As an industry overall, pet groomers have been impacted heavily by the pandemic. I posted on FB that I was looking for how pet groomers have been faring. The overall feeling was that of being exhausted for the past year. The best quote comes from Kaylee Konopaski; “I feel a mixture of exhaustion, burnout, gratefulness, jealously, and guilt. Overall, I’m just tired of it.”
Let’s unpack that.
- Tired from arguing with clients over legally mandated, state requirements that keep us open. Employee distancing requirements which lead to longer work days. Fear of shutting down again and having no income. So, we work those extra hours and days. Spending time going in and out of our facilities for curbside and worrying about a pet getting away from us. Rescheduling due to covid. Afraid to add necessary staff because of covid. Clients rescheduling/no showing and using covid as an excuse to get out fees. Clients not telling us they tested positive until after their pet has been groomed. Quarantining and shutting down our facilities for 10 days. Worrying about our health and that of our families and clients. Picking up the financial slack because others in our household may have been laid off.Running a business and juggling everything around covid fears and legal requirements is just plain exhausting.
The thought that stays in the back of our minds all the time is- What will happen if I’m shut down again. Will my business survive?
- Working longer hours than normal without any recharge activities such as going to the gym, hanging out with friends, going to tradeshow, or allowing yourself any time off because the fear of shutdowns. Let’s add in clients who are taking out their frustration and feelings of life spiraling out of control on us by making unreasonable demands or being abusive towards us.
We wish our clients understood we are trying to do our best for the pets and the wellbeing of ourselves, staff, and community under these circumstances. We all need a vacation.
- Why are some groomers doing well and not me? Why was I shut down and not them? Why have some groomers fallen through the cracks and haven’t received or qualified for financial assistance?
- At this stage of the pandemic, it would be hard pressed to not know someone personally who has had a significant case of covid or have passed. Survivor’s guilt can eat away at our mental wellbeing. My sister-in-law was hospitalized and minutes away from being intubated. Six months later, she is still battling lung issues. Were we one of the lucky ones that had Covid, but was asymptomatic? And did we unknowingly infect someone?
How does covid exhaustion impact our health? It can manifest as altered sleep patterns, weight gain (the 10lbs I fought to lose just before covid hit is back with a vengeance,) underlying medical conditions are worsened by the stress; that includes anxiety, depressive conditions, as well as any chronic condition, and the uptick in substance abuse. This link will take you to the CDC for resources in coping during covid: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html.
I did not forget gratitude. There are reasons to be grateful. I’m a firm believer in gratitude journaling. What that really does is to help your brain shift focus from consistently looking for the bad in our lives, and instead acknowledge and recognize the wonderful in life. It’s been an opportunity to take a close look at our businesses and look to see how we can get through this and be better prepared in the future. Re-evaluate where we are. Are we happy in our careers and family life? Do we need to make changes? Appreciating the clients who have gone out of their way to let us know we’re loved. The availability of online education which has allowed our minds to be productive instead of letting covid dictate how we feel.
This has and continues to be a very stressful time for us. Sometimes we all need a little help to navigate day to day like. Seek out qualified mental health professionals if necessary, as well as tap into the collective online world of pet professionals in the same boat as you.
I’m just tired of it as well. I need a vacation.
Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader.
You can contact Mary by dropping a message or email her at [email protected]