A Groomer(s Guide to Managing Stress and Preventing B ur nout
By Dr. Boyd Harrell
The fast paced society we live in today may be great for mobility and connectivity and it is a stress
producing machine. Although past generations have not enjoyed the conveniences available to us, we in
turn may be missing the close family structure, the quiet time and contact with nature that was once a part
of everyday life. The result is an environment that can be very stressful. I repeat, the environment CAN be
very stressful and the degree of stress experienced in a large part depends on how we react to it. Have you
ever noticed how there may be several people in the same office, workplace or home that are affected to
different degrees by what is happening around them? They may all be exposed to the same situations and
yet see things and react to things differently. That is because they perceive situations and react to
situations differently and this is the key to stress management – Changing how we perceive situations and
how we choose to react to them.
Stress is that feeling of tenseness or anxiety when we react to a situation. Stress can be emotional or
physical and the effects on the body are exactly the same. Animals are designed with a protective
mechanism called “fight or flight” which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to heighten the
senses and prepare the body to defend itself or escape the danger. Instantly blood pressure rises to supply
the muscles with oxygen, blood is diverted from the digestive system and skin, heart rate increases, and
cortisol is released. When the danger (stress) is gone the body gets back to normal in a few minutes,
however when the stress continues the effects of stimulation continue and accumulate. The cost is an
impaired immune system, high blood pressure, faster heart rate, muscle tension, high cortisol levels,
impaired digestion and detoxification, weight loss or gain. So anything we react to is a stressor and may
have long term health and mental consequences if the stress continues.
When stress is out of control and continuous, burnout is often the result. Signs of burnout can include
anger bursts, chronic anxiety, depression, relationship problems, apathy toward work and life, a sense of
hopelessness and helplessness, fatigue, withdrawal, deteriorating health and poor performance. Burnout
can lead to business and personal sabotage and collapse.
Some common sources of stress for the groomer include scheduling issues such as the unexpected
appointment, late arrivals and the unplanned add-on services or special requests. Staffing issues are often
another chronic stressor like the employee that is late or calls off, doesn’t follow instructions, gives bad
information to a client, doesn’t follow the house dress code, is impolite etc. >emanding, uncompromising
people, whether they be a paying customer or someone else. Business and/or financial issues are often a
part of the mix and both business and personal relationship issues are frequent contributors. Unruly dogs
can put a kink in anyone’s day.
Every groomer may encounter similar circumstances and yet some are happy and their lives seem to be
running smoothly while others are on a deep, dark out of control spiral. The difference in the two groups
is not the stress but rather how they react to it; how they perceive the situation and how much control they
feel they have over the situation. So, let’s take a look at ways to control stress and keep you healthy and
engaged in your business and personal life.
! Learning to say “NB” is a good way to start. Sometimes it is perfectly OK to say no to the extra
appointment or the employee reCuest. Df you don’t look out for yourself then others may take
advantage of you and you are the loser.
! Get yourself organized. Make a To Do list and prioritize it. You can do this on a yellow pad, a
computer or a PDA. Take care of the high priority items first and if it isn’t urgent and not
important then it doesn’t belong on your list. Clean up your day
! Ee sure to take care of yourself. Fet plenty of rest, don’t skip meals and choose healthy foods.
When you are well rested and properly nourished then you can be more productive. Start the day
with a good breakfast, it is the one meal you can best schedule!
! >on’t be the Lone Ganger. Learn to delegate. Df there is a task that someone else can do, let them
do it. Hhey don’t have to be as good as you. Df they can do a thing IJ-80% as good as you then
you should give your attention to more important things.
! Even if you already feel tired, make time to exercise. Exercising can release a lot of tension and
help keep you focused. It can actually give you back energy!
! Develop a support system. Tell a friend, family member or significant other what you are up to
and ask if they would be willing to support you. Identify several people to be on your team to
help you through the tough times. These people are your biggest fans and a source of stability
! Get an Attitude Adjustment. Let go of being perfect or right all the time – no one ever is! >on’t
sweat the small stuff and it is all small stuff.
! Make an effort to relax. Deep breathing and other relaxation exercises only take a few minutes
and can be done in an office chair or a quiet room. Take a few minutes to sit quietly and empty
your mind. If you can do this in the open air and in a natural setting it is even better.
! Schedule some Down Time. Take the longer scenic way to work and notice the small things.
Take a walk in the park during a break and get in touch with nature. At home, make time for a
long hot bath or to read a book.
! Break away for a fun weekend or a dream vacation and return with new energy and a new
Make the most of every day and every moment. Eliminate what stress you can and learn how to deal with
the stresses you can’t remove. Stress can be a good thingK it’s all in how you view it.
For a free printable poster of the Top Ten Tips For Managing the Froomer’s Stress, send an email to
Boyd@successpartnerscoaching.com and place “Froomer Stress Hips” in the subLect line. Any comments
or suggestions would be welcome.
Dr. Boyd Harrell is currently practicing pet medicine in central Florida. He formerly owned two
veterinary practices in Illinois nationally recognized for their exceptional management. He is an
international speaker to pet lovers and veterinarians, a personal and business coach with Success
Partners Coaching, and a pet consultant with Oxyfresh Worldwide. Oxyfresh Pet Care products help the
pets you love live healthier, cleaner, longer lives. OxyfreshFs complete line of pet care products include
ingredients such as OxygeneG for maximum odorfighting and oral health and adaptogens for robust
health, nutrition, and stress relief. Pet product categories include Oral Care, Iutritionals, Hygiene and
Dr Harrell may be reached at 866M88M5O8, at boydharrellPemail.com or at