We’ve all been affected by the current pandemic in one way or another. If you’re the owner of a dog grooming business, you’ve likely had to shut down while social distancing is in effect. Perhaps you’re a front-line employee, and still required to show up to work. Or maybe you’re a dog grooming student at an online school, but being stuck indoors all day is starting to bring you down.
Everyone has a different story, but we’re all experiencing stress. This is definitely a weird time we’re living in! As days have turned to weeks, people are beginning to grow tired of all the self-isolation. Even the most introverted of us are starting to feel a little stagnant and lonely.
Such abnormal circumstances can spell disaster for our mental health. In fact, Morneau Shepell’s most recent Mental Health Index revealed that mental health has dropped by 16% since the COVID-19 crisis first started.
Mental health is not always talked about, but it should be. At the very least, because it’s just as important as your physical health! Things are difficult enough right now; we don’t need them to be any harder on us.
It’s critical that we prioritize our well-being, and ensure to make an effort to do things during our days that will bring us joy.
So, here are some tips that you can use to your advantage. While we’re by no means medical expert, we’re hopeful that at least one of these suggestions will resonate with you, and bring a little sunshine to your day!
1. Get some sunshine
This can be as effortless as sitting out in the backyard, or on your balcony, for as little as 20 minutes a day. If it’s especially nice and sunny outside, it’ll be an extra welcomed switch from being cooped up inside.
Trust us, your body and mind will thank you!
Fresh air is scientifically proven to be good for you, after all. Given that so many of us are going a little stir crazy indoors lately, it provides us with a much-needed change of scenery. On top of that, getting outside offers these additional perks:
- It decreases stress
- Breathing in cleaner oxygen increases the amount of serotonin (a.k.a. the happy hormone) in your brain
- It’ll give you your daily source of Vitamin D
- And so much more!
And if you happen to have a dog? Bring him outside with you! Fresh air is just as beneficial for Rover as it is for you! Plus, you’ll both enjoy each other’s company.
2. Go for a walk
Taking a walk is a good idea, no matter what. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been sitting cross-legged at home so much these days that my knees are almost constantly aching now.
We need to make it a habit to get out and stretch our muscles – especially now that the weather is getting so nice. Sitting around all the time is bad for our muscles, our joints, and our mindset.
That being said, if you also have a dog, this is when the idea goes from good to great. We all know how much dogs already love their walks. But going for a walk with YOU? That’s probably his favorite thing ever!
Not only does this tip tie in with getting fresh air, it also gives you – and your dog – daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything overly strenuous, either. Even a 15-to-20-minute walk around your neighborhood every day will result in amazing benefits for both your body and overall mental health.
Plus, it’ll do the same for your dog. He gets bored being stuck in the house all day, too!
Important note: If you’re in a hard-hit area, you might be under a strict stay-at-home order that prohibits going outside for any non-essential reason. If that’s the case where you live, please follow those directives. As much as they suck, they’re put in place to help save your life. Don’t be like that one guy in Spain who took a TOY dog out for a ‘walk’ and wound up getting arrested!
3. Keep in touch with loved ones
Your family and friends are likely in the same boat as you, and could use some company. Try to be in contact with at least one person a day, even if it’s nothing more than a 5-minure phone call. Even better, video chatting is a wonderful way to stay in touch.
No, it won’t be as good as the real thing. But seeing other people’s faces is therapeutic in its own way, and is way better than nothing.
Regardless of your preferred method of contact, what’s important is that you do keep in touch with others. As human beings, we require some level of connection. These difficult times are already making many of us feel isolated and lonesome.
If we cut ourselves off from friends and family, it will only perpetuate those negative emotions.
4. Unplug from your electronics
Speaking of feeling isolated and lonely… Make sure to put down your phone and turn off the TV from time to time. By all means, if you need a night (or a full day, no judgement) of doing nothing more than binging Tiger King on Netflix, you do you.
But try not to make this your routine EVERY single day. Being glued to your electronics too much, for too long, is statistically shown to heighten feelings of anxiety and seclusion. In the midst of social distancing, this is the last thing we need!
Instead, try to make a conscious effort to unplug from your electronics for a period of time each day. Even if it’s as little as half an hour, it’s something!
Try to find something you can be doing during that time that will stimulate your mind, let you use your hands, etc. Read a book, do a dance, bake a cake… whatever your heart desires!
Hey, there’s no one watching. You can get as weird as you want to get.
5. Spend some quality time with your dog
One thing we can practically guarantee is that your pooch is stoked to have you home all the time! He doesn’t understand why you’re suddenly around from morning to night, and he likewise won’t comprehend why you won’t be once things eventually go back to normal.
We’re willing to bet that having him around is helping YOU get through this, too.
So, as much as the current situation does suck, you also have a rare opportunity to bond extra hard with your furry best friend. Take this time to your advantage!
Devote time each day where you can properly pay attention to your dog. Here are just a few fun things you two can do together:
- Grab his favorite toys and play! Bonus points if he gets the zoomies from being so excited.
- Have a cuddle session on the couch!
- Bake him some homemade treats!
- Make him a home obstacle course!
- Play the ‘Fastest Dog Dresser’ game!
- Brush his fur and give him a bath! Especially now that it’s Springtime, he likely needs it.
In my personal opinion, there’s very little in this world better for your mental health than spending quality time with a dog!
6. Start your path to becoming a professional dog groomer
You may or may not already be a dog grooming student. If you are, one awesome way to maximize your time at home is to try devoting 1-2 hours per week on your studies.
(For reference: QC Pet Studies, as an example, many grads and students have found that this amount of time allowed them to graduate in as little as 3-6 months!)
If you’re not yet a student, why not research into this career path and see if it’s right for you? If you feel you’d enjoy being a professional dog groomer, online grooming schools can help you start working towards your goals – all from the comfort and safety of your own home!
One benefit to this is that it would you be giving yourself a positive goal to look forward to, and keep you motivated. On top of that, you’d also be arming yourself with a certification that’s GUARANTEED to impress future clients, employers, and your competition!
It’s a win-win!
Things may be a bit tough right now, but we promise you: they WILL get better! In the meantime, make sure you make time each day for yourself and your well-being. You matter, and your mental health matters. Never forget that!