Beat the Monday Blues with Your Pet

| January 13, 2023

Cold weather, fewer daylight hours, and post-holiday blues are all factors that contribute to feelings of sadness around this time of year. January tends to feel like a duller month for many. Right in the middle of the month, on January 16th, is “Blue Monday” which is described as the saddest day of the year.  

To help combat these negative feelings, many take the opportunity to increase awareness on mental health issues. Self-care has become increasingly important over the past few years, and that’s especially true this January, for “Blue Monday”, and beyond.  

Here are ways that being around your four-legged friend, and working on your unique human-animal bond, will bring you much more happiness into your life as we kick off 2023.  

Pet Therapy

Pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy, is recognized by National Institute of Mental Health as a legitimate way to treat depression. It is used at CAMH and other organizations to help those struggling with depression. 

Two is Better Than One

Those struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation are sometimes recommended by their doctors to get a pet. People feel more needed and wanted when they have a pet to care for. The act of caretaking has mental health benefits. Caring for another living thing gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. With their unconditional love, a pet will show you that you’re not alone. 

Comfort in Companionship

Those prone to stress, or even those in a stressful situation, can be calmed down by a pet’s presence. It has been shown that pets can help those overcome some of the most stressful environments. There is also research indicating children with pet dogs have less anxiety growing up. Additionally, the American Heart Association states that having pets — especially a dog — could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Get Your Daily Steps In

It is well known that physical activity reduces the risk of depression and anxiety. Dogs specifically seem to be very effective for treating depression because they force their owner to get up and out for walks outside. Not only that, but because dogs are so routine based, they can help a person with structure, which is so important for fighting depression.  

Animal Talk

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute has suggested that people who have a dog or a cat will be less socially isolated. Animals are great conversation starters, and if you’re taking your dog to the dog park, chances are you’ll strike up a conversation with a fellow dog owner and make a new friend.