Forums » Wellness Wisdom

Top 5 Reasons To Register for a Veterinary Wellness Retreat

  • December 13, 2017 7:02 PM EST

    Most veterinary care providers know the statistics regarding burnout, compassion fatigue, psychological distress, and suicide in the veterinary profession.  If not, read Five Things You Didn’t Know About the Mental Health of Veterinarians and you might be surprised at what you learn.  It is clear that What They Don’t Teach You in Vet School can really takes its toll on veterinary team members…

    Veterinary Wellness Workshops & Retreats are for veterinarians, technicians, and other veterinary team members who would like to spend a weekend focused on well-being in order to gain the knowledge and skills needed to foster resilience and enhance wellness at work and home.  These are the top five reasons why veterinary team members should attend one of these weekends:

    1. Beautiful Canadian Mountain Location: The weekends are spent at resorts in beautiful Canadian mountain locations.  If you have never had the opportunity to visit the Canadian Rocky Mountains, now is the time to do so!  The scenery is breathtaking, the accommodations outstanding, and being in nature is one of the best ways for a person to re-center and disconnect from everyday life.  And for Americans that want an excuse to visit their northern neighbors, this is a perfect excuse to take advantage of the strong USD to CDN conversion rate ($1 USD = $1.28 CDN)!
    2. 8-Hours of Continuing Education: Lectures take place on each of the 3 days and encompass topics related to veterinary wellness.  The theme of the first day is “Why Are We Here?” and includes lectures pertaining to the mental health of veterinary care providers, burnout, compassion fatigue, and perfectionism.  The second day’s theme is “What is Wellness?” and includes a discussion of the wellness dimensions, a self-care assessment, and ways to sustain a healthy mind platter and maintain sleep hygiene.  Time is also spent discussing the science behind mindfulness and meditation including the physical and mental health benefits.  “How Can We Enhance Wellness Every Day?” is the theme of the third day and those lectures explain the tools needed to foster wellness routinely including setting boundaries, saying no, and mitigating perfectionism.    
    3. Putting Wellness Tools into Practice: In addition to the lectures provided, time is spent practicing wellness tools and self-care techniques.  Attendees are also given the chance to practice mindfulness during guided meditations, a mindful nature walk (or snowshoe in the winter!), and a mindful eating exercise, as well as daily yoga practices accessible to all levels (even new yogis).  These experiences give attendees a sense for how these tools might fit into their everyday lives.  
    4. Practical Self-Care Skills That Can Be Implemented Immediately: Exercises are completed each day including a Professional Quality of Life and self-care assessment, so that attendees can gain a sense of where they are starting from.  Then on the last day, everyone comes away with a self-care plan including steps to implement the self-care skills that were learned during the weekend.  Ways to overcome the hurdles that stop us from tending to our self-care are also addressed, so that the goals can be maintained after the weekend is complete.   
    5. Outstanding Testimonials from Attendees: The responses from the attendees have been tremendously positive and all attendees surveyed have said they would be extremely likely to recommend the weekend to a friend!  Some testimonials include:

    “This weekend was incredibly enlightening for me. Overall, the opportunity to understand self-care, its importance, and the development of a practical self-care plan was truly invaluable.”

    “I found this retreat amazing and eye opening.  It was based in science, which is important to me.  It opened my eyes to all the different areas of wellness I have been completely ignoring in my life, as well as providing some really easy ways to work on them.  I can’t say enough good things about this retreat.”

    “I’m so glad this course is available now, and wish I could have taken it when I graduated 29 years ago. It's never too late though, and I really benefitted from attending the wellness retreat.” 

    “I could not think of a more perfect weekend in a more beautiful setting while being immersed in wellness and self-care! This was a perfect balance of both mental and physical activities, which helped develop tools that I will use both as a veterinarian and in day-to-day life.”

    Registration is now open for the Veterinary Wellness Workshop & Retreat in Lake Louise, AB (February 23-25, 2018) and Veterinary Wellness Workshop & Retreat in Banff, AB (April 27-29, 2018).  Register now as space is limited to 12 attendees per weekend and registration closes one month before each event!  For questions, please email:

    Marie K. Holowaychuk, DVM, DACVECC is a small animal emergency and critical care specialist and certified yoga and meditation teacher who also has an invested interest in the health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals.  She organizes Veterinary Wellness Workshops & Retreats for veterinarians, technicians, and other veterinary care providers.  To sign up for monthly newsletters containing information regarding these events and veterinary wellness topics, please click here.  More information can be found at