At some point in life, everyone will struggle with their mental health. This past year alone has increased people’s sense of anxiety, isolation, and stress thanks to the pandemic. It can be difficult to admit that you’re struggling mentally, but it’s important to recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed and seeking the right help to get you through it. Speaking with friends and relatives is one way, or even talking to a professional therapist can be the best course of action. Another way you might be able to help improve your mental health is by getting a pet. It might seem like an odd way to tackle emotional strife, but if you’re an animal lover, here are some of the ways a pet can help you start to feel a bit better.
They Reduce Anxiety & Stress
Pets can help to reduce people’s anxiety because having one requires the individual to focus on something else other than their negative thoughts and fears. Caring for an animal will give you a sense of purpose, and their funny little ways can offer a wonderful distraction from the things that are getting you down, even if just for five minutes. Additionally, studies have shown that stroking animals, particularly furry ones like dogs or cats, can provide sensory stress relief and make you feel calmer. However, make sure you can afford to care for your pet so you don’t end up worrying about your finances, as this is one of the biggest causes of stress adults face. Although pets can be expensive, there are affordable vet clinics such as easyvet.com, as well as cheaper brands of pet food, accessories, and toys, which might be more suited to your budget.
They Encourage Exercise
Dogs are probably the best pet for this, as they will require you to take them for at least one daily walk, but even just playing with your pet at home is a good way to get some physical activity. This will be great for your mental health as exercise is a natural way to boost your mood, as it helps to release endorphins in your brain. Getting out into the fresh air will also help you to feel more energized and upbeat.
They Give You A Routine
Routine is important to help keep you focused and active, and now more than ever people need more motivation to stick to a daily routine. Your pet can provide this for you, whether it’s taking the dog out for a walk at a certain time each day, or making sure they’re fed around the same time every day, too. They might even help to wake you up in the mornings and act as a cuddly alarm clock!
One of the best ways pets can help your mental health is by offering you some companionship, particularly if you live alone. This year has seen a lot of people become isolated due to lockdowns, and video calls with loved ones aren’t quite the same as face-to-face socialization. Pets might not be able to hold a conversation with you, but they’ll be happy to sit with you in front of the telly for cuddles or play with you on rainy afternoons, which can be a great comfort.
If you have been struggling with your mental health lately, consider the option of getting a pet and see how they can change things for you.