By Malissa Conti-Diener C.A. M.M.T.
As a long time, homeopathic pet groomer, I have always happily been on the outside of the “regular” grooming circle. I have been called the granola groomer, the hippy groomer—I prefer The Oily groomer. As a certified aromatherapist, essential oils and plants play a central part in my practice.
I embrace the natural lifestyle; I try and always push for a movement back to this style of grooming since it connects us on a deeper level with the animals we see. Now the tides are changing, and so are the marketing tactics of the companies that supply our salons. How you navigate these waters is important as a person and a pet stylist.
Natural, holistic, healthy, organic…all buzz words that have recently popped up in the marketing of the pet grooming industry. A growing number of groomers are looking for healthier alternatives for themselves and the pets they serve. This is a great trend to get on board with. It not only benefits you personally, but it also will help you in all other reaches of your life and business.
Contrary to most marketing companies, natural lifestyles have been around for a very long time. So it’s more of a return to nature, and rediscovering its healing potential for all of us. Nature was created to nurture us; our bodies and souls crave that nurturing.
Animals in particular align themselves with nature. This is a synergistic energy that flows in and out of them naturally. They instinctually connect with the earth and the environment they live in. We as humans have disconnected that energy flow, and we are now looking for a way to unplug from the stressed and toxic lifestyle and reenter ourselves back with a healthy flow of energy in our environment.
Collectively, as an industry, we need to begin with self–care. Groomers are notoriously generous—giving 110% to the customers, pets, employees, vendors, etc. But where is our care for ourselves? Usually at the bottom of the barrel. We will skip meals or eat poorly, are dehydrated (most coffee, teas and Soda are diuretics and deplete the body of hydration), stand in the same spot for hours in bad footwear and without stretching, over use our bodies, let people with negative energy suck us dry and then go home and collapse after trying to tend to our family’s needs as well.
This is not healthy or holistic for us as humans and pet groomers. These practices also do not serve our pet customers well either. Stressed out, hurting, hungry and devoid of patience and positive energy, we are a frayed wire that the animals are trying to connect to. We need to make changes to get back to a more holistic approach to our life.
There is a saying, “Where the mind leads the body will follow.” This is step one in creating a more natural lifestyle for yourself. Get your mind wrapped around the fact that you are going to be creating a better life for you and those you serve. By taking time out and examining the changes we need to make, we can improve our lives exponentially.
Far too often we allow big media marketing to dictate our consuming habits. We need to dig deeper into the choices we are making. Reading labels and understanding them is also another step in the right direction. Begin to educate yourself on what is in the products you are purchasing.
Did you know that the FDA only requires that companies list 50% of the ingredients on most products? We as groomers don’t even have a full disclosure on the products we purchase, such as shampoos, conditioners and peripheral merchandise. Many items have no ingredient listings at all. We can no longer rely on the companies to have our best interest in mind when choosing our personal and professional materials. We must be our own advocate as well as an advocate for the precious lives of the pets we attend to daily.
Here are some tips to create a healthy, holistic lifestyle for yourself and your work environment. Start slowly and you will begin to feel empowered and energized by these better choices. You will also see the positive effects it will have on the people and animals that you share your space with.
Start With You! Preventive Health Practices
- Take care of your health with vitamins, better food choices, drinking water, exercise, stretching and creating a healthy daily routine for yourself.
- Utilize herbs, essential oils, minerals, and other nature–produced items in place of commercially prepared items.
- Are you aware that statistics show that many people who eat a diet of primarily fast food/commercially prepared are malnourished? You are doing your body a dis–service—choose whole foods, real foods and view food as fuel for your engine.
De–Stress: Be Proactive About Your Mental Health
- Try Yoga, Meditation/Prayer, journaling, dream boards, blogging, walking, jogging, etc.
- Seek out some form of personal expression and allowing yourself to vent and release the stress of your day.
- Overall, we as groomers are creative people and we need to release that creative, tactile energy. Something as mundane as sweeping your sidewalk can be cathartic—a quiet meditative time for you to regroup your energy and reduce your stress level.
- BREATHE. It’s amazing how many people are not conscious of their breath. Learn ways to slow your breathing, unclench your jaw, and relax your shoulders. Be calm, and calm will come to you.
Create Less Waste
- Choose packaging that is minimal, recycle items and upcycle items.
- Consume less by thinking before making purchases.
- Create more by D.I.Y. some of your products you use daily, using healthy, natural alternatives.
- Ditch disposable products and switch to reusable items instead.
- Think outside the box. Shop at thrift stores, Consignment stores, yard sales, online local sale apps and other recycle–type merchants.
Reduce Your Chemical Load by Ditching the Toxic Supplies
- Use glass instead of plastic for storage of items.
- Seek out natural healing alternatives to clean and disinfect with.
- Toss the toxic air fresheners and candles.
- Diffuse quality essential oils to clean and purify your air space. Essential oils also have energy vibrational frequencies, they will help improve the energy in your space.
- Use Himalayan salt lamps to put back the negative ions into the air and improve lung functions.
- Crystals like Amethyst, Rose Quartz, and many others will help improve energy in your space and visually help you connect back to the earth and remain grounded.
- Baking Soda and Vinegar are not just for grade school science projects. These should be in your arsenal of natural cleaning.
- Use grain alcohols to disinfect along with essential oils.
- Witch hazel and essential oils make great hand sanitizer. If there is a commercially produced product out there, you can create a natural one, usually with a few simple ingredients.
- Use recycled rags from old towels instead of paper towels.
- Make your own laundry detergent.
- Purchase natural supplies in bulk, utilizing local businesses.
- Buy only the food you need for the week locally from farmers markets or local produce stands.
- Start your own garden and grow herbs and flowers you can use to create items needed for D.I.Y. products.
- Compost waste.
- Use reusable bags when you shop. Environmental stewardship begins with you!
Research Things Like:
- Chronotherapy: the science of color. It is a scientific fact that colors can influence our moods, energy and even health. This is also true with animals.
- Aromatherapy: the science of smell. The science of smell is hard wired right to the brain. This is a powerful way to affect mood and invoke thoughts of happiness, wellness and good energy.
- Music Therapy is an established health therapy in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals.
Reclaim your space, your life and your energy. By incorporating a more connected, natural way of life, you will regain your sense of balance. Your personal goals will become more clear and achievable. Through conscious, daily holistic choices, you will be able to clear away things that no longer serve you. Be good to yourself and those around you, it’s only natural. ✂