5 Reasons Why Having A Dog Is Good For Your Mental Health

Having a dog is great for your mental health! Dogs can do wonders to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. They are also helpful in providing social support. And they don’t judge you or leave when you need them the most. 

In this blog post, we will talk about 5 reasons why having a dog is good for your mental health!1. Science has confirmed it!

There are so many studies confirming that pets are good for our health in general.

Research has shown that people with dogs tend to have lower rates of heart disease, depression, and anxiety than those without dogs. 

It’s also been proven that owning a pet reduces stress levels by lowering blood pressure, slowing heart rates, and relaxing tensed up muscles.

2. Having a dog beats loneliness

People who live alone can get lonely, but dogs provide the most wonderful companionship. 

Your dog loves nothing more than to be with you, whether it be out on a walk, playing in the garden or snuggling up on the sofa. You’ll never find another human being as loyal to you as your dog is.

Pets also help people feel more confident about themselves due to the boost in self-esteem they experience when interacting with an animal that loves them unconditionally.

Your dog will always greet you at the door when you come home from work or school, which is especially helpful if you’re someone who lives on their own.

Ironically, having a dog can also help you feel less lonely by helping you connect with others.

3. Social connection

Dogs are a great way to initiate conversation with other pet parents, thereby opening up the opportunity for you to meet new people and make connections.

It’s not just other pet parents either. I know so many people in my community because they stop to chat at my gate, or out on a walk, and ask about my dog. 

Pets also provide an excellent ice-breaker between humans that can be useful in social settings such as parties where introductions may not flow as easily or when meeting someone for the first time.

4. Someone to talk to

Dogs are fantastic listeners. 

I forget how many times I’ve poured my heart out to my pups. A dog will always listen to what you say, so it’s easier to express your feelings without fear of judgment or resentment.

Sometimes, we don’t really need someone to talk to, so much as needing to feel heard, to get something off our chests. 

Dogs don’t interrupt (well, some don’t…), they don’t change the subject, nor do they say “Yeah, I know how you feel, the same thing happened to me….”. They just listen.

5. Physical benefits lead to mental health benefits

Unless your dog hates going out for walks, having a dog is good for your physical health. Going out for a walk, even a gentle one, is good for you on many levels. Regular physical exercise has been shown to relieve mental stress and anxiety.

We know that inactivity can contribute to depression but going for a walk has been shown to have the opposite effect – it actually leads to feelings of happiness. Having a dog is good for your physical AND your mental health!

If your dog dislikes going out for walks – and there are some that find walks stressful – some playtime in the home will benefit both of you. Playing chase around the house, a gentle game of tug – simple games like this will have you both feeling better.

Playing with your dog also helps to lower stress-related hormones. What better excuse could you want for pet play time?

Let’s not forget too, that on a day when you really don’t feel like getting out of bed, having a dog gives you a good reason to. Having a purpose – another being to care for and look after, can give us a much-needed purpose and structure in our lives.

Conclusion 

When it comes to adding happiness and joy into your life, there are few things better than a dog. They provide the unconditional love we all so crave in this world of negativity, fear, and anxiety. 

Sure they may not be able to give you that raise or promotion at work but I guarantee no one will ever do as much for your mental health without even trying! 

If you love dogs but can’t have your own, consider helping outat a local rescue. You won’t regret it 🙂

This is a guest post written by Trey from caninecompilation.com

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Headaches

Headaches. We’ve all had them. They can suck the life and productivity right out of us. Studies have shown more work days are lost due to headaches than any other reason.

If we believe the commercials that bombard us, the easiest way to deal with headaches is to pop a few pills. While taking medication can cure the headache, there are steps we can take to ease the pain naturally and even prevent it in the first place. 

The first step in treating a headache is to figure out why it’s there. Many things can cause headaches, such as poor sleep, stress, allergies, eye strain, diet and illness.

If you get regular headaches, you may want to see your physician to rule out the possibilities of migraines, a need for glasses, or some other physical reason. While you’re there, be sure to ask about ways to alleviate your headaches naturally. They may have suggestions that can help.

Here are some good strategies you can use to treat your headaches without drugs.

1. Regular Exercise

We know we need it, but not all of us get the amount of exercise we require for optimum health. When you exercise, your body produces chemicals, such as endorphins and adrenaline, which help you deal better with headaches and stress. As you already know, stress is a trigger for tension headaches.

Exercise is the number one way to reduce stress and alleviate stress headaches.

You don’t have to go to the gym and work out for hours on end to feel the benefits. When you feel a headache coming on, get up out of your chair and start to move. Even if it’s just a five-minute walk, it’s better than nothing.

Regular exercise can help keep those headaches at a minimum. Many people find classes such as aerobics and yoga helpful for dealing with stress. Less stress equals fewer headaches.

2. Use essential oils and herbs. 

Many people find relief from headaches by massaging a few drops of peppermint, lavender or chamomile essential oil into the temples or the back of the neck. Ensure you’re using a quality essential oil. 

Herbs can also be helpful. One of the easiest methods to benefit from herbs when experiencing a headache is to drink herbal tea. There are many varieties, including tea blends made specifically for headaches.

Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea at your desk to help ease your headache. Other teas that help are the same as the essential oils: lavender, peppermint and wintergreen.

3. Reflexology

While you probably can’t run out during your busy day and get a massage to ease your headache, there is an alternate available: reflexology. In reflexology, points in the feet and hands correspond to parts of the body.

Your toes and the areas right below them correspond to the head, sinuses and ears. Massaging these areas gently can significantly improve a headache. Something as simple as taking off your shoes and rubbing your feet can be the natural cure you’re seeking.

4. Use hot and cold.

Many times a headache will respond to a change in temperature.

Place a cold compress on the back of the neck. You can use ice or a damp cloth that has been in the freezer for a few minutes.

If your headache doesn’t respond to cold, try a warm cloth instead.

Another method is to alternate between hot and cold compresses.

A footbath works as a natural cure. Soaking your feet in hot water can provide headache relief. Increase the effect by adding a few drops of essential oil to the bath.

5. Eat Properly 

Many headaches are diet related. Paying attention to what you eat – or what you don’t eat – may give you a clue as to why you’re getting headaches. Headaches can be your body’s way of telling you that it isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Diets high in fats and preservatives and low in fiber are not going to help you get better. When we consume this type of diet, our immune system suffers, and we can experience headaches as a result.

Be sure to try a few of these methods to naturally treat your headaches. The truth is, not all headaches will respond the same way. What works one time may not work the next. As always, inform your doctor if you cannot find relief through these methods or with over the counter medication.

This post has been brought to you by Ali my guest blogger of the week. Make sure to check out her channels for more interesting articles!

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Self Care during the holidays: 2020 edition

Congratulations! You made it through Thanksgiving. Your turkey was beautifully cooked and the sweet potato casserole was a hit with the kids.  Now it’s  time to sit back, relax and… oh wait. The holiday season is just getting started. 

If you are anything like me, the stretch between the holidays usually feels like a whirl of last minute preparations. As an elementary school teacher, I find these 3 weeks to be some of the hardest to navigate. The “Santa is coming” vibe hits my students the moment they leave for Thanksgiving break. For adults, this block of time can be more stressful than it is exciting. Is my shopping done? What do our travel plans look like? Do I really want to get into another debate about current events with my cousin over dinner if they come?

With all that in mind, let’s talk about some ways you can practice self-care this year during the holidays. 

1) Pace Yourself 

Unfortunately, our normal to-do list does evaporate during November and December. Looking at everything you want to get accomplished by a certain date in one shot can be overwhelming.  Grab your calendar and divide your to-do list up to no more than 3 or 4 holiday-related tasks per day. Managing your tasks this way will also help you prioritize the things that will need to get done sooner than others (e.g., taking family photos for the yearly Christmas card or sending gifts through the mail). 

2) Don’t completely neglect your routine

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, our routines can quickly be swept to the side. Try your best to keep to your routine as much as you can. Keep up with your yoga when possible or take your afternoon strolls through the local park. This sense of normalcy will help to keep you in the right state of mind, which brings us to our next tip. 

3) Make your mental and physical health a priority

This is imperative during these trying times of the  COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s ok to not see your family in person this year for the holidays to exercise an abundance of caution. Both my husband and I are at high risk of complications if we were to contract the virus and thankfully our circle of loved ones understands this. Virtual family meet ups are still a great way to connect with your loved ones this year while keeping yourself safe and well. 

Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of  lengthy – and possibly heated- conversations with relatives whose views do not align with our own. 2020 will likely be no different it comes to uncomfortable dinner table talk.  If you know your Uncle Jim just won’t be able to contain himself, you are not obligated to engage with them. It is alright to give yourself the space that you need to be mentally secure. Prioritizing your health is not a luxury; it is a part of being a thriving human being. 

Here is one if the most important tips I can give:

4) Don’t forget to have fun!

 Even though this year will most likely not be a typical Christmas, there is still plenty you can do to get into the holiday spirit. If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere where it snows, please make a snowman in honor of all those who cannot (a small request from an incredibly envious Floridian). Put on a cheesy Hallmark movie while you are wrapping presents to send through the mail or doing your online shopping. Make plans to drive through a neighborhood you know goes all out with Christmas lights and wave to the residents. Plan a virtual Christmas movie night with the friends and family you won’t  be able to physically see this year. 

Stay safe this year and God bless!

Clari Maldonado runs the blog The Married Spoonie. Her blog is a place to share about her life living with chronic illness not only as a patient but as a caregiver to her husband, Anthony. Follow their journey on Instagram and their website. 

15 Ways You Can Deal With Stress

**Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form a doctor. I am giving help on what has worked and what does work for me.**

Have you ever had one of those days where you are just stressed out to the max? It feels as though you can’t get away from it or do anything right.

A lot of people feel this way a lot of the time. Today’s world doesn’t make this any easier to deal with either.

Although I am more than sure you know what stress is let’s dig a little deeper into it and figure out a few ways to give you a little break from it all.

15 Ways You Can Deal With Stress

What is stress?

Stress is a feeling of emotional and psychical tension. It can come from any feels or thoughts that makes you angry, sad, or that frustrates you. Stress is your body’s way of dealing with demand or a challenge.

Where does stress show up in your body?

When felt threatened your body sends out a ton of stress hormones that include cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones rouse your body for an emergency action.

What are the symptoms or stress?

There are a lot of symptoms that can come along with stress and you can have one or more of these symptoms at once. These symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings, tight muscles, unmotivation, restlessness, and trouble making decisions. These are just to name of few of the symptoms and are not limited to.

15 Ways You Can Deal With Stress

Try these ways to help reduce the stressors in your life:

  1. Turn off your phone
  2. Take a long hot bath with replacing music and a facial mask
  3. Turn off the tv, preferably the news
  4. Take a little time to yourself
  5. Grab a book you’ve already read and knock out a few chapters
  6. Play with your pet, animals are always great therapy
  7. Take a nap , if all else fails take a small nap (I say small but my naps usually consist of a few hours)
  8. Watch a good movie. Break out Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu and find a comedy or a romantic comedy to watch ( whatever your genre just to keep your mind off what is stressing you out)
  9. Gets a manicure or pedicure (I love having a pedicure because I love having my feet rubbed and they look so pretty afterwards)
  10. Do deep breathing
  11. Do a hobby or better yet try a new hobby (I’ve recently started loom knitting. I’m only on my first scarf but things are going pretty well. I recommend it as it’s easy, time consuming, and makes you focus)
  12. Talk about your problems you don’t have to go through life alone. If you’re a private person find that one friend that you trust completely, that’s honest, and will listen)
  13. Go easy on yourself (everyone has stressors, that’s just a part of life so don’t be so hard on yourself)
  14. Start a blog (it’s a great way to blog your way to mental health
  15. Do yoga (try these poses for your anxieties over stress and you’ll feel your muscle tension has melted away)

Remember, this too shall pass. I know it’s hard to see it right now but there is always a silver lining even if it seems so far away. Keep up with these ways everyday as a new routine if that helps too.

You can subscribe to receive 12 journal prompts and 30 ways to become a better person. This is a newsletter but is only sent out monthly. I will not spam you (I hate that) I promise (cross my heart).

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

There is a show on The Cooking channel which I love watching but anyway, the show is called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. I can’t pick just one though. I’ve been eating for 30 years and I have so many favorite!

The best thing I ever ate
If these photos don’t make you drool even just a little then you’re not living your life right, I’m just kidding – I know you love your life. I hope you love your life because you only get one of them. Anyway, enough motivation because that is for another post. However you can visit “My Guide To Confidence In 6 steps” if you need a little self love at this very moment, or you can pin this post and come back when you have time to read it through.

The mocha pudding from a place at Carolina Beach that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant. Look at it though, how can you not want to grab a spoon and devour it?! The mocha and the caramel are made for each other when it comes to this dessert.

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Chocolate Lasagna & Zeppoli from Olive Garden, don’t knock it until you try it! It’s so rich and the cream choose brings together the chocolate mousse and the thin chocolate layers of cake. There are shavings a top the lasagna to top it off and it makes it so pretty but you can’t wait to dig in. You can definitely share it with someone else became it is a little on the rich side.

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Roscoto wine is my favourite! It’s a sweet wine that pairs well with desserts so a glass or two with the chocolate lasagna. You can get Rosocto ate Total Wine, trust me if you like a sweet red wine then you’ll want to be all over this!
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Not Your Mama’s Banana a Pudding is absolutely amazing! When I first tasted it my mother and were in Savanah, the first time checking out the scenery and doing the tourist thing we decided we wanted to see what the hype was about Paula Dean’s restaurant. I found the recipe from The Food Network and I fell in love as well as every event I’ve taken it to.

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I hope this post has satisfied your sweet teeth in a very cyber way, if that’s a thing. I hope you stick around because I may keep up and add on top this post as I find new favorites.

What is one of your favorite foods that you can’t wait to shovel into your mouth?