Tips to Beat Holiday Stress This Season
The US Department of Health confirmed that 28% of heart patients who were pet owners successfully survived a heart attack as opposed to the 6% who did not own a pet! Simply amazing!
The research is limitless, pet ownership helps people live longer, healthier lives. You can find scads of information on the web about the power of owning an animal. It is so well accepted in the medical field that some doctors even recommend patients get pets to improve their length and quality of life!
- Many retirement homes, health institutions and therapist offer pet therapy to improve rehabilitation and overall health.
- Pets lower our blood pressure, often as much as the benefits of lowering your sodium and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo recently conducted a study where some stock brokers were provided with pets and their high blood pressure medication, and others just continued with medication. Six months later when faced with a high stress situation the stock brokers without pets had a marked rise in their blood pressure.
- Pet ownership protects us from stress, which can lead to poor mental and emotional health and a number of physical problems.
- Owning a dog, specifically, had been shown to lead to an increase in physical activity and it may help to develop social relationships which provide emotional and physical benefits.
The Holiday season has to be one of the most stressful times of the year for most of us. Normally busy weeks are compounded with the stress of holiday shopping, financial constraints, baking, parties and overall stretching ourselves too thin for 5 weeks or more! Although many of these events are fun, the strain of deadlines and an added work load can take a toll on you mentally and physically.
You already have a furry therapist and a helper in your home, you just need to make time with your best friend to reap the benefits. Even when your schedule seems to be overflowing with commitments, you need to make some time for yourself!
- Train together. Teach your dog a trick that you can showcase at a party or upcoming holiday meal. You will reap the benefits of spending time together and your dog will be learning.
- Take a walk. A daily stroll with your dog will help to decrease stress and the Mayo Clinic admits virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever. Exercise increases your health and sense of well being. It also improves your mood and pumps up your endorphins.
- Go for a ride. Take your best friend out with you for an errand or two or just drive around and enjoy Christmas lights in your neighborhood.
- Steal away together. So your day is just too busy for a walk or a ride or even a training session? Find a quiet room and just snuggle with and pet your dog for a few moments. Just interacting with and petting an animal reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and improves your sense of well being.
You owe it to yourself to reap the benefits from a relationship you already share! Not only will spending time with your dog make you feel better and help you live longer, it will also give him the gift he deserves the gift of time and love and it will strengthen your bond. Go ahead, go get your dog and wrack up some therapy time!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.