Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? Unfortunately, stress is something most of us have been experiencing to some degree over the last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We wanted to provide some tips to try and keep you and your animals calm during the lockdown. We hope this helps.
Many of us will have had a change to our daily life whether that is working from home, children being out of school or spending less time socializing out of the house. If you can, try to keep some routine. Getting up at the same time and getting ready for the day will help to keep some normality. Plan in your one form of exercise a day and then take other time for meals, movement in the house and some time away from screens. This will also help your pets. Dogs especially like a routine, and still need to be exercised and have their toilet breaks. All animals can react to and pick up on stress in different ways but feeding at the same time and factoring in playtime will help to reduce these issues.
It can be tempting to sit in front of a screen or with the kid’s homework and push to get everything done in one go. However longer screen time or concentrating on just one thing can lead to headaches and eye strain, as well as a reduction in productivity. Our brains need time to process the information we are working on, so a break can help with this. Get away from the screen or the work, and if you can get out in the garden for a few moments to enjoy the joys of Spring. Just like us, our pets need these breaks too. If you have ever tried to train a dog, you will understand their capacity for learning and that they have a way of letting us know when it’s time for a break. Follow their lead!
We all understand that these are difficult times and it can be hard to remain positive. Be kind to yourself. It’s ok to treat yourself whether that be taking some time to watch a feel-good film, a bit of pampering or tucking into tasty food. Whilst it doesn’t make up for what we are missing, these things will give us some happy hormones to help lift our mood. And our pets can be treated too! Pheromones are chemicals which can affect mood and behaviour and there are plug in diffusers or sprays that can be purchased to help with stress and anxiety for our animals. Remember our pets will find these times challenging too with extra humans under their feet through the day or perhaps for key worker’s animals, their pets are seeing less of their humans. Treat balls, puzzles or catnip toys can be great to reduce boredom and give our pets something to focus on.
Enjoy your one form of exercise a day. There are many examples of people all over the world who are setting their own amazing challenges, but just getting out to exercise in any way will burn calories, help your mood and give you space to see the bigger picture. You may not feel it whilst you’re doing that gruelling home workout but you’ll feel a sense of achievement after it! Your dogs will enjoy a good walk or a run, but there are ways we can keep all of our animals active at home too. Use this time to try and teach new tricks, to play games with your pets and you can set challenges for even small animals to work out.
Whilst we may think we need to use this time productively, there is also a need for us to have some quiet time too. It’s good to stay active and make time for interacting and challenges but we need rest and relaxation too. Plan it into your day. We can learn from our pets on this one. They love to have a den; a safe place to hide away and a comfy peaceful spot. Especially when there’s more people around in the house, we all need somewhere to escape to away from the hustle and bustle.
We may be less active due to the lockdown, so it is important to exercise some moderation if we can when it comes to food. We all understand that the fridge is definitely calling but having set meal times as part of your day will help to reduce those urges. Try to maintain a balanced diet as this will keep your immune system healthy. For our pets, obesity can be a real problem and we don’t want to come out of this pandemic seeing animals who have over-indulged. Remember to reduce your pet’s intake of food if they are doing less exercise. Don’t forget the treats either – these will add up and unfortunately pile on the pounds.
If you’ve been thinking about doing something for a while but always say you don’t have time, then this is the time. Try that new skill, or recipe or give that challenge a go. It doesn’t matter what it is, but it gives us something to focus on. Mental stimulation is important for our pets too. Boredom and anxiety can result in unwanted behaviour. Teach your pet a new trick or provide an obstacle course to make them think about how to get to their food. Take a look at our Pet Pals page. There are puzzles and challenges for all the family on there.
Saying thank you might seem simple but it helps. The key workers are still keeping the country going whilst we’re in lockdown and providing a vital service. Clapping for Carers is a great way of us all coming out to show our support. At the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre, our staff continue to look after the animals under our care. We want to say a huge thank you to them for keeping going. They really are an excellent committed team who go above and beyond every day. If you want to take part in a fundraising challenge, this is a great way of supporting their work: https://rspca-radcliffe.org.uk/fundraising/
We hope these points will help you to reduce the stress in your life and for your pets too. We hope everyone stays safe, happy and well. If you would like to donate or send in an Amazon gift for our animals here at the Centre, please click on this link; https://rspca-radcliffe.org.uk/donate-now/
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