National Pet Month/National Stress Awareness Month
Updated: Apr 3
April is National Stress Awareness Month; it's also National Pet Month, making perfect sense to any pet parent. Scientists have identified that owning pets reduces your stress level significantly, and certain pets positively impact your physical well-being. Getting a daily walk with your dog has obvious health benefits, but did you know that domestic cats purr at a frequency proven to heal bones and reduce pain?
According to Statista.com, half of UK adults worked from home in 2021, and despite restrictions being lifted, 38 per cent of us are still clocking in and out from our kitchen tables. It's evident that our lifestyles are changing, and more of us than ever are choosing to swap the commute for comfort.
Studies suggest that stress levels are similar whether you make the daily trip to the office or not, but a clear benefit of WFH is that you get to spend more time with your furry, feathered and scaly friends. If your pets are anything like mine, they'll provide humour, companionship and a break from the routine, but how do we enjoy their company without allowing them to distract us from our responsibilities?
Below are experts' tips for WFH when you have a pet:
· Provide plenty of exercise for your pet. Walk the dog as you notice they're getting restless; play with your cat or small furry. Hide treats around the house and allow them to forage. They'll be busy working while you are. When they're done, they can chill next to you.
· Set up a comfy space for them in your workspace. Your pets want to be near you (and in some cases, ON you), so give them a welcoming space to relax. A dog bed in the office or their favourite cardboard box will make them feel wanted but encourage them to stay in their own area. If you have a cat who likes to walk all over your warm keyboard, an old laptop on the floor can work wonders.
· Sometimes colleagues will want to see your pets in the Zoom meeting, but the novelty quickly wears off. Explain to other attendees that you are present but will be on mute and off camera if you are not speaking. Felix can knock over whatever he likes, and Fido can bark his head off without disrupting others in the meeting.
· Keep them healthy. A great benefit of WFH is that you'll be around your pets more and notice any slight changes sooner. A healthy pet will take up less of your time, so make sure that you are feeding them correctly and regularly; keep up to date with their flea treatments/medication and grooming. A healthy pet is a happy pet, is a quiet pet.
· Try calming plugins. There are a variety of plugin diffusers on the market, any one of which could help your pet adapt to the new circumstances. Feliway and Adaptil are proven market leaders for cats and dogs; they encourage calming behaviour and promote friendship between pets in the household.