- a state ... of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium. Webster Seventh New Collegiate

- the confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living (bleep) out of some (bleep) who desperately deserves it. Anonymous greeting card.

Few of us would deny that pet grooming is a moderately to severely stressful occupation. The constant pressure of stress not only leads to groomer burnout, it is generally recognized as a condition that can contribute to illness. It is important to recognize how stress functions in our lives and to develop techniques to manage the impact of our stress factors.

As groomers, we pretty much bounce around our various stress factors and watch some of our colleagues fall by the wayside, while others thrive and develop their stress muscles. Rarely, however, do we take an overview of ourselves in our situations.

The Stress Assessment for Groomers is a tool designed to help us do just that. There are no wrong or right answers - only what is true for you. The exercise will be most helpful if you think it through and are honest You may go back and change a score if you realize one stress factor might be worse or less bad than you originally scored

The instrument is also intended to be used to stimulate and structure discussion at the workplace. In doing so, it is recommended that you avoid the temptation to argue about whether a situation occurs frequently or rarely -- what counts is each person's perception of the situation. If significant disagreement appears or you wish to get more objective data, you might use the test as a scorecard and document the number of times each situation occurs over a given period of time.

The Stress Assessment for Groomers is divided into three sections. Section A, How Bad Is It?, will help you to identify the stressful areas at your workplace. This can help you to focus and prioritize your efforts to reduce stress. Section B, Your Stress Profile, will help you to recognize your individual responses to stress. Of course, there are likely to be some stress factors outside of work that show up at work and some work-related stress that shows up at home. Section C, Stress Management Skills, will allow you to give weight to your stress coping techniques, as well as offering suggestions that might increase your arsenal



Here are some common stressful situations that occur in most grooming shops. Give yourself a score from zero to five according to the frequency with which you encounter each situation. As a guideline, use O-never, does not apply; 1-rarely; 2;occasionally; 3-maybe monthly 4-weekly 5·frequently or daily. ____________________________________________________________________Scores_____

Give yourself a score of zero to ten according to the frequency and/or intensity with which you deal with these stress factors:

  1. Barking, wailing animals. _______
  2. Noisy equipment. _______
  3. Shop too hot or cold. _______
  4. Poor ventilation. _______
  5. Persistent bad odors. _______
  6. Exposure to toxic chemicals. _______
  7. Tension among employees. _______
  8. Miserable or angry employer. _______
  9. Employee personal problems. _______
  10. Assistance not available. _______

_______________________________________________Total Score:________________



These are some common ways in which we respond to stress. Give yourself a score from zero to five according to how frequently you experience each item. As a guideline, use 0·never ; 1-rarely ; 2·occasionally ; 3-maybe monthly; 4-weekly ; 5- frequently or daily.

  • How often do you not want to go to work? _______
  • Do you ever cry at work (or on the way home)? _______
  • Do you ever feel hopelessly trapped in your job? _______
  • Do you have: headaches? _______
  • Do you ever: compulsively overeat? _______
  • How often do you feel tense or upset at work? _______
  • How often do you feel too tired to have fun! _______
  • How often do you shout or yell at: client animals? _______
  • Do you ever get into arguments with customers? _______
  • Do you ever throw things at work? _______
  • Do you ever lose your temper with a client animal? _______
  • Do you ever physically beat yourself? _______
  • Do you ever feel suicidal? _______
  • ____________________________________________________________Total Score:________



    There are things we can do to reduce the effects of stress. Give yourself ten points for each of these established mechanisms for stress management that you utilize: There's more. Give yourself ten bonus points for each of the following that you practice: Some positive situations at work serve as powerful stress neutralizers. Give yourself twenty points for each of these factors that apply to you. ______________________________________________________________ Total Score:________

    Now, subtract the total points scored in Section C from the sum of Section A plus Section B. This is your Stress Score.

    If your final score is under 100 points, you have a good situation.

    Between 100 and 200 points, you are somewhat to moderately stressed out.

    If you score a grand total over 200, you have a high stress situation.

    Whatever your score, a good exercise would be to take a month or two and try to improve - lower - your scare. Tackle some of your stress factors that score high and increase your stress management mechanisms. Most importantly, work as hard at tossing off stress as you do at your grooming and you will be less likely to be victimized by your situation.

    Copyright 1992 Barbara Bird. 2142 N. Treat, Tucson, AZ. 85716