By Victoria Blair
Burn out. Eeeek! At one point or another, we’ve all had it. If you haven’t yet, you probably will. It’s coming to a life near you; lurking in the shadows of happily shaving, trimming and creating. How does it happen? One day, you’re interacting with clients, staying busy, humming along and BOOM!
Maybe you’ve been working too hard. You get out there, charge up your engine and it keeps going and going. You enjoy the weekend, (or work the whole time) and love raking in the cash. Or, you have been at this a long time. It’s the only skill you know, but you’ve stuck with it, because it pays the bills. Or, you’re a newbie. You went to school, or apprenticed with someone and are struggling to find more clients and get more exposure. You try and try and but nothing seems to be working right.
In all these situations, you take a look at your life and wonder…is there more? You start to ask yourself if picking dog hair out of your eyes, bra and fingernails is your chosen path. You really enjoy the money you make, the clients you have and everything on the surface, but…what else is there?
Then, your imagination gets involved, and not in a good way. “What if I should be doing something else? What if, what if, what if”…..STOP IT!
Take a deep breath and relax. This is just an indication that you’re ready for the next step in life. We groomers are such an amazing bunch. Seriously. I have never met a bolder, more confident group of people than groomers. We are the McGyvers of the free world (If you’ve never heard of McGyver, you’re still a baby, look him up.) The dreamers, the world changers, the ones who can go all day with an aching back, dog hair stuck between our teeth and still a smile on our face. You’ve got this. When you find yourself in any of these thought processes, here are some things that may help.
Take a vacation
Most of the time, this is the one thing that will shake those burnouts. A change of scenery. Go somewhere you have always wanted to go. Or, find a place that renews you. That place for me is the beach. All I have to do is smell that fresh, salty air, listen to the waves, get my feet in the sand and I’m ready to conquer the next challenge. Even one day works. A weekend or longer is better. If you can’t budget a vacation or one day trip somewhere, drive a different way home, have dinner in a new location, even if it’s a picnic in the park. The key is to do something that is different than your regular routine. Step out of the box. Doing things the same way every day is a sure fire way to get you into a slump that may be hard to climb out of and actually trains your brain for boredom. So, keep it interesting as much as you can.
Change your look
This has been a real game changer for me. Four years ago, I ran into a love/hate relationship with my hair. I had been going to the same stylist and had been getting the same dye job with a trim on my long locks. After switching stylists, I had a moment of abandon and told her to cut my long hair into a short bob. Ahhhhh! Next, I started having her put in purple strands. One day, I went full throttle and told her to dye my whole head deep purple. I LOVE IT! Not only does it make me happy, I had told myself I could never look good with short hair. Now, everywhere I go, at least one person compliments me on my style and it has become my signature look. It really opens the door to new conversations and helps me meet new people. Soon, I may change the purple, but for now, I’m having fun. And, it’s hair! As we all know, It’s going to grow and changing it is something quick and reversible. Go for it!
Burnout happens because we try to be super heroes all day, every day. We try to fly it alone and our capes get tangled, then we get sucked into a vortex of trying to keep up. This gets old. If you have employees or independent contractors, have a meeting and see if there are some things you can change and take some of the pressure off yourself.
Being a parent is just as dangerous. If you’re the type of parent that has to do everything for your family, you’re not teaching them anything. I’m a big believer in making kids independent as early as possible. If your little miracles can use a smartphone, they can easily learn how to sort laundry and turn on the washing machine and dryer. They’ll act like their legs are broken at first, but believe me, they will soon be washing and (maybe not) folding soon. If wrinkly clothes bother you, bite your tongue and just look the other way!
I realize these quick fixes may not always be the solution. Burnout may also masquerade as depression or another major health problem. I don’t want to scare you, but if you feel that may be the case, please get help ASAP. You have too much to offer the world to suffer with an ongoing health crisis. If you need someone to talk to, there are plenty of Facebook groups you can join. Or, if you need a sounding board, you can always find me. You’ve got a Friend! I’m hoping I can finish the conversation in another article about this topic, but in the meantime, it truly is something that can be changed for the better. ✂