Stacey Blease, veterinary surgeon and writer shares her methods and tips for practising self-care.
What does self-care mean to you?
I perceive self-care to be doing things that help you to relax, feel more positive and energised.
How do you practice self-care?
For me, lots of things can contribute to self-care for example: exercise, eating well, ensuring I have a good night’s sleep, laughing is important so spending time with or speaking to family and friends helps! I think it’s important to be curious and learn new things. I have completed some courses using Future Learn on human medicine and psychology. I’m lucky to have a dog and walking her helps me to relax. I sometimes sit in the garden and listen to the birds and if it’s raining, I like to watch heavy rainfall. Taking time to observe nature can also help me to relax. Participating in voluntary work also helps me to feel more positive about myself.
What are your tell-tale signs that you need to take care of yourself?
I think my first tell-tale sign is no longer enjoying music. If I stop singing in the car or dancing around the kitchen, it’s usually a sign of being anxious and distracted from the things I usually enjoy.
What do you do when you need a pick me up?
When I need a pick me up, I usually turn to exercise but I make sure that if I go for a run or bike ride, I don’t time myself, record the distance, speed or any other metrics! I speak to friends and family. Spend time with my dog either walking or snuggled together on the sofa. If after a couple of days, I feel like I haven’t been able to pick myself up, at the end of each day I write down three positive things about the day. It helps me to focus on the positives when I’m feeling overwhelmed with negative thoughts and feelings. I also plan fun things for the next couple of months and make a conscious effort to have events coming up to look forward to like meeting up with friends for lunch/dinner, walking in the countryside, signing up to a sporting event, a short break/holiday or a fun activity like an escape room, water activity or horse riding.
What are your wellbeing words of wisdom?
Don’t be afraid to talk about how you are really feeling. It can be hard to open up but I have found that talking about my thoughts and feelings has been really helpful to me but also my friends and family because conversations about mental health have become much easier to initiate. Avoid making life decisions whilst you are sleep deprived. Be kind!
What’s your favourite inspirational quote?
Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou
After graduating from the University of Liverpool Vet School with an intercalated master’s degree from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, I worked in practice. In 2011, I decided to undertake a PhD at Harper Adams University focusing on dairy herd health planning and management. During my PhD, I became passionate about knowledge transfer through lecturing to undergraduate students and providing workshops for dairy farmers. After completing my PhD, I worked at The Webinar Vet. Currently, I spend time in a very supportive practice and I am also a trustee for the Animal Welfare Foundation, a charity which funds animal welfare projects, provides educational materials and stimulates debates on animal welfare concerns. In 2018, I started a blog website called Vet Thinking Aloud.