If nothing else, the last 12 months have really brought a lot of important things into focus. Things that may have previously been at the bottom of the list due to the pace of everyday life. Nobody can argue that one of the most talked-about subjects (apart from COVID-19 itself) has been that of mental health. So, with that in mind, we thought we’d explore a little more about improving our mental health and how pets can play a huge part.
It’s no secret that having a pet in your life is an enormous responsibility. Having this sense of purpose could help to push the negatives to the side as you focus on creating the perfect relationship between you and your new family member. According to the Kennel Club, 1 in 4 people claim to have impulse-bought a puppy without thinking it through, so make sure this is something you’re 100% certain about. The same study states that two-thirds believe their new pet was a “lifeline” during the lockdown, so you can see that responsibility was incredibly beneficial to mental health.
- A new family member
Having something fresh and new in your life brings a real sense of excitement. When you get a new kitten or puppy, watching them play for hours is one of the best things in the world. They are essentially a new member of the family and will be with you for the rest of their life, bringing a sense of companionship and dependency that will help improve your mental health, as you can see from studies by Mental Health America.
OK, so now you have a pet, you’re going to start establishing some new routines which will help create some stability in your day-to-day life. Early morning walks or set feeding times will be etched into your calendar, giving you a sense of purpose from knowing that these things will not only be important for your pet, but for your wellbeing as well.
- Health and fitness
Staying physically fit and healthy is one of the key contributors to good mental health. By owning a pet, you’re going to have to take it for walks, clean up after it, feed it, train it, play with it and just generally stay on the move as long as they’re in your life. We burn calories whenever we move, so by constantly running around with them, we’ll be able to stay in shape a lot more, contributing to our mental health as much as our physical health.
- Positive environment
Having a pet is fun! As soon as you bring your pet home, you’ll be playing with it, buying it toys, making a bed, and therefore creating a really nice, positive environment for both you and your pet to live in. Coming home every day to a positive environment and spending time with someone who loves you is amazing for your mental health. What’s more, it will benefit the whole family – having a pet will develop kids’ emotional maturity and help them in a range of other ways too.