Wellness Newsletter
AzVMA Wellness Works ~ Cultivating Resilience & Happiness
April 2020 | Issue 2
AzVMA Cares
AzVMA is committed to the well-being of all of its members in our veterinary community. While caring for patients and clients, it is vital to remember to care for yourself. This newsletter will provide ideas and resources to help and inspire.
Remember, we are all in this together!
Monthly Holidays & Themes
National Humor Month
  • During these stressful times, a little humor goes a long way.
  • When is the last time you had a good laugh?
  • Consider watching comedy movies or funny sitcoms this month.
  • Share funny memes and jokes with your team, family and friends.
  • Watch a "Don't Laugh Challenge".
Stress Awareness Month
  • During these unprecedented times due to COVID-19 stress levels are heightened for many. 
  • Here are some ways to help manage stress - AVMA Stress Management Checklist.
  • Make a list of things that cause stress in your life. Cross off the items that are within your control. Work on developing healthy coping skills for the items that are out of your control.
  • Try some stress reduction techniques listed below.
Be Well
Healthy Snacks
Eating fruit on a regular basis can boost health.

Ways to add fruit into your diet:
  • banana & peanut butter sandwich
  • fruit smoothies
  • blueberry pancakes
  • apple slices with cinnamon
  • dried fruit & nut trail mix
  • glass of orange juice

TIP : The American Heart Association recommends having 4 servings of fruit per day. Learn more about serving sizes at heart.org .

Did you know? Not all fruit is created equally. Learn about the healthier fruit options in this month's wellness newsletter.
Healthy Teams
Post a Joke Activity

As a team conduct a joke hunt. Have each member share their joke or post them in the break room for those who need a little laughter to improve their day or lift their spirits.

Jokes To Get You Started :
  • What did the hungry Dalmation say when he had some kibble?That hit the spot!
  • Why do cats always get their way? They are very purr-suasive!
  • What did the skeleton say to the puppy? Bone Appétit!

Did you know? There are many physical and mental benefits to laughing.
Stay Informed & Maintain Your Wellbeing
  • Stay informed of coronavirus updates by vising AzVMA's COVID-19 page.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, day-to-day life might look a lot different from the usual. AVMA has compiled tips to help protect & maintain your wellbeing: COVID-19 & Wellbeing.
Stress Management Techniques
Here are 6 relaxation techniques that can help you evoke a relaxation response and reduce stress.

1 - Breath Focus
In this simple, powerful technique, you take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing). As you breathe, you gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations. Breath focus can be especially helpful for people with eating disorders to help them focus on their bodies in a more positive way. However, this technique may not be appropriate for those with health problems that make breathing difficult, such as respiratory ailments or heart failure.

2 - Body Scan
This technique blends breath focus with progressive muscle relaxation. After a few minutes of deep breathing, you focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time and mentally releasing any physical tension you feel there. A body scan can help boost your awareness of the mind-body connection. If you have had a recent surgery that affects your body image or other difficulties with body image, this technique may be less helpful for you.

3 - Guided Imagery
For this technique, you conjure up soothing scenes, places, or experiences in your mind to help you relax and focus. You can find free apps and online recordings of calming scenes—just make sure to choose imagery you find soothing and that has personal significance. Guided imagery may help you reinforce a positive vision of yourself, but it can be difficult for those who have intrusive thoughts or find it hard to conjure up mental images.

4 - Mindfulness Meditation
This practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your mind's attention to the present moment without drifting into concerns about the past or the future. This form of meditation has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. Research suggests it may be helpful for people with anxiety, depression, and pain.

5 - Yoga, Tai Chi & Qigong
These three ancient arts combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures or flowing movements. The physical aspects of these practices offer a mental focus that can help distract you from racing thoughts. They can also enhance your flexibility and balance. But if you are not normally active, have health problems, or a painful or disabling condition, these relaxation techniques might be too challenging. Check with your doctor before starting them.

6 - Repetitive Prayer or Phrase
For this technique, you silently repeat a short prayer or phrase while practicing breath focus. This method may be especially appealing if religion or spirituality is meaningful to you.

TIP : Rather than choosing just one technique, experts recommend sampling several to see which one works best for you. Try to practice for at least 20 minutes a day, although even just a few minutes can help. But the longer and the more often you practice these relaxation techniques, the greater the benefits and the more you can reduce stress.

Benefits of Laughing
"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine." - Lord Byron
A Story to Make You Smile
On February 12, 2020, Chitetsu Watanabe from Niigata, Japan, was officially confirmed as the oldest person living (male) at 112 years 344 days.

He says the secret to a long life is "not to get angry and keep a smile on your face".

Source: Guinness World Records
We can all take a lesson from Mr. Watanabe
by spreading cheer one smile at a time!
Quotes to Inspire
Source: Good Housekeeping
10 of the Healthiest Fruits on the Planet
  • Grapefruit is highly nutritious. Eating it may reduce insulin resistance, cholesterol and help prevent kidney stones. Grapefruit may also be useful for weight loss.

  • Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and manganese. Its bromelain content may fight inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer.

  • Avocados are rich in healthy fats and potassium, both of which are well known for their role in promoting heart health.

  • Blueberries are rich in a few important nutrients. They have a high antioxidant capacity and immune-enhancing properties, which may protect the body from illness.

  • Apples are very nutritious. Their nutrients, antioxidants and fiber may reduce the risk of disease and improve digestion.
  • Pomegranates have wide-ranging health benefits. They are incredibly high in antioxidants and other plant compounds that can help reduce inflammation and prevent disease.

  • Mangos contain vitamin C and soluble fiber. They also contain plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Strawberries are rich in several nutrients and antioxidants. Eating them may help control your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of some diseases.

  • Cranberries are rich in several nutrients and antioxidants. They also contain beneficial plant compounds that help prevent urinary tract infections.

  • Lemons are rich in vitamin C and other plant compounds that may promote heart health, boost weight loss and help prevent kidney stones.
Source: Healthline
Social Distancing BINGO
Practicing social distancing?
Try filling some of your extra time by playing a round of bingo.
Essay Recap
Welcome to Holland
By: Emily Perl Kingsley
Thoughts about the Current Coronavirus Pandemic

Before the pandemic, life had enough challenges. There were the “normal” stresses of family, finances, health and career. There were also the “normal” pleasures, such as going to a restaurant or a movie. Plus, there were our plans- short term and long term, some definite and some tentative. There were weddings, new homes, vacation, and travel plans. There were businesses to build, children to educate, and retirement to fund. Now that the pandemic has arrived all of those issues and plans will inevitably be affected. Dreams, homes, livelihoods and even loved ones may be in danger, and may even be lost. So how do we navigate this new reality?

There is a famous essay called “Welcome to Holland”, written by Emily Perl Kingsley. She wrote it when her baby was born with Down syndrome, but it really is a metaphor for any permanently altered dream. The essay describes being on a flight to Italy, with all the expectations of the wonders of that country. But when the plane lands it turns out it has arrived in Holland, and that destination will be permanent. Her point is that if the focus is only on what should have been, the pleasures of what actually is will be missed.

Hopefully the pandemic spares us major disruption to our lives, but what if it does not? It is one thing to say “just accept Holland and learn to enjoy it”, but it is entirely another to really do so. Doing so is hard . Still, understanding the principle and adopting the mindset in advance can contribute greatly to resilience if one must persevere in the face of personal or financial loss.

Regarding resilience, we tend to think of it as “bouncing back” after a challenge. But actually we should think of it as bouncing beyond where we were when we started. Steel is tempered in the fire, and the same is true for ourselves.

We can do this, for ourselves and for a world that needs us.

Summary by: Marilyn Millman, DVM
Wellness Resources
Build Your Toolkit
AzVMA has compiled resources to help you build your wellness toolkit in an effort to provide you with a pathway to nurture your well-being.
Wellness Facebook Group
You're invited to join the private Facebook group Live Well, Vet Well. This online community is for veterinarians and staff to support one another, with tips on living a balanced life and self-care ideas.
Assistance Hotlines
Online there is list of crisis hotlines and health service networks available for those in need. Included is a listing of health professionals who have indicated that they work with veterinarians and veterinary-related issues.