This year, Blue Monday falls on 15/01/18. The most depressing day of the year gets people down for different reasons but there’s also reason to be optimistic! Read on to find out how your dog can help keep life rosy!
1.So it’s January and you promised yourself you’d get fit but, frankly, you don’t want to. No worries! Get your trainers on before your dog walk and see if you fancy a short sprint while you’re out - no pressure! If you take your dog to the park for a race this could also be a great game. Even if you don’t become a marathon runner, a little bit of cardio each day releases endorphin's or “happy hormones”.
2.The revelry’s over and you’re feeling lonely. If your dog’s friendly, consider joining a local dog training group. This can do wonders for your social life (who knows, you might even meet someone special) or try approaching other dog walkers in the park. Watching dogs play together is an easy ice breaker and you’ll soon be on first name terms like “Dolly’s Dad” and “Popeye’s Mum”.
3.If your dog isn’t friendly and this is making you feel isolated, make your veterinary nurse your best friend! Book free “Happy Visits” where you take your dog in when the clinic is quiet. Your dog gets a treat and you get a friendly chat. This can help reduce your dog’s stress at the vets, and improve their general social skills.
4.No-one’s bank balance looks great in January and with the dark weather it can feel like there’s nothing to do for fun. Try making dog toys at home - a bit of crafting is good for the soul and you could do it with a friend/friends. Your dog will love you for it and even if they don’t play nice with others, you get to have fun with mates without spending a fortune. For some great home-made dog toy ideas go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/canineenrichment/ or search #BeyondTheBowl
5.Petting your dog for up to 20 minutes can help with blood pressure, depression, anxiety and even heart disease. They give our lives structure, improve our self-esteem and with everything they get into they keep our immune system on its toes! Yet they’re the ones who seem to feel infinitely lucky to be our companions. If you’re feeling low, try listing each day what you’re grateful for. Think of at least 5 things, starting with your dog. They can include the nice view you had on your dog walk, the nice cuddle you had, a tasty meal, your health (maybe you’re over that cold, or “at least it’s just a cold”) - look for the positives. It’s easy to spiral into negativity but there are always silver linings if you look hard enough and one of them is covered in fur.
Marianne Thomas is a registered member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. In 2017 Marianne started Dog First Aid Oxfordshire, Berkshire & Buckinghamshire, teaching life-saving skills to pet parents & canine professionals. The course has been taught to over 3000 people UK wide, and has saved the lives of dogs. You can find out more at www.dog-first-aid.com/mariannethomas