How To Care For Your Mental Health In The New Year

How To Care For Your Mental Health In The New Year

Mental Health In The New Year, by Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru at MattieDogIt’s a fresh new year and people are lacing up their new running shoes to hit the gym, focused on their physical wellness. Being fit is a great resolution, I should know I just spent $120 on tennis shoes. Yup, tennis…shoes…for my feet! Yes, feet are important and so is your back. Good support costs… Hey, good support does cost! I have insurance, so didn’t have to use my tennis shoe money toward my annual mental health check-up. Like an annual physical with a doctor, scheduling a little one-on-one time with someone who can help you sort through your stuff is an important self-care step!

Mental Health In The New Year

Approximately 25% of Americans, at any one time, experience some form of mental health issue. Anxiety is on the rise due to our fast-paced, always on, wired, lifestyles. A small dose of stress is normal. Yet it takes very little to move from normal to overwhelming feelings of worry brought on by an upcoming event or uncertain outcome. Control! It’s just an illusion, yet many of us seek it out, it can become all consuming to the point of frustration (to ourselves and others, including our fuzzy family members). Just like spirituality, control cannot be found in external things, the only thing you can control is yourself. Often it’s this desire to establish more control that tips people into anxiety. What to do about it? Take care of your mental health in the new year.

Pets and Your Mental Health

Mental Health In The New Year, by Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru at MattieDogWhen you’re down, what do you do (besides eat ice cream)? Hug your dog! Or cat or whatever critter you have in your family. Animals do not judge. They accept us for what we are, and acceptance is the basis for feeling supported. Right now my fuzzies are accepting me while I revamp my exercise routine (by ‘revamp’ I mean ‘start’). But is this just feel good or is there any factual evidence? What role does our pet play in our mental health? According to Dr. Helen Brooks from the University of Manchester, who just conducted groundbreaking research on this topic, pets help people manage their long-term mental health conditions. Humans felt more calm due to the consistent, close physical presence of their pet. Dr Brooks added, “These insights provide the mental health community with possible areas to target intervention and potential ways in which to better involve people in their own mental health service provision through open discussion of what works best for them.”

Dr. Brooks’ research identified the benefits an animal’s unconditional love has on a human’s mental health. Read the University of Manchester press release here, and the actual study/peer review here.

Take Care of You and Your Pup

Mental Health In The New Year, by Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru at MattieDogThings, when fresh, like the beginning of 2017 and even a new puppy, look sparkly, fun and inspiring. How do you keep that energy? How do I plan to keep my inspiration to, day-after-day, without excuse, lace up my fancy new sneakers, and go running…even in the face of the spitting Pacific Northwest rain? I’m going to snuggle with my dogs more frequently and also keep my mental health in-check. Literally! “Hey self, how’s it going? Feeling good?” If not, then I’ll increase the frequency of my my mental-health check-ups to monthly – and if things go well as I think they should, heck, I may even try a marathon by the end of 2017! Every day is precious, and so is our health: physical, spiritual and mental. Staying in balance is a good goal for every new year – because with it you’ll be better positioned to enjoy this glorious world with your pup by your side!

Do dogs get depressed? Yes they do, we explore this topic in this article.

Here are some items we’ve found beneficial to enhancing our mental health!

Mental Health In The New Year by Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru at MattieDogMental Health In The New YearDog Medicine BookFinding Harmony Book

Be sure to check out: Add a Pet to Your Family & Save Your Health

Thanks for reading, and until next time – take care and keep on lovin’ your dog!

Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru at MattieDog

 

MattieDog Gets Adopted, Shih tau rescue, story of a dog's rescue and adoption

 

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59 Comments

  1. The ‘always on’ attitude is one reason we are revamping our online routine and limiting it to NZ mornings as much as we can.

    Nothing except family needs an ‘immediate’ response and very little is really life or death, so turning off and away from the computer will allow me to spend time assembling my half made quilt, and learn Adobe Illustrator (and yes the wi-fi will be turned off so I am not tempted!

    Have a peaceful and fearless New Year!
    The Dsh Kitten Crew recently posted…Make 2017 Your YearMy Profile

    Reply
    • That is such a healthy attitude – I am so inspired by your choices! Let me know how your self-taught Illustrator learning goes – we’d like to do this too!

      Reply
    • Pets are such motivators – you are so right, and one of the reason they are so good for our mental health!

      Reply
  2. We can so easily forget to take care of ourselves and become overwhelmed in the process. It’s easy to say we need to take time out just for us, but we must do it! Even if it means going for a short walk, sitting quietly, or reading a favourite book. Of course what makes these times out even better, is doing it with our pets beside us. The gentle purr of our cat, or the warmth of a dog curled up beside us can do so much for our relaxation and mental health.

    Reply
    • So true, we can become overwhelmed and fairly easily – often we slip, not one big heave-ho into anxiousness. Reading can help the mind slow down – and so can petting a pet, or playing with one. Our minds need frequent breaks from the always in demand style that many of us adhere to!
      MattieDog recently posted…How To Care For Your Mental Health In The New YearMy Profile

      Reply
  3. I’m trying to do better about disconnecting (and not feeling guilty!) from the wired world. This past holiday, I spent more time with my animals and family than in a long time, and have noticed a positive difference. Hard to break habits, though. *s* Great post, thanks!

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  4. Good work spreading awareness Mattie Dog!
    I was just reading about this today, looking at the benefits of animal therapy visits in hospitals.
    The power of pets is amazing.
    Happy New Year!

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  5. Without Layla I would be a bear with a sore head, she is my anchor and one thing I really do is when we are out and about together, parks etc I do not use my phone or any electronics to spend quality time plus it balances me out big time

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  6. I love this post so much! This is a huge thing for me, and really resonates. Rama is a very large part of my mental health and we live this subject. Thanks for writing this post! It is so very important!

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  7. Thanks for this. Work is always a big goal for me, but this year I really am committed to focusing more on ME! Your post is inspiring. Thank you.

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  8. This is a good and sound article. Mental health is a pillar to a quality life. So is a dog!

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  9. I’m a Type A personality and a diagnosed OCD/Perfectionist, so I definitely experience stress. I wish my health insurance covered my trips to the doctor for mental health. Thankfully, I have two beautiful girls who help relieve my stress.

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  10. Great post! My dogs definitely help a lot with my stress.

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  11. I think pets really help keep people balanced. Two of my dogs are good about picking up on people’s moods and snuggling them when they are down or upset. A person I know has panic anxiety and only has her pets to keep her company. They help her a lot when she’s on the edge. (She also has a lot of people she can call anytime, but most of the times her cats are enough.)

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    • That’s wonderful that your friend has pets – they often make the difference in an individual’s self care. Pets are fabulous in helping humans maintain a nice level of calm. Thank you for stopping by!

      Reply
  12. What an inspirational post! You’re so right, it’s important to keep our physical, mental, & spiritual health in balance. This past year the mental & spiritual health took a bit of a back seat for me, so much stress! I’m going to rectify that in 2017 and try to generate more of the Good hormones and less of the Bad hormones!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv them

    Reply
  13. This post is a great reminder as we enter a fresh new year! Exercise helps with the blues. I’m adding those books to my reading list – thanks.

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  14. What an awesome post. I must share! Good luck on your fitness. I love that dogs can help with our mental health. They are so awesome!

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  15. My little one often gives me the excuse I need to leave a space that I find stressful and is triggering my anxiety. Like … large crowded parties or a difficult family member the “Takign the dog out for a bit” card is a god sent.

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  16. Pets are definitely an important part of our overall wellbeing. Having my cats was always such a comfort, but having dogs really forces me to get out of the house and moving. You’re always bound to meet people to talk to and you find you may have left the house feeling down, but you never return in that state.

    Reply
  17. Dogs, and other pets are wonderful to help lower stress and anxiety! My daughter has a therapy pet. She did not even have to pay a pet deposit at her apartment with a letter from her therapist because pets ARE considered good therapy. Wonderful article and it is sad how many of us suffer with stress, depression, anxiety, etc these days.
    Joely Smith recently posted…January Is National Walk Your Pet Month – Tips And Ideas For Better Pet Walking ExperiencesMy Profile

    Reply
    • That is just wonderful – I had never even thought of that (the apartment deposit)! It would make for a good survey – to help get the word out about how therapy pets! Thanks for stopping by!
      MattieDog recently posted…How To Care For Your Mental Health In The New YearMy Profile

      Reply
  18. Excellent awareness post! No one knows what someone is going through. I know several people who are close to me who have been dealing with anxiety and depression, hidden behind their public smiles. When I was young, I lost my father to a sudden heart attack when I was just 14. We had horses and I was very involved in their care, training, and showing. They helped me through a very scary and sad period in my youth. After suffering two devastating losses last holiday season (my mother after a fall and entering rehab and eventually passing, and the sudden loss one of my Huskies & heart dog, Gibson just a few short weeks later right before Christmas) and this season (my nephew, who lived with anxiety issues and his dog was his constant companion), the love of family and my pets brought light and laughter through the dark times. Through the overwhelming loss of loved ones, the power of my Huskies’ love is just amazing. When you feel that darkness of grief starting to envelope, just being around, looking at them, petting them, playing with them, even the simple act of going out in the yard and just walking and talking with them is so healing. They can make you laugh through the tears and pain. I know of soldiers who have PTSD and the love of a pet has helped them tremendously. I’ve seen pets bring smiles to the elderly who are infirmed and living with depression. We do tend to forget to take care of ourselves when we are busy tending to others who need us. But we must, because how can we help others if we are not feeling well? The power of unconditional love and healing that pets have is truly one of life’s blessings. Pinning your important post.
    FiveSibesMom Dorothy recently posted…Auld Lang SyneMy Profile

    Reply
    • What a beautiful and heartfelt comment – thank you so much for sharing your story. You are exactly right, we never truly know what another person is going through. Kindness and compassion go a long way – and I think that, in part, is why animals are so good for our mental health. I will keep you in my thoughts – sending you blessings.

      Reply
  19. Pets can make a huge difference to our mental and emotional health – just petting a cat or dog is very soothing.

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  20. This is a great post to remind people of the importance of mental health issues. Pets can be such a comfort when we need it.

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  21. Such a wonderful post and an important reminder. Something that’s stuck with me–from where, I can’t remember, though–is the idea that you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. I love the idea of having that choice, and my default is totally to take my dogs for a hike to clear my head or curl up and cuddle in their dog beds! (Also, I’m super jealous of your awesome running shoes!! I’m going to check them out as running one 5k per quarter is one of my 2017 goals!)

    Reply
    • Maggie, that is so true – we can only control ourselves, how we react! We love that you are enjoying your life with your pups, hiking to help make life great! Yup, the tennis shoes are pretty awesome – now only if my running times can be as fantastic as the shoes look!
      MattieDog recently posted…When You Are Dog Is Allergic To Grass It Can Be A Pain In The….My Profile

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  22. No doubt that pets, especially dogs, can be a wonderful help along with other treatment for mental health. Nothing like a cuddle and Kilo’s big brown eyes.

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  23. This is such an important reminder. Pets have helped me in so many ways over the years. Thanks for bringing the topic of mental health forward and I’m really interested to read your post about pets and depression!

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  24. I have to admit my guilt here. I am one of those people that tends to put everything before taking care of myself. Luckily, I have two wonderful kitties that make sure that I slow down enough for a good cuddle every day. I do suffer from a mental illness – bipolar depression. If you ask me, pets can help a lot with keeping things calm and rational when it is hard.

    Reply
  25. I am so glad you wrote about this, Rebecca. I honestly can attest that having a work-from-home career means having a dog by my side. Dogs are as important to me as oxygen, food, and well, just being. Taking care of you is super important, and your post nailed this topic spot on!

    Reply
  26. This is an awesome post. It is true our pets are our greatest motivators i pack in quite a bit of exercise for myself when i am pet sitting for my clients. Somehow taking a jog or a walk is so much more fun with a leash in your hand

    Reply
    • Hi Malaika – we completely agree!! There is something so soothing to the soul when it’s a little time spent with a fun, loving and nonjudgmental little fuzz ball!
      MattieDog recently posted…Can A Dog Really Live In A Tiny House?My Profile

      Reply

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