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Navigating burnout and cultivating well-being


Hello hello and welcome to Greedy Bitch, a podcast where groomers stop apologizing for charging their worth.  I’m your host River Lee, founder of the Savvy Groomer.

Let’s talk about today's topic:

Navigating Burnout and Cultivating Well-being

Burnout is a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion that results from prolonged exposure to high levels of stress, especially in the workplace. Burnout can impact various aspects of a person’s life, including their mental and physical well-being. It often occurs when individuals face excessive work demands, experience little control or support in their roles, and are unable to adequately recover from stress.

There are three types of groomer burnout and we will be focusing on mental (trapped) burnout today. This is the type that sounds like: “I’m stuck! I want my time and flexibility back! No amount of money is worth it!”

So what does it look like? Here are some signs of being mentally burnt out: exhausted all the time, anxiety that overwhelms, unhappy no matter how much you earn, you feel like you can’t take a day off, work/life balance is off or doesn’t exist…something has to give!

Being mentally burnt out, or feeling trapped, refers to a state of chronic exhaustion and emotional depletion that arises from prolonged exposure to high levels of stress, particularly in the context of work. It goes beyond regular tiredness and can have significant impacts on both mental and physical well-being.

Mental burnout often occurs when we experience excessive work demands, have little control or support in our roles, and are unable to adequately recover from stress. So what does that actually mean? You’re going into your grooming salon or van and you’re working a lot. You either have little control or you feel like you have little control and you’re either not able to gain control or you’re not able to separate yourself from that. We may feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally drained. We may also experience a sense of being trapped or stuck in their current situation, feeling like we have no escape or ability to regain control over their lives.

It's important to recognize these signs and address them promptly. Ignoring or dismissing mental burnout can lead to more severe consequences, such as chronic health issues, strained relationships, and a decline in overall well-being. It’s really important to deal with this promptly. Seeking support, making necessary changes to reduce stress, and prioritizing self-care are crucial steps in overcoming mental burnout and regaining a sense of freedom and fulfillment.

When I was running my dog grooming salon I became burnt out. I was working 60-80 hours a week. I had 5 employees that were finally amazing but needed a lot of guidance. This was before I had all the tools in my belt and I needed to figure out a way to support them in the way they needed to be supported but that meant a lot of hand-holding. I was trying to take time off to spend with my young son so I decided to take off my first Christmas Eve since owning my grooming salon, which turned out to be a disaster when I came back. I’m sure you can relate. I wasn’t happy. I felt like something had to give. I wished someone had talked to me about groomer burnout and that’s because it really is so real. I felt exhausted all the time. I had worked so hard to build a life for my son so that we could do better. 

  • Consider re-evaluating your life and business.

Is this business style or current employment right for you? Mobile? In-home? House-call? Salon? Salon with employees? Are your co-workers super catty assholes? Do you have a lot of big dogs? What is your ideal client? What is your soulmate client? What is your ideal situation? Are you there now? Can you work towards that or change your current situation? What’s going on? What’s the reality of what’s happening here?

  • When was the last time you had a holiday or weekend off? 

Do you get frustrated with your days off or how many days off you have? I found I did the best when I worked Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I’d rather do 4 long days than 5 shorter days. I made Wednesday my paperwork and office day. That left me the weekend to actually have some time off. And I mean off off, not I’m going to run errands or I’m going to groom my dog. Like off, I can sit and do nothing but watch Supernatural for 10 hours and eat popcorn if I really want to. I never was able to get out of work early anyway, so what were a few more hours on those 4 work days? That’s me personally, but maybe you prefer 5 early mornings and being able to cut and run earlier in the day. 

  • Is your business model right for you?

Is your passion dwindling because you want weekends off, holidays off, nights off, mornings off? Or is it that you need to plan an exit strategy out of the grooming industry or have it evolve? Is it maybe that you’re considering moving into more of a virtual assistant role versus a grooming role? There’s so many options. When we talk about step away from the table, a lot of times we talk about different ways for you to stay in the industry without having to be a groomer. There’s nothing wrong with you wanting to step away from the table for a little bit and then come back if you feel passionate. The most important thing is that you are happy. 

Mental burnout can have a profound impact on our lives and well-being. It's important to recognize the signs of burnout and take proactive steps to address them. Remember, you have the power to make changes and regain control over your work and personal life. Whether it's re-evaluating your business model, prioritizing self-care and work-life balance, seeking support, or considering an exit strategy, taking action is key. I always suggest that you have an exit strategy for your business. No matter what you’re going to die, you’re going to move, you’re going to become injured. At some point you’re going to leave your business and knowing where the door is sometimes will be enough to make you not feel so trapped. Remember, your happiness and well-being matter. Don't be afraid to make the necessary changes to create a life that brings you joy, fulfillment, and freedom. You deserve it. Remember to take care of yourself. You can always make more friends. I hate to say this but your family is always your family but you can always make more family. The only thing you can’t make more of is you. 


Thank you all so much for listening to this podcast, Navigating Burnout and Cultivating Well-being. Be sure to visit me at SavvyGroomer.com to see my current opportunities to work with me in growing your pet grooming business plus more free resources for you to learn. See you in our community on Facebook - Savvy Pet Professionals! As always, Happy Grooming