On the surface there’s very little to be happy about right now. Since COVID-19 hit the world, panic buying, social distancing stress, quarantine and isolation quickly became a reality. We’re living in crazy times and can’t be sure of what’s going to happen next. However, let’s try to take a step back, a deep breath, live in the now and be thankful for what we do have, and for what and who makes us happy. While International Day of Happiness (20 March) seems like the last day we should be celebrating, our pets might disagree…
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“No one makes us happier than our pets. In times of crisis and panic we search for ways to make us feel calmer and at ease and it’s long been proven that our pets can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression,” explains Carla Bath, marketing manager at Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
She adds that when going through a difficult time, pet parents will testify to the fact that their pet is the one to pick-up on their emotions and provide unconditional love and comfort; when humans sometimes just can’t.
So, how can we celebrate International Day of Happiness in a time of social distancing?
Read to take your mind off things
When was the last time you got lost in a book? Take some time out to delve into the book that’s been collecting dust on your side table, curl up on your bed with your dog or cat snuggled beside you and relax for a couple of hours.
Play, move and get into the garden
Pets love learning new things and playing games. Even old dogs and cats can learn new tricks.
Playing with your pet will be physically and mentally rewarding for both of you. If you have stairs at home, encourage your dog to run up and down them with you, or if you don’t, why not run around the living room (you can run on the spot) or up and down the passage.
For cats, household items can be turned into a game; why not tie an empty toilet roll to a piece of string and entice your cat to run after it?
Make a gratitude list
Making a list of things you’re grateful for can have a positive impact on your mood and boost levels of happiness. Thinking about the positive aspects of life like no school traffic, time with your kids at home, the internet, sunshine and the company of your pets is a great exercise in promoting an all-round happier mindset.
Research has revealed that people with pets are happier, with an increase in self-esteem.
“Pets have an amazing ability to lift our spirits just by being there and are a great source of companionship,” Carla says.
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