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When you’re balancing 40+ hour work weeks, self-care can be hard to prioritize. Luckily, having a dog can substantially alter your stress levels and make all the difference in your day-to-day health routine.
by Jonathan Regev and Brett Podolsky
Whether it’s creating a healthier work/life balance by carving time out of your busy day to play with your pup, or simply staying in one extra night a week, our dogs help us tap into a healthier way of life. The pet experts at The Farmer’s Dog have rounded up a list of “5 Ways Your Canine Companion Can Help You Practice Self-Care,” so you can both stay grounded and grateful.
Time for Play
As busy adults, most of us don’t make enough time for pure play in our daily lives. But play is actually an essential part of maintaining a healthy work/life balance and staying emotionally and mentally fit. Play can be defined as the activities we do to unwind and relax that bring us contentment and emotional satisfaction. Our dogs allow us to tap into that childlike sense of play. Playing with your dog elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that affect mood and have calming properties. Just a few minutes of petting your pup can also release several other feel good hormones, including oxytocin, and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Eat Well, Feel Well
As fun as it can be to indulge in pizza and candy on the weekends, eating real, fresh food is a powerful form of self-care. Whole, nourishing foods keep us feeling our best, and the same goes for our dogs. But while we have the ability to implement balance in our lives and pick our “cheat” days, our dogs eat the same things every day. Feed healthy, fresh food that’s minimally processed and made from a company you can trust and you’ll give them the best form of care.
Breathe. Preferably Fresh Air.
Having a dog can also be beneficial with helping us spend more time outside – we walk them, take them to the park, and receive the benefits of gentle exercise every day. Several studies have found consistent evidence that the relationship you have with your pet can result in greater self-esteem and physical fitness, in addition to making you more conscientious and outgoing.
More HQ Sleep
Having a dog also gives us an incentive to come home from the party earlier than usual and get more sleep.
Contrary to popular belief, letting your four-legged friend into the bedroom does not worsen your sleep. A new Mayo Clinic study shows that it may actually help you rest easier.
Bonding over a dog helps facilitate the kind of authentic closeness that can lead to a more fulfilling relationship with a new friend. Icebreakers are always awkward, but dogs skip the small talk. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that dog owners are less isolated than their pet-free counterparts because they are more likely to strike up a conversation with a fellow dog walker. And according to Britain’s Warwick University, 40% of people reported making friends much easier as a result of owning a dog. It makes sense to us — nothing facilitates a bond between neighbors quicker than watching their dogs sniff each other’s butts on a sunny day.
Jonathan Regev and Brett Podolsky, are Forbes “30 under 30” entrepreneurs and Co-Founders of The Farmer’s Dog, the leading subscription-based pet food brand.