In this week’s newsletter, we’re talking about all things mental wellbeing and pets. Here at HEP HQ, we’re trying to find the positives in this seemingly never-ending lockdown such as spending more quality time with our pets or finding pleasure in cooking a home meal. Check out our article below and have a go at whipping up Zoe’s most-loved lockdown meal. Like what you see? Let us know. We want to hear what you would like HEP to post.
Furry Friends with Benefits
Did you know, having a pet doesn’t just improve our physical health via increased physical activity, but it has also been shown to promote mental wellbeing? Specifically, having a pet may help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness (I am sure many of you can attest to this since covid lockdowns!!)
- Increase our sense of purpose – having someone to look after, having a daily routine etc.
- Provide physical warmth and companionship just by sitting with you or more likely… hogging the lounge or bed!
- Provide feelings of safety – going for a walk with a dog and/or having them at home to guard the house can help people overcome fears of being unsafe.
- Foster a sense of community and social interactions such as going to a dog park, taking pets to the groomers or simply sharing a common interest with other pet owners.
- Reduce cortisol our stress hormone – it has been shown that stroking a cat or dog for just 10min can reduce cortisol which has a big impact on feelings of stress and anxiety.
So, while on occasion, we may have to bow down to our pets to keep them happy such as cleaning up their hairballs or taking them for a walk in the rain, make sure to remember, you are in a symbiotic relationship with your pet and it offers many benefits to both parties!
Just like animals can benefit from a nutrient-dense diet rich in good quality protein and healthy fats, so too do we as humans, especially when it comes to mood.