This fall, Sean and I were talking about how we were going to proactively combat both of our tendencies to fall into a seasonal slump. We brainstormed some of the things that got us so blue last year, and tried to cook up some ideas to avoid them. My favorite solution out of all of them?
This ridiculously fluffy little man came into our lives just before Thanksgiving, because we realized that having an animal around would dramatically benefit our mental health throughout the winter, and help us learn how to care for something other than just ourselves. Neither of us were self-proclaimed “cat people”, but it doesn’t matter. We are now, baby!
Having an animal has fundamentally changed us for the better. When we’re alone at home, we’re never REALLY alone. Our days no longer just revolve around us and our work schedules. He forces us to be more thoughtful, responsible, and present when we’re just laying around after work and on weekends. Snuggling up next to this little dude is like an instant hit of happy. Because he’s fairly low-maintenance, it hasn’t uprooted our routine entirely so he hasn’t overwhelmed us with the pressures of a big responsibility. He gets us out of bed in the morning, and makes us feel a greater sense of purpose when we go to sleep at night.
Not to mention, he makes us LAUGH. I don’t know if we just got lucky, or what, but Hank is a total clown and keeps us so entertained at all hours. When Sean or I are having a tough day, the second we walk in the door, the tension melts.
Yes, we went to the extreme and adopted a kitten But you don’t have to own a pet, to feel the benefits of being around animals. Try taking a walk by a dog park, or stopping by a kitty cafe – they have those things everywhere now! Or if you don’t live in a city, head to a farm in your town and pet the nose of a horse or cow. Horse noses are the softest. Also goats! My town in Maine has a legendary goat farm, and they make me stupidly happy whenever I go for a visit. Just petting an animal is proven to boost your mood almost instantly.
There’s something about the innocence, unconditional affection, and camaraderie of animals that makes a huge difference to our mental health. If you think you’re in a place where you can afford an animal (the vet bills are real!), and can provide him or her a good life, I can guarantee you, they will provide you everything you’ve ever needed in terms of love and healing in return.
Remember! Until the February 15th, I’m doing a daily post with a different way I’ve combated burnout and seasonal depression. But this is a 2-way street! I want to know how you all manage your burnouts or seasonal depression, so tag your photos and help inspire others by using the hashtag #GimmeSomeSugarChallenge.
Check out my Instagram for more, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about Investing in something beautiful that’s also good for you