Self care

Learning self-care from dogs during COVID19

Anyone with a pet will know that when humans were told they had to stay at home and work, the only ones celebrating were our four-legged friends. All of a sudden, their best two-legged friends were at home all the time, available for cuddles and walkies on demand. Some pets have even offered up assistance to those working from home; being a part of video calls with colleagues and sitting on keyboards when a break is due.

My little Westie, Maisey, has been the star of many work Zoom calls and webinars and people love her! It did get me thinking about dogs and what we can learn from them in this strange and difficult time.

Maisey napping1.Napping – When dogs feel tired, they cuddle up and take a nap. They give in to the tiredness and allow themselves that time to chill and recharge. It has been proven that power naps can be really beneficial to the body and the mind too. So next time you feel a bit lethargic, take a 15-20min nap and you’ll feel revitalised and ready to continue your work.

2. Embracing the postie (or the bin man) – Whenever the postman visits, Maisey goes nuts. She’s so excited that he’s come to the house ‘to see her’ (or what we know as delivering our mail) and she can’t wait for us to open the door to have a look. The next time you get a delivery, why not say ‘thank you’ to your local postman? These guys are on the frontline doing an awesome job so it might just make their day if you thanked them for their service.

3. Appreciating the great outdoors – If you’ve ever asked a dog whether they’d like to go for walkies, you’ll know how enthusiastic the response is. They bounce around, follow you through the house when you’re trying to find your shoes and sit by the front door ready for action. When you get out, they trot along at a quick pace, sniffing and greeting other dogs and humans. They’re so happy and appreciative. A bit like humans during a pandemic. Learn from the animals – Take advantage of your one form of outdoor exercise a day and appreciate the time outside the house. Breathe in the fresh air, explore different routes around where you live and look at the nature surrounding you.

4. Treating yourself! – Dogs love treats. Whenever Maisey is a good girl, she gets a treat. She doesn’t do as she’s told unless there’s a treat in it. Then she sits and behaves as she should. We all know how tricky it is being at home and trying to eat healthily but if you fancy a bar of chocolate or a packet of crisps, do it. Reward yourself for finishing that important piece of work or submitting an assignment on time. You need to appreciate yourself, like you do your pooch.

(Saying this, I’m terrible at treating myself to something sweet and then kicking myself for hours and days afterwards. I need to learn from Maisey who sits for her treat, accepts it, and then forgets about it until the next one!)

5. Forcibly extracting cuddles – Dogs are well known for being soppy and cuddly animals. They love snuggling up to their favourite human to have a snooze or watch TV (Maisey watches TV and will dive straight at it if there are horses, dogs, cats or cartoon koala bears). Take a leaf out of their book and cuddle up with them and your partner, parents or children to watch your favourite programme or film. Cuddles can make things so much better so be liberal with the hugs (if you haven’t got COVID19) and show your appreciation for your housebound buddies.

Writing this made me realise how grateful I am for my fiance and my puppy, especially at the moment. I, like many people, have been in need of some cuddles, attention and love and they’ve both obliged. There’s nothing quite as lovely as a cuddle!

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