While anyone can experience burnout, some jobs have a higher rate of burnout than others. Dog grooming is one of these jobs. While highly rewarding, it’s also a high-stress job – especially when you’re running your own dog groomer business!
Burnout can be crippling. In serious cases, it can take months or even years to fully recover. But if you’re able to recognize the signs early, and take proper steps to address it, you can help minimize the effects of burnout and get back to work!
Let’s go over the top signs that you might be burning out as a dog groomer, and what you can do about it.
1: You’re physically and emotionally fatigued.
One of the telltale signs of burnout is exhaustion, in every sense of the word.
Physically, you feel worn out. You don’t have energy for things that used to be easy to do. You probably have trouble sleeping. Perhaps you’re starting to sleep too much or you have symptoms of insomnia (i.e. trouble falling asleep, waking up often during the night, etc.).
Odds are, your eating habits will change. You might experience loss of appetite and find yourself skipping meals. You might also feel other physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal pain, headaches, difficulty breathing, and more. You’ll probably notice you get sick more often, too.
Important Note: Never write off sudden, new physical symptoms as burnout. If you suddenly start experiencing physical pain of any sort, you should consult with your doctor right away!
Emotionally, you might start experiencing increased anxiety. You’ll find yourself worrying more than usual, often about things you can’t control or that didn’t bother you before. You might also become more edgy with your dog groomer clients, coworkers, friends, and even family.
You could also start experiencing symptoms of depression. Common feelings associated with depression include hopelessness, guilt, irritability, or other (more serious) symptoms. You might suddenly find that you now have a shorter temper. Perhaps you’re feeling more irritable; prone to angry outbursts, both at work and at home.
2: You start disengaging.
As burnout progresses, you’ll probably start detaching from what normally brings you joy. You might find yourself waking up every morning and dreading going to work. Out of what feels like nowhere, being a dog groomer may no longer feel as fulfilling as it used to for you, and so you could begin to respond negatively to your job environment.
As your symptoms worsen, you could even find yourself avoiding other activities that used to make you happy. Hanging out with friends/family, or indulging in your favorite hobby, might begin to feel very overwhelming or emotionally taxing. As a result, you might start to isolate yourself more from others. Socializing becomes a chore you try to avoid. People around you start to notice that you have a more negative general outlook on life.
It might be hard to notice these signs yourself, so it’s important to listen to people around you! Despite what your burnout is telling you, they do care about you!
3: It starts affecting your dog groomer work.
In the early stages of burnout, your work might go largely unaffected. Your mental and physical health will suffer, but you might still be able to perform at work; hiding your symptoms from your colleagues or employers. However, as your burnout becomes more persistent, your work will start to suffer.
Your detachment and emotional exhaustion will spill into your dog groomer career, and you’ll begin losing focus. You’ll start getting more and more irritable, and care less about the quality of your work. You might start skipping entire workdays, without giving proper notice to your employer or clients. As a dog groomer, you could even start treating your furry clients poorly.
What To Do About It
If you start experiencing the start of burnout, there are some steps you can take to help you climb out of the hole before you’re in too deep!
Don’t ignore the signs.
You might not experience every single thing on this list. But you’ll probably notice that something feels “off” at the start. You may notice your habits changing and you don’t know why. It’s important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you!
Admit to yourself that you’re starting to burn out.
Unfortunately, mental health issues are too often stigmatized and dismissed. You’re not “weak” or “crazy” if you’re burning out. Ignoring or denying it won’t make the problem go away.
Eat healthy and drink water.
When you’re stressed and busy, it’s easy to start neglecting these basic things. Take a step back and return to basics: lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and water. It’s amazing how these small changes can make a big difference!
Build solid sleep habits.
Set a regular bedtime routine and stick to it! Remove electronics from your room and get proper sleep. There are certain apps that can help you fall asleep if you experience insomnia. I’ve been using one for a month now and it really does help!
Get some exercise.
Once you’re eating and sleeping right, try getting into a light exercise routine. It doesn’t need to be intense! A 30-minute walk every day can do wonders for your mental health – and your dog will love you for it, too!
As a dog groomer, don’t be afraid to reduce your workload.
If you can afford to, consider cutting back on your work hours a bit. I know this can be scary at first as a dog groomer, because it means you don’t have as much money coming in. But if you don’t cut back now, you might be forced to stop working entirely later.
Take a vacation.
It doesn’t have to be a week on a private island somewhere! Even a few days away from work can make a difference, as long as you use them to do something fun. Go for a hike outside the city, check out your local art scene, or just re-read your favorite book. Sometimes, our minds need that mental break. If you have paid vacation days, make sure you use them. If you’re self-employed, plan ahead to take a few days off now and again!
Get professional help.
Look, sometimes you can take all the right steps and still struggle with burnout. That doesn’t make you a failure! We all need a little extra help sometimes. Consulting with a professional to develop proper stress management techniques (or just to talk about what’s stressing you out) can help immensely!
Burnout is a serious condition and should be treated as such. As a dog groomer, you work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment that you can’t always control. Your furry clients can sometimes be unpredictable and a little frustrating.
But you owe it to your clients to be in good mental health when taking care of their beloved pets! Addressing burnout early on doesn’t only make sense on a personal level – it makes sense on a professional one as well!