Spotlight On: Sarah Proctor

September 6, 2013


Sarah Proctor

Program Director of Veterinary Technology
Veterinary Technology at the Thompson School

Year Started at UNH: 2007

What does health mean to you?: It means being able to do what I want without limitations. The older I get, the more I realize the importance of my health. If I want to keep doing what I like, for as long as possible, I have to stay healthy.

What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: I encourage my students to stay active, to walk rather than take the bus, etc. I also teach my students about mental and emotional health. In a high stress career like veterinary medicine, we are very prone to substance abuse, burn out and compassion fatigue. Last year, I participated in the Employee Fitness Program. I also participate in the Healthy Returns program and the Harvard Pilgrim Wellness Connection.

How do you stay fit?: I play soccer 1-2 times per week. I play tennis 1-2 times per week. My women’s tennis team just won the New England Championship and will be representing New England at the National Championship in October! At times I kayak downhill and cross-country ski, do yoga, hike, and bicycle. I also park at the back of parking lots and take the stairs two at a time.

Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: Think about why you’re eating something before you eat it. I often find that if I just think about eating the peanut butter cup, and how short-lived the pleasure will be, I can skip it completely. I switched water for soda and juice; after about a month I didn't really even like soda and juice – they were too sweet! Now if I have juice, I have to dilute it with water to make it tolerable.

How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: I remember the time when I was not so healthy. I couldn't touch my toes, and would get winded just climbing a set of stairs. I remember how painful it was to get from that state back to fitness. It’s much easier to stay fit than to get fit.

Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: Yes! As a practicing vet I allowed myself to lose fitness and did not take care of myself mentally. I burned out and left the practice. Now I have learned better stress management through exercise (particularly yoga), and have a healthier outlook on work and stress. I do not allow work to take over and push personal and fitness time to the side.

Anything else you would like to add?: Just like taking a class, you won’t succeed at becoming healthy unless you have some motivation to do so. You have to find a personally compelling reason to do it or it just won’t work. But once you get there, it’s so worth it!!

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