navigate burnout and compassion fatigue. It helps me rediscover the joy of veterinary medicine.

So, from one pioneer to another, let me ask you this:

Who are you?

Did you answer “a veterinarian”? If so, that’s awesome, but let’s dig a bit deeper. I’ll show you with my answers.


Who am I?

I am someone who sets my limits so that I can have enough energy to climb 3,000 feet on my mountain bike. That’s where I seek the rush of adrenaline bombing back down the mountainside.

I am someone who, before I sat down at this computer, set myself a time limit.

I am someone who asks to be paid what I’m worth. That way, I have the time and finances to build singletrack trails, develop my sawyer skills, and contribute to my community.

I am someone who my community honored as a Volunteer of the Year. I like that identity.

I am someone who gives myself long weekends so that I can assist with the avalanche education programs.

I am someone thankful for my random weekdays off. I have the freedom to enjoy deserted midweek trailheads and solo bike rides.

I am someone who asks for discounts, deals, and barters so that I can afford to visit friends and family in the various corners of the world for multiple weeks at a time.

I am someone who (tries to) limit my engagement with people who ask for my professional advice in my free time. That way when I’m on the clock, I have the energy my patients deserve.

I am someone who sets boundaries so that I can knock things off my growing bucket list. 

So I ask you again, “who are you”? And I offer up a challenge.



Relief vet challenge:

Make a commitment to yourself today. Sit down with the following questions and take at least 15 minutes to answer all of them.

Who am I?
What am I fighting for?
What brings me joy?
What gives me satisfaction?
What gives me strength?
Who are the people in my life that encourage my joy?

To me, happiness means finding a realistic and attainable balance between responsibilities to yourself and to the world. The first step is identifying who you are.


Ready to go deeper?

Get a huge discount on Fear Free, including “Fear Free for Humans.”

October is Mental Health Awareness Month! Fear Free is celebrating by teaching us how to create fear free environments for humans — including ourselves. Ever wonder if there’s a connection between perfectionism and vet med? Or whether or not it’s appropriate to be vulnerable in the workplace? The course covers all that and more, including tips on communicating clearly and setting expectations that are respected by others.

The course is for Fear Free members only. If you’re not a member yet or if you’re up for renewal, remember that Relief Rover members get a huge discount on Fear Free membership.

Sign in to your Relief Rover dashboard and click “perks” to claim your discount today!