Pets can improve your mental health

The holiday season is upon us, and even with all the joy that this time of year may bring, the holidays can be a stressful time for all. We’ve talked about how you can help your pet deal with stress and anxious feelings, but let’s talk about how your pet can help you deal with YOUR stress and anxiety, especially during the holiday season.

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Active outdoor playtime will help you and your dog run off some steam and help you release some holiday stress.

The holidays are supposed to be about love, family, and friends – giving thanks, giving gifts, and spending quality time with those we love. But, all of that can add up to a whole lot of stress. Most of us can’t take time off from our normal day to day, so adding holiday “cheer” to an already busy lifestyle can lead to stress, sleepless nights, and more stress. On days that seem almost impossible, when you just want to give up and hibernate until January 1st, take a look at your pet and let them help you de-stress.

Take your dog for an extra long walk

Getting outside, breathing in some fresh air, and moving about is the best thing you can do for yourself if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Even though the “To Do” list is getting longer, put it aside for an hour, grab your dog, and go for a walk.

Be “in the moment,” just like your pet

When you are walking your dog, don’t spend the time mulling over all the things you have to do when you get back home. Take a cue from your dog and be 100% present in the moment. Your dog is going to use all of her senses to experience everything about being outside. Be like your dog and take in your surroundings, take deep breaths, listen to the sounds around you, take in all the smells, and soak up the weather, if only for an hour. This is what your dog is doing, and she doesn’t seem too stressed out, right? That’s because your dog is way better at appreciating what they have at the moment, not wondering if they could be doing something more or better.

Play with your pet

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Hello, you looked stressed. Come pet my tummy, I promise it’ll make you feel better!

Get on the ground, roll around, and play actively with your dog. Being physical and active will help you burn off some steam, and it will make you forget about the holidays for a minute while you’re chasing your dog or being chased by your dog.

Petting your pet

Fresh air and exercise aside, having a 10-minute petting session with your cat or dog (or both) can help you relax, find some peace, and de-stress. The act of petting your cat or dog is very soothing. Remember to take long, deep breaths to help relax you even further.

Have your cat give you a massage!

For those extra tense moments, teach your cat to give you a massage!