How Veterinary Professionals Can Find Joy - Vet Relief Staffing | Veterinary System Services

How Veterinary Professionals Can Find Joy

Everyone has one of those friends or colleagues who is generally optimistic and joyful. I’m sure you’re wondering why the heck she’s always happy and how it’s even sustainable. Maybe you’re annoyed by those kinds of people but secretly wish you could experience a little more joy in your own life. Well, I have good news for you: Finding joy isn’t as hard as it looks.

What is joy spotting?

I achieve my peak happiness level daily by taking a few moments to practice “joy spotting.”  Even when things seem terrible, I can always find a silver lining that provides a joyful spark. So, what exactly is joy spotting? It can be anything, and it’s as simple as changing your way of thinking! I’ve found smiley faces in fecals, hearts in blood films, and I’m a firm believer that puppy breath is the best smell in the world. Bring on the puppy kisses! It’s up to you to decide what sends your heart aflutter and makes you appreciate what you have. For me, joy spotting usually involves distracting myself from the world. I can do this a thousand different ways, but some common ways include:

  • Looking at something beautiful
  • Noticing something I’ve ever noticed before
  • Doing something I love
  • Checking things off my to-do list

Spotting joy isn’t difficult: It’s all about perspective.

Can anyone find joy?

The true and pure form of joy spotting isn’t for everyone. But, I’m willing to bet that even the non-believers are subconsciously already doing some form of joy spotting.  Deep down inside we all want to be happy, and as humans we tend to hoard things that bring us joy. This is why Marie Kondo and her tidying methods have been so successful in America. She makes us boil down what it really means to find joy in objects and our lives. She teaches us that it’s not only objects, but sometimes the absence of being cluttered by these objects that can bring us joy.  Changing your way of thinking can bring so much happiness to your life and will absolutely cause a ripple effect within your circle of friends. The more you share joy, the more it grows.

Why veterinary professionals need to find joy

Almost every day as veterinary professionals we experience sadness, whether it’s losing a patient, encountering animal neglect or abuse, or dealing with a pet owner who is unable to afford care for her pet. The stressors of this job can take a toll on us quickly. We are rarely given the time to practice self-care.

And, the stresses we face aren’t going to change any time soon. Our jobs are tough. They can be depressing. Taking the time to find joy in the worst of situations makes you more resilient as a human being and as a veterinary professional. The best part is, it’s free and takes almost no time at all! I don’t know about you, but puppy kisses and finding fun shapes in fecals and blood smears makes it all worth it.

Joy is frequently associated with childlike behavior, but why must we lose our curiosity and wonder as we age? If we abandon curiosity, life becomes a boring ride. If we recognize that everyday has the potential to be a totally new experience, this openness to new experiences becomes a framework for continual discovery and rediscovery. It’s also important to realize that, with life, everything has its peaks and valleys. I’ve recently experienced some valleys in my life, but I’ve found that joy is replaced by comfort to help us get through the hard times. Comfort quickly turns into joy, and before you know it, you’re smiling and standing on the peak once again.

Do yourself—and everyone around you—a favor: Really take the time to discover what simple things bring you joy and how you can help bring joy to someone else. By doing this, you’ll feel happier, less stressed, and more fulfilled every day. So, let’s choose joy!

For additional resources, or if you’re looking for inspiration, visit Ingrid Fetell Lee’s website. Have pictures from your personal joy spotting you’d like to share? Share them in the comments! We’d love to see what little things bring you joy every day!



April Willhide is an account manager for VSS, a Certified Veterinary Technician, and an army veteran.  She enjoys mountain living, beekeeping, and making everyone laugh. Her professional goals include making Veterinary Medicine better for everyone and being a great leader.