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hen 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.

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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.

With 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.

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