Spring Trip 2018

April 26th, 2018 by Joelle

My husband, Marc and I are back from a four-week working road trip. For the past few years, we’ve traveled for almost the entire month of March. After all – who wants to be in Michigan in March? Each Spring, we’ve loaded up our bikes, kayaks, dogs, and filming gear and hit the road.

crystal riverThe trip this year started out with the Atlanta Pet Fair before heading south to Florida. Our itinerary included lots of work but also plenty of downtime. We kayaked with the manatees in Crystal Springs and enjoyed the unbelievable clarity of the Rainbow River. On one of the rivers we kayaked, we came a bit too close to a large alligator sunning himself on the bank. I swear it looked like an old tire sitting on the river bank – until it MOVED! We paddled away very quickly!

JumpingWe attended the Live Oaks International Horse Show where we watched show jumping and the exhilarating marathon driving event. The show jumping took me back to my younger years when I showed hunters and jumpers.  With each stride and jump, I was right there with the rider.

I had never seen a marathon driving event before – what a blast! Top carriage drivers maneuvered their horse(s) through a complex pattern of VERY solid obstacles in the quickest time possible. It was thrilling to watch these skilled teams flying through the obstacles.Friesians Live Oaks

Soon we were headed to the west side of South Florida where we spent some great quality time with Marc’s family.

Then the work started.

We had multiple Learn2GroomDogs.com film shoots with some amazing people. We filmed with Randi Sands, Irina (Pina) Pinkusevich, and Joshua Morales.  We then toured Kathy Rose’s new salon, Pets of Perfection. From there, we drove to Orlando to film with Lindsey Dicken. As soon as we finished, we drove to see Angela Kumpe for some creative grooming just outside Little Rock, Arkansas.

kayakingFilming and learning with these talented stylists was amazing. One thing really stood out: the increased use of thinning shears. They’re being used more often and the variety of thinners and blenders is growing. It seems they are becoming as important to everyone’s collections as smooth bladed shears.

Finally, it was time to return to Michigan, but we had one more stop to make. As we made our way home, we stopped at new St. Louis office to visit our newest team member, Joe Zuccarello, and meet his family for the first time.

We made it home just in time for the last gasp of Winter. Being on the road was a wonderful experience. It was an amazing trip filled with a nice balance of work and down time.

Happy trimming!

Melissa

Share photos of YOUR trip or stay-cation on our Facebook page with your Melissa Verplank family!


Why Vacations Are Beneficial To Everyone

January 25th, 2018 by Joelle

Quote In A CircleWhen I am speaking at industry events, I like to ask, “How many of you took a vacation last year?” It’s shocking how often large portions of my audiences do not raise their hands.

We groomers are hard workers, and it’s easy to find reasons or excuses not to take time off. But down time is good for you. It’s good for your staff. Research proves its good for everyone’s mental and physical health. Plus, it boosts productivity in the long run.

My companies have always had generous vacation policies. I firmly believe personal time to rest and relax or to pursue other activities improves morale. It’s important to everyone’s well-being to spend quality time with loved ones, relax, or have new adventures.

I just returned from one of my favorite vacations. I’m fortunate. I have a father who has had a sailboat in the Caribbean Islands for over 30 years. Rarely a year passes that I don’t get to spend time with my dad, friends, and family on the boat.  This year my close friend and industry leader, Judy Hudson, was able to join my husband Marc and I on the boat.

Judy is a doer. A get-it-done kind of gal. She works incredibly hard. She never stops. She is always making decisions. She’s always responsible.

Snorkling w JudyWith her arrival to the Sundowner in St. Lucia, all of that went away. She could just relax and stop – something very rare for Miss Judy. She was able to experience new things, some pushing her way out of her comfort zone. Snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the open sea. Sailing for up to eight hours. Together we went to amazing locations and had plenty of fabulous food. We even got to watch a whale swim beside the boat for a short time before it dove to the depths of the ocean.

It took her a few days to fall into the “island time groove,” but she did. I think it was the first time I’ve ever seen this woman just stop and fully relax.

By the time our time was up, we were all rested and refreshed – ready to tackle the world upon our return to our everyday lives.

Vacations are not a luxury. They’re a necessity for a healthy, well-balanced life. They are as important as eating well and getting exercise. You don’t necessarily have to go to an exotic location, spend a lot of money, or travel to distant lands to have a relaxing vacation. Some of the best vacations could be “stay-cations” where you’ve never left home.

The key to any successful vacation is in the planning and getting a break from your usual routine.

Here are a few benefits for creating downtime.

  1. Vacations Alleviate Stress – Stress is a response originally meant to help keep us safe. It releases hormones for the flight or fight response necessary for our early survival. However, today, chronic stress can be destructive to us both mentally and physically. Getting away for regular vacations, leaving our everyday stresses behind, gives us a break. Vacations allow the consistent high levels of stress-related hormones to subside. They also give your body the opportunity repair some of the damage.
  2. Vacations Help Maintain Focus – Studies find chronic stress can hamper goal-directed activities and causes problems with memory. Working without breaks, down time or vacations can make people feel stuck, frustrated and distracted. Studies show almost 75% of people who vacation regularly feel energized and ready to tackle the tasks at hand.
  3. Vacations Make You Happier – Chronic exposure to stress contributes to depression and anxiety. Studies shows that women who do not take regular vacations are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious. Reports find people who take regular vacations feel happy with an overall feeling of well-being compared to those who did not vacation.  Many stated these effects lasting beyond their actual vacation.
  4. Vacations Reduce Illness – Stress can alter your immune system, making you vulnerable to many illnesses. With a weakened immune system, you are more susceptible to common illnesses like the cold or flu. But long-term stress can also make you much more prone to more serious illnesses, as well.
  5. Vacations Support Relationships – Vacationing with your family or loved ones helps create closer bonds. These shared experiences promote family ties. Family vacations create more memories than any other activity. Vacationing together creates experiences that remain in your memory. Studies find people place a greater value on their shared experiences over material items they have accumulated in their lifetime.
  6. Vacations Make You More Productive – Research shows the more vacation time people have, the more productive they become. Regular vacations also reduce the number of missed workdays. At work, vacations increase production and job satisfaction.

When was last time you took a vacation where you could just decompress? Taking a vacation can do amazing things for your well-being – even if it is a well-planned out stay-cation.

As an employer, encouraging your team to take vacation time will improve morale. Even short vacations help. We see this every day at one of my companies. At Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa, we make people use their vacation time. With almost 60 staff members, last year only two people did not use ALL their time. I firmly believe this contributes to the amazing harmony we have with the team.

Judy Marc MV in BequiaIf you are feeling run down, stressed, frustrated, or overworked – take the time to unwind. Step away from the grooming table. Step away from the shop. Step away from the business.

I encourage you to make down time for yourself and your fellow team members. True vacations renew and reboot your system. Typically, people return from vacation refreshed which increases productivity and thinking clarity.

Happy trimming!

Melissa

MVpaw_no_Inner_white

Do you take down time? Why or why not? Jump on our Facebook page and share your thoughts with your Melissa Verplank family.


The Importance of Downtime

February 9th, 2017 by Joelle

HAMMOCKIn many of my business lectures, I ask my audience how many of them take regular vacations. I’m always shocked when I see how many pet professionals don’t schedule vacations or downtime for themselves.

Did you know roughly half of all Americans don’t take annual vacations? And if they do take vacations, it’s common that they stay connected to work or even bring work along with them! Are you guilty of either of these situations? I have always scheduled downtime for myself. However, I admit I am guilty of being connected to work wherever I am – even when on vacation.

Scheduling time off for yourself is important to your overall physical and mental health. There are many positive effects to your well-being.

Here’s a short list of positive attributes to scheduling down time for yourself.

  • increased productivity
  • open to new ideas and viewpoints
  • increased creativity
  • lower stress levels
  • higher energy
  • improved moods
  • positive relationships with family and friends

I learned early in my career the importance of scheduling time off for myself. I have always been an over-achiever, taxing my system both mentally and physically on a regular basis. Yet, I always maintain an intense pace. Why? I know the importance of unplugging.

The key is getting it SCHEDULED.  What gets scheduled – gets done. That’s true for everything, including down time!

The key is getting it SCHEDULED.  What gets scheduled – gets done. That’s true for everything, including down time!

Schedule time to disconnect. Schedule time to unplug. Schedule time to breathe. Schedule time to just enjoy life.

Here is a collection of ways to unplug. Use it to get your ideas flowing on how YOU can find time to decompress from an abundant (and sometimes insanely busy) life.

  • Daily Down Time – Do something every day you enjoy. Maybe it’s spending quality time with your family or friends. Cooking. Exercise. Sports. Reading. Doing something creative. Just take the time to enjoy the simple things life offers.
  • ab3ca0e2f7a04a4ad659c82ea2485e0eFull Days – Book a day just to do something fun and special. You might opt to include only yourself. Or plan an activity with friends. Or with family. Many times, special days don’t require money but they do require time and planning.
  • Weekend Jaunts – When is the last time you booked a weekend excursion? Everyone has different tastes. Some enjoy the solitude of the woods, water, or slopes. Others get a charge out of dog show weekends. Others gravitate to the city. There are literally thousands of things you could do on a weekend, creating special memories for a lifetime.
  • Staycations or Holistay – If your life is supercharged or you don’t have the financial resources for a full-fledged vacation, staying home could be the best answer. What is a staycation or a holistay? It’s when you stay home and participate in leisure activities within driving distance. You sleep in their own bed at night. You might make day trips to local tourist sites, swimming locations, or participate in fun activities such as horseback riding, kayaking, wine tasting, hiking, or visiting museums. Most of the time it involves dining out more frequently than usual or participating in carefree dinner menus.
  • Vacations – Think big. Have fun. Head to the islands. The slopes. Experience a cruise. Explore areas you have never been. Participate in activities that are new to you. Every city, state, and country has a wide range of activities. The only thing holding you back is your imagination and possibly your pocketbook.
businessman in field with blue sky sitting an office chair

businessman in field with blue sky sitting an office chair

A word of caution. When planning any type of downtime – is make sure it stays downtime. Don’t over schedule too many activities. If you do, you will just jump from one frenzied lifestyle into another. You won’t relax and rejuvenate.

Vacations and down time reduce stress and improve health. Time away makes you an effective, productive, and happier worker. You’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life tosses your way. Take the time to get down time into your calendar.  You deserve it!

~Happy trimming,

Melissa

MVpaw_no_Inner_whiteP.S. How do you unplug?  If you don’t – or can’t – tell us why.  Jump on the Learn2GroomDogs.com Facebook page and tell us about it.

 

 

clinicSpend the day with Melissa

Melissa Verplank will be in Lutz, Florida on Sunday, March 19, 2017 for an all day seminar.  Melissa will present four of her most popular lectures that are sure to help you and your business!


 
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