Are you trying to pour from an empty cup?
As an ambitious pet professional, you can often find yourself helping others, more than you help yourself and taking on more work than was first expected. But it’s so important to be aware of our personal limitations to keep the balance right.
You may feel that you are coping right now and it’s easy to shrug it off and say that you will “deal with it later” but it may come a point where you will find your cup nearly empty and then wish you had tackled the issues a lot sooner.
Burnout is real, but it doesn’t happen overnight. At the start your actions can seem harmless, booking the extra training session, working that extra day and answering just that one email after 6pm. But then this can create a snowball effect; one extra day turns into two, you don’t have enough time to pick up all 8 dogs, you skip lunch and sometimes are even home too late for tea. Once this snowball starts to roll, the overwhelm becomes very real. We let our good intentions or boundaries slip which all comes at a detriment to our own health.
Taking time for ourselves and caring for our mental and physical well-being shouldn’t be time consuming or leave us feel guilty, but instead should be one of the main priorities, a daily habit.
I used to feel guilty all the time, guilty for meeting my mum and even spending extra time with my own pets. How ridiculous does that sound; feeling guilty for taking time for myself and my family. But we like to be busy, down time can feel lazy, in fact simply doing nothing is one of the hardest skills (for both dogs and humans!).
In 2017 I reached a point of burnout, It made me feel sick, tired, completely run down. I really don’t want you to feel this way. As above, this didn’t happen overnight and here are some of the main activities that I was doing, unknowingly slipping into a downward spiral:
– Squeezing in extra clients
– Offering discounts
– Working late
– Working extra weekends
– Seeing less of your own pets/family
So, I relooked at my daily activities, changed the structure of my business. I created ways to save more time by outsourcing some of the work and learning to say no. Saying no was the hardest thing, but there were services I was providing, in the grand scheme of things, that were not serving my best interests. There were clients who lived too far away or were best suited to a different trainer. At first, I made small changes, but later this enabled me to really reassess everything. But even if today, you make one or two small changes, this is the start you will need. These are the stepping stones, the catalyst to really streamline your business so you have more time and money to do the stuff you love!
Remember it’s so important to make time for you, just start by writing your personal intentions for the day will start to help block out some time and be accountable for your own activities. Talk to someone if you can, an accountability buddy, a fellow trainer. It’s likely they’ve been through something similar or may even be facing the same struggles as yourself.
There’s only one you, you can’t pour from an empty cup.