Winter Blues: A Little Help from Our Friends
Waking up on a grey morning can make it difficult to kick-start your body for the day ahead. The sun is our body’s fuel in more ways than one; it provides Vitamin D, and our bodies are tuned in to when the sun starts shining. When we wake up to grey skies, our body is missing the crucial element that helps us snap out of our sleep cycle.
The reality of living in the Pacific Northwest is our infamous rainy season. Having something that depends on you can be a huge motivator on the days when staying in bed seems like the better option. Some animals require more responsibility than others, but providing for another being is gratifying and your animal always appreciate the attention!
For 20% of Americans, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) presents itself during the winter months. Mild symptoms can include lethargy, mood swings, anxiety, and problems sleeping. Due to the lack of sunlight exposure, our bodies produce more melatonin, a sleep-related hormone which has been linked to cause symptoms of depression.
While a pet will not cure depression, their presence can alleviate or ease symptoms of SAD. Other common therapy techniques include Phototherapy, the practice of using special lights that mimic the sunlight and cause our bodies to produce Vitamin D.
Pets provide stability, they are always happy to see you at the end of the day no matter what. There are many physical and mental health benefits to owning an animal:
- A study released by the American Heart Association found that pet owners have lower heart rates as they age and are at a lower risk for heart disease.
- Petting a dog or cat for any period of time actually helps to lower and stabilize your heart rate and releases serotonin and dopamine – two chemicals that work together to balance your mood and trigger happiness.
- When we connect with our pets, oxytocin is released – a hormone related to stress and anxiety relief.
- Being around animals has been proven to reduce anxiety. Our pet’s presence is comforting and stable; we can always depend on them being there for us.
- Pet owners are less likely to be lonely.
- Taking care of an animal gives our lives more structure. Having another being depend on us for food, exercise, and attention often makes us more responsible in our own self-care as well.
- Having a steady presence in our home is reassuring and creates a sense of security.
- Pets live in the moment, and they help us be more mindful and remain in the present.
It has been proven that dog owners are likely to be more social on a daily basis. Taking your dog on a walk is mentally stimulating for them and for you as well. It is a great way to explore your neighborhood and get to know the surrounding area. When your dog stops to sniff things, it’s a great reminder to slow down and appreciate the moment.
Pets On Broadway is starting Run Club!
Run Club is a great opportunity to meet other pet owners, try out some cool pet-designed running gear, and get moving during these rainy months. Joining any kind of group club or activity is a great way to meet new people, and having a set schedule can help give everyone something to look forward to. Click here for more info!
Living in Portland, sometimes having a dog in your home (or apartment) just isn’t a reality.Volunteering at shelters is a great way to get involved within your community and provide love and attention to an animal who really needs it. Taking dogs for walks or socializing with the cats is a win-win situation for both you and the shelter!
Small animals, birds, fish, and reptiles can all have bonds with their humans and provide their own sense of comfort and uncomplicated love.
After putting in all the hard work that comes with giving your furry friend the best care you can, there’s nothing better than the reward of a wagging tail or a purring nuzzle to remind you just how much you are loved and appreciated!