Written by forhers.com

Self-care is crucial for having a healthy, productive lifestyle. According to the American Psychological Association, two out of three American adults reported feeling more stressed out due to the global pandemic. With so much going on in our lives, it can be tough to set aside the time to focus on your mental health. If you have a pet, you are well aware that they can bring you so much love and joy. But did you know that they can also help you practice self-care?

Check out these ways that your pet can help you unwind and relax.

Unplug With Your Pet

Now that most of our professional lives and social interaction happen on our phones, it can be hard to just be in the moment. If you feel like your phone is having a detrimental effect on your mental health, you should set aside some time to unplug with your pet. Whether it’s playing with your dog in your backyard or going for a walk around the block, you will be away from your phone and able to relax. Unplugging has been linked to improved sleep and greater levels of productivity. A key part of developing a self-care routine is breaking free from troubling habits. By putting away your phone and focusing on spending some quality time with your pet, you will be able to be in the here and now.

Exercise With Your Pet

For many people, exercise is a fundamental part of their self-care routine. Regular physical activity can help you fight high blood pressure, manage your weight, and boost your energy and mood. Pets — particularly dogs — love to be super active. Practice self-care with your dog by taking them with you on your morning jog or walk around the block. Some dogs even enjoy swimming — another cardio activity packed with mental and physical benefits.

Get Creative With Your Pet

For thousands of years, artists have used creative expression as a form of self-care. Instead of bottling everything in, art can give you an outlet to make sense of the chaos of your life and gain some space and closure. On top of that, creative expression can help you reduce stress and deal with anything that’s weighing on your psyche. Your pet can be your ideal muse! If you are looking for a subject for your drawings, paintings, or photographs, set aside some time to get creative with your pet. If you prefer the written word, you can write an adventure series starring your four-legged companion. Whatever works for you — just enjoy yourself!

Declutter With Your Pet

When you get a pet, you need to make room for their needs in your home. That means setting aside some space for them to sleep and eat and finding some room in your pantry for their food. Though change can breed uncertainty, you can use this as a chance to declutter your home. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a while and embark on a new chapter. Decluttering can boost your confidence and decrease your anxiety and stress.

Do Something Silly With Your Pet

Sometimes, the best way of practicing self-care is just being a little silly. When you’re an adult, there’s so much pressure to always be perfectly serious. Why not unwind every now and then? Studies show that laughter can bring some much-needed relief from stress. Here are some silly things you can do with your pet:

  • Dress Up: On Halloween, do a matching costume together! Maybe you can be an angel and you can get your dog Satan horns. Whatever it is, remember to take plenty of pictures!
  • Watch A Funny Movie: Do you need someone to watch a funny movie with? Instead of waiting on a friend to be free, snuggle up with your pet and press play on that outrageous comedy you have been needing to watch for a while.
  • Sing A Song: Dogs aren’t judgmental. If you want to get a little goofy, go ahead and sing that over-the-top song in front of them.

Socialize With Your Pet

Socializing regularly can help you feel less isolated and subsequently boost your mental health. Though there’s nothing wrong with figuring out ways to be happy alone, socializing is definitely an act of self-care. Pets offer a myriad of opportunities for having fun with friends. You can meet up with other dog owners at a local park and make instant connections that can last a lifetime. You can also bond with other people about the best way to take care of your pet and which types of supplements, such as CBD for dogs work best.

Pets are fantastic for practicing self-care. If you are feeling like you are going through a tough time, you should integrate your pet into your self-care routine. In addition, you should look into doing online therapy and finding readily available treatments to help with your mental health. You can also check out online anonymous support groups and link with people who are going through the same thing. Just remember, you are far from alone!