Getting Close To Your Furry Friend Is The Perfect Mood Booster

Just in case you run out of reasons to snuggle with your pet.

This post is sponsored by Hills |

Covid-19 has got us consuming endless amounts of news and information on how to protect ourselves from the virus, but being over exposed to negative news can take its toll on even the strongest people. Because, the more we read bad news (which there’s a lot of at the moment), the more we become filled with anxiety.

Taking strain

A recent poll in the U.S. has shown that the coronavirus crisis is harming the mental health of tens of millions of people in the country. The tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted from March 25 – 30, found that 45% of adults say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19% say it has had a ‘major impact.’ John Hopkins University in the U.S. also published a detailed article about protecting mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and strategies that can be used to help yours, and others’, mental health.

Ease the pressure, hug your furr friends

“While we don’t have specific SA statistics, we’d imagine that the picture is not much different here,” says Carla Bath, Hill’s Pet Nutrition marketing manager. “So, what can we do while we are confined to our homes to combat the anxiety and stress that we may be feeling?” she asks.

If you’re a serious pet lover, you probably know from experience that the emotional support pets provide really is priceless. Not only are they our best friends, a number of studies have shown that pets actually minimise stress. Bath says that now more than ever your furry friend will be able to help you and your family during those low moments. Not only are they able to support our mental health, they’ll love the additional attention from you, too.

Tips to reduce stress

The unconditional love, enthusiasm and plain gratitude that pets express daily are lessons for all of us, especially now.  Showing one another a little more patience, understanding and support and focusing on the positives in the situation will go a long way in helping to ease anxiety.

Bath recommends that when feeling overwhelmed often the best thing we can do is to step away from the situation for a little bit, so that we may be able to see things a little clearer.  She has the following tips:

  • Take a blanket and curl-up in your favourite spot with your pet. Put your phone down, tune out all the news and noise and spend a little bit of time getting lost in the fictional characters of a book, listening to music and enjoying the love and cuddles from your fur baby.
  • Gather your family, including your pets, around the kitchen table, serve some hot chocolate, for the humans, (you can find some nice pet treat recipes here) and let everyone contribute as you make a list of the things you have to be grateful for at this time. While we may not be able to go out and socialise, what are some of the positive things? Not having to sit in traffic to and from work and school is definitely one.

  • Journaling is a great outlet for our emotions and can provide a memory log of how you and your loved ones got through this time. You are living through history, record it!
  • Take this time to restore your health by perhaps tackling tasks you’ve been putting off around the house such as gardening, hanging family photographs or painting. These seemingly mundane tasks will help you switch off and provide you with some much-needed solace.
  • Remember you can still see your family and friends, virtually. UNICEF recommends finding new ways to connect with friends via social media. Get creative: for pre-teens and teenagers join in a Tik-Tok challenge like #safehands, for adults why not host your monthly book club over Zoom?
  • Establish new routines where you can. You may not be able to leave your house and exercise but why not set aside the first half an hour of your day, before you get behind your computer, to meditate, do yoga or stretch in the sunshine?

There is no doubt that the coronavirus is leaving a trail of devastation as it moves across the globe, we are faced with an unknown tomorrow and we need to lean on those around us while providing love and care in abundance.

Be gentle on yourself and care for your pet! Now, you can make sure your pet’s nutritional needs are taken care of from the comfort of your own home. Have their Hill’s Science Plan food delivered straight to your door.

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