Right now, we are all grappling with the reality of the COVID-19 outbreak in some way.
New words have spontaneously entered our everyday vocabulary – social distancing, quarantine, flattening the curve. Our lifestyles are looking increasingly different, with physical isolation, changing work schedules and home school juggling all playing a part.
In times of such rapid change, we tend to hold fast to the constants around us. Those aspects of our life that we can trust to stay the same.
And for all of us who are pet parents? Our fur-babies undoubtedly provide this kind of comfort.
You may have found yourself more grateful than ever for those four-legged friends – I know we certainly have! It’s no wonder why.
They provide us with so much love, affection and pure pleasure even on the days when things are already going swimmingly.
And that special pet superpower? It only gets multiplied when hard times hit.
We’ve thinking about the amazing benefits our pets bring us in moments like this. Here’s what we came up with:
Pet superpower #1: They reinforce purpose and routine
When everything feels a little up in the air, there’s nothing like your pet to ground you in the present moment.
Your pets rely on you for all their physical and emotional needs. Regardless of the day. Regardless of what’s going on in the outside world.
They simply ask to be looked after – and they dish out unconditional love in return.
And sometimes, that is such a helpful reminder. Especially in times when we might be feeling a little lacking in the purpose department. Much like kids, our little fur babies bring so much routine and responsibility into our lives.
And even when things feel all too hard, we can centre ourselves by knowing that what we’re doing is for their benefit. It’s humbling, it’s beautiful and it can help us get back on our feet and keep on keeping on.
Plus, they can even keep us on track when it comes to establishing new routines. Exhibit A? Working from home habits. Nothing like a furry little manager holding you accountable while perched on your desk, right?!
(For guaranteed laughs, check out this fabulous Instagram account to see how everyone is coming to terms with their new office boss!)
Pet superpower #2: They give us endless amounts of love and affection
Everyone knows the healing effect of a puppy licking your face. Our pets are always on hand to give us affection and it makes for such a powerful mood-booster.
Think of all the ways your fur-baby can make you smile over the course of a day, whether it’s by weaving through your legs or coming and sitting flush in your lap and blocking any chance of seeing the TV.
This kind of willingness to love and be loved is incredibly positive and can quickly abate any feelings of loneliness or unease.
This is especially true in the times we’ve living in. As you deal with the reality of social distancing and isolation, you may find yourself craving physical touch. This makes sense – we can’t shake hands, hug our friends or high-five our co-workers and that lack of physical, tactile communication can have a profound impact on our mental health.
But no matter what? We can cuddle our pets. And that’s exactly the kind of TLC that many of us need right now.
Pet superpower #3: They’re amazing for our physical and mental health
The health benefits of pets are well documented – and they become even more important during difficult times.
Without work and social engagements, we are spending more time being sedentary.
And as important as these lifestyle changes are for our collective safety, they can erode mental and physical health if we don’t keep them in check.
Having a pet around is a great reminder to stay active. At the time of writing, we’re able to go outside for exercise (provided we ourselves are healthy and we’re doing so in a safe and physically distant way). And for pet parents, this is an important, daily ritual as we take our dogs out to stretch their legs and soak up that sunshine.
Plus, we can incorporate more indoor workouts into our day, without even leaving the comfort of our lounge room and find ways to keep our pets active alongside us.
This sense of responsibility is a really powerful motivator and helps us make time for fitness at a time when we could easily put it off.
And of course, the benefits go far beyond the physical. Our pets provide comfort and unconditional love and these supports are essential to our mental health.
Especially in periods of rapid, unexpected change, we crave some stability. And the wagging tail of our best friend? That’s a ready-made dose of stability right there!
Plus, this extra important if you have kids who may be struggling to adapt to new routines. For more reasons why pets are great for our kids, check out this article.
In short? Our pets give us the purpose we need when things get tough.
And we are oh-so-lucky to have them.