With 2023 officially underway, there is no better time for you to step back and evaluate your health from a holistic perspective! It might seem like practicing holistic health solutions is time-consuming, difficult, and burdening. However, there are many easy and effective ways to keep yourself in check. Moreover, did you know that pets are great companions that can aid your holistic health and wellness? Come learn how pets can improve your holistic well-being.
Here are five easy ways your furry friend can benefit your holistic health so that you can be the best version of yourself this new year!
What Is Holistic Health?
Before exploring how pets can benefit your health, it’s important to understand the concept of holistic health.
In general, holistic health is an approach to health that doesn’t solely focus on how you are doing from a physical standpoint. Instead, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are all considered to be important health factors that need to be cared for collectively.
The holistic model of health essentially looks at the whole person, including the intangible–and often overlooked–aspects of your health. These parts are all interconnected, and if one component of your health is encountering a problem, then they all are affected in some way.
With that in mind, let’s get into how pets can help with your journey in holistic health.
1. Pets Help With Stress and Anxiety
The first way in which pets help with holistic health and wellness is by lowering stress and anxiety.
According to the National Institutes of Health, when you interact with an animal, your levels of cortisol and blood pressure are reduced. These are two major stress indicators that pets can help lower simply by playing with them, walking them, and cuddling with them!
In addition to natural ways to overcome anxiety, pets are great for helping people become less anxious. Most people who have a cat or dog feel safe, loved, and never judged in the presence of their pet. Likewise, pets can help with anxiety by helping you become more grounded in the moment. For instance, they are not focused on something that happened a week ago or that might happen a week from now. In general, pets help with anxiety because you feel calm around them while being present.
Pets Help With Emotional Connection
One of the many holistic health solutions that our furry friends help to provide is forming meaningful emotional connections. In fact, there is a reason why the old adage states that “a dog (or pet) is a man or woman’s best friend”.
You might notice that you can always turn to your pet for comfort. No matter what mood you are in, they are always a source of unconditional love.
If you are sad and have a dog, then you can cuddle with them to feel better, or tell them all about the stress in your life.
Similarly, when you have a pet you have to spend time with them because they need to be nurtured and provided for. You need to feed your pet, play with them, take them on walks, and so on. Your pet will become dependent on you for their care, so you will feel a sense of purpose and connection.
Pets Help With Physical Activity
Clearly, physical well-being is a major part of your holistic health, and pets can help ensure that you are living an active lifestyle. If you have a dog, then you will need to take them on daily walks to make sure they go to the bathroom and get plenty of exercise.
In general, breeds will demand at least one – two hours of exercise per day. If you have a larger pup, then this means you can easily get an hour or two of exercise, too. On the other hand, senior dogs and smaller dog breeds will only need about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day. Regardless of the breed you own, exercising your dog is a great way for you to get your steps in!
On top of walking your four-legged friend, you also have to play with them. Playing tug or fetch with them are great ways to use muscles in your own body that might not be getting used as much as they should be. If you love the scenery, then going on hikes with your furry friend is another great way for the two of you to be more physically active.
As a word of caution, pets are more fragile than humans. When being physically active with them, make sure you are prepared for sudden injuries. There are many amazing natural pet remedies for injuries that you can try for minor damage to your pet.
Beyond that, you might want to consider pet insurance as well in case your pet gets seriously injured when engaging in physical activities. Finding out how to use pet insurance is important, as it can give you the knowledge and confidence necessary to get your pet the medical attention they need swiftly if they get suddenly sick or hurt. At the same time, it can give you peace of mind knowing your pet will be taken care of when needed.
Pets Help With Social Interaction
Another extension of holistic health entails socialization, as it plays a major role in your mental health. Humans are social beings, in which social interaction is crucial to a happy and balanced life. If you never go out and connect with others, you might risk feeling lonely or depressed. However, pets force us to meet others.
If you have a pet that requires walking, you are likely to meet other pet owners on your walk. After all, most furry friends will want to say hi to every other pet in their neighborhood, so you will have the chance to meet other pet owners. Concurrently, you might even bond with other pet owners over your love of pets, different pet-related experiences, or other common interests.
Some pets, especially dogs, love going to the park to run around and play with their friends. Like taking your pet on walks, this is another great opportunity for you to socialize with others who have similar interests. Who knows, maybe you could even plan a few puppy play dates, in which you can also hang out with new friends you make!
Pets Help With Routine
One final holistic health and wellness way pets help is by following a thought-out routine. Although having a well-balanced routine isn’t one of the direct holistic health solutions, it can still help you feel more organized and less anxious about your day, and maximize your productivity.
If you have a dog then you are well aware that they need to go to the bathroom outside at many different points throughout the day. They also need to be fed at certain times and of course, you can’t forget that they need exercise and playtime.
Creating a dog schedule to do all of these things will ensure that your pup is living its best life. At the same time, you are able to have a solid routine every day that coincides well with your life, as you can plan the pet's schedule around what you have going on each day.
For example, if you are working from home, you might plan to take your dog for a walk on one of your breaks. Or, if you tend to sleep in and are feeling like it is hurting your productivity, start taking your furry friend outside in the morning to go to the bathroom. Once they start going to the bathroom consistently in the morning, you will have to continue to get up early to take them outside, while allowing yourself time to be productive.
Some people feel anxious at ambiguity or when things don’t go as planned. Owning a pet and creating a routine with them will help you eliminate some stress and anxiety while being the best possible you.
Practicing holistic health is more important than ever in today’s world. For pet owners, be mindful of the fact that your furry friend can aid and benefit you in the journey of maintaining your holistic health and wellness. Take each day a step and paw at a time, and you will be feeling healthier than ever before!