This winter is undeniably different from those in the past. While winter has always meant colder weather and darker evenings, we now have the added restrictions, stress and worry caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, owners are turning to their pets for support and a little winter mood boost.
With many of the U.K. population suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression and anxiety tend to occur more often during the winter months. Though our dogs can be our lifeline all year round, it is during our darkest days that we can really lean on them for support.
A reason to get out and about to improve your winter mood
It may seem like the safest option is to stay behind closed doors right now but this can have a noticeably negative impact on mood. Sunlight and fresh air will help blow the cobwebs away and change your negative mindset.
Owning a dog provides you with a great reason to pound the pavement in the great outdoors and have a change of scenery. You can bring them on different routes and explore the natural beauty of your local area. Indeed, many owners are venturing on more walks than ever before, grateful for their legitimate reason to leave home on such a regular basis.
For many, dog walks are one of the few times they are seeing other people (at a safe distance) and it can be comforting to have some social interaction; even if this is just a cheery wave from across the street!
Your slobbery alarm clock
For those working from home, without the daily commute it can be easy to fall into bad habits and start to get up later than usual. Getting out of bed late can make some feel lethargic and dreary and isn’t necessarily the best start to the day.
Having Bailey barking at your door at 7 a.m. wanting his kibble can be a real blessing in disguise. Whether welcome or not, your furry friend waking you up is a good way to provide structure to your day and to keep a solid routine.
Your cuddle buddy
The benefits of touch tend to go unnoticed. Having a dog around for cuddles and companionship is a big deal. Stroking a dog boosts your natural oxytocin and serotonin levels, helping you feel calmer and more relaxed. There are even health benefits to this kind of interaction, with studies showing a link between owning a dog and reduced blood pressure!
So, while this winter may not be the one we had planned, it can be reassuring to know we have a four-legged friend around to help us through.