Holidays 2020 Lower Holiday Expectations

October 14, 2020

2020 Holidays; Building your Reserves, Lower Expectations to Cope with the Season

I was in Lowe’s the other day, the first half of October, viewing the largest stock of Holiday decorations, artificial trees, and ornaments I have ever seen. At the Hardware Store!

Then I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte when the Barista was eager (yet whispering), “We are rolling out a Grand Holiday launch the first of November, but you didn’t hear it from me.”

I wonder, are these businesses hyping the consumer up because of the tumultuous year we have had?

That thought, “Holiday Hype,” reminded me that Walmart will not open on Thanksgiving.

Research revealed others are considering the same idea, “Will Black Friday be canceled?” Which lead me to learn more about the financial wellbeing and oddly different stressors veterinary teams will be facing this Holiday Season.

If you know me at all, I focus on “Name it to TAME it,” and this will apply to this Blog as well.

I admire Matt Salois’ engagement and transparency. I follow him on LinkedIn. He is the AVMA’s Chief Economist. Since he was seated in the position, he has showered the veterinary community with relevant, well-written articles.

Matt’s article, A New Normal: Managing the ups and downs of Covid-19 recovery, unveiled a few staggering revelations.

An Uptick in Business

“Currently, average practice revenue is up 15% to 25% year over year, depending on location,” which has its own pros and cons. Salois shares optimism for the future and strongly suggests saving for Rainy Days. Take stock and anticipate a lull.


“Many families still face precarious economic situations and unemployment is high,” Salois states.

Made me ask, “How high?” Nevada has the lowest unemployment rate at 4.0 as of September 18th. While Nevada had the highest at 13.2. Even though veterinary team members are essential, family members may be unemployed. The overshadowing viral uncertainty is layered with economic uncertainty. Families and teams may be served well by building reserves.   

Veterinary Wellbeing

More than likely you are feeling the added stress COVID has placed on you, your family, team, and community. Because of the increase in caseload, teaching children from home and the perils related to childcare, veterinary teams are hit hard. Increased burnout, stress, and fatigue (to include and beyond compassion fatigue) are real.

In all honesty, your clients are feeling the same way, stressed and fatigued. Empathy is a powerful force which may be a restorative grace to tap into for your sake and the sake of your clients.

Alright, that was Naming It. Now to TAME it!

Take stock-embrace gratitude

Taking stock means objectively considering your inventory, abundance and riches. Assessing all that you DO HAVE and being GRATEFUL. Adding up your inventory includes your home, employment, and cherished relationships. To be abundant includes your health and the love you experience. Love from your family and friends. Riches refers to the feel of treasures in handcrafted gifts, the warmth of your heavy comforter on your bed, and the taste of mindful eating. Embrace gratitude.

Build reserves-lower expectations

Initially, the idea of high unemployment throughout the United States made me think of the number of veterinary team members with less than adequate savings or liquid assets. The Federal Reserve notes that 39% of all Americans do not have enough cash savings to cover a $400.00 emergency. I imagine a large percentage of our veterinary team members fall into that category. For the long haul, focus on building a nest egg. For the Holiday Season, make a conscious effort to lower expectations in 2020.

This is not a new concept shared with managers and veterinary teams. During past Holiday Stressor & Relievers Workshops, lowering expectations was a dominating theme and often met with resistance. A HEALHTY approach to managing the stress for the upcoming months may reside in lowering expectations. This looks like establishing a smaller gift budget and sticking to it. This may include less expensive food or dinner parties (social distancing will help with this). It may mean making and exchanging heartfelt, homemade gifts. I personally feel this will create a wonderful experience for those that can find it in their heart to do so. I LOVE handmade, home-baked gifts!

Empathy is a powerful force– welcome connections

Seeking first to understand then to be understood is a great habit to adopt. This includes empathy and welcoming connections between clients and team members. As stated earlier, there are commonalities in stress, uncertainty and anxiety experienced during the Holidays. Or any day for that matter. We see the harsh volley of words relayed when veterinary team members express the level of rudeness (perceived or real) they feel berated with. Now may be the time to dig deep into the acceptance bucket, evaluate the building of connections beyond the superficial betrayal in rudeness. Empathy is powerful when someone relates to the anxiety and uncertainty others are feeling.

With a big sigh for what the future may hold, through my Rose-colored glasses, I am hopeful! I see the greatest opportunities are yet to be realized.

My sights are on the future when we can meet at conventions or retreats, reminiscing on the hardships and advancements the veterinary community has made. Please draw on your gratitude, ability to adapt and connectedness, even lowering your expectations to make this Holiday positively memorable. Build your reserves to cope with the Holidays.

Cheers, Rebecca Rose, CVT

Certified Career Coach



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A New Normal: Managing the ups and downs of Covid-19 recovery