As parents, anxiety and stress often come with the package, especially before big and special events. It’s also relatively common for people when they are faced with new situations or something they may have a fear of. The good news is, one way to help you relax and soothe your nerves may already literally be laying at your feet!
That’s right, your pets and domestic animals can be great stress busters. Even better, sometimes you’re not even really consciously aware of how your pet’s presence may be helping you get through the tough times. In this article, we take a little look behind the scenes at some practical ways your pet may help your mental health.
How Having a Pet Can Calm Your Nerves
Pets Help You Think About Something Else
If you’re feeling anxious and stressed, a common tactic recommended by health professionals is to find a distraction or diversion to focus on. Call it dog diversion, cat deflection if you will, but the presence of your pet can help you re-frame your thinking away from the thoughts or the situation that is bothering you.
This can be particularly helpful for people with fears and phobias. If you’re anxious about being alone in the house, the presence of a pet with their super-sensitive radar to anything out of the ordinary will soon alert you if there actually is something or someone nearby. In the same token, if you have a fear of getting out and about, having a dog walk alongside you can help overcome those anxieties.
Pets Make You Move Around
Exercise is good for both our minds and body. Most of us already know that. What we often don’t realize is that even the very basic act of taking care of feeding your pet forces you to move your body. Combine a few yoga stretches when you’re reaching into the cupboard, or placing your pet’s bowl on the floor and it’s a win-win mind-body situation for both of you.
If you’ve got a dog, no matter what size, they’re going to need regular exercise. Likewise, a cat, even though we tend to think they look after this themselves, a piece of paper on the end of a string can help you both move and entertain yourself at the same time. Take their cue. Many pets instinctively know when it’s time to get moving (aka the cat crazies!). Take the time to get a little exercise at the same time your pet does, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Pets Help You Relax
Pets can help you relax in so many ways. There’s the physical act of stroking and patting an animal. This is a repetitive motion that both of you will are likely to find very, very soothing. There’s the humor in seeing your pet do something that is so outside of the behavior that we are conditioned into as humans that you can’t help but laugh. If you’ve ever clicked on any funny dog/cat/rabbit videos online, and who hasn’t, you’ll know what we mean.
Pets Can Help You Love
The love and companionship of a pet are unconditional. Their affection for you is based on knowing you treat them well and love them to bits. The look that a pet may give you, with soft knowing eyes full of love, believe it. It’s real. Studies have found that the same bonding process and endorphins that are firing between a parent and child happen between people and their pets. So yes, it is indeed mutual. Both you and your pet feel the love, and more relaxed and warm and fuzzy as a result!
Pets Help Lower Your Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that people with pets tend to have lower blood pressure. That’s got to be good news for anyone whose blood pressure potentially rises with their anxiety and stress levels. Even better, just your pet’s presence helps with healthier blood pressure. Anytime you do pat, stroke, or get in some daily exercise with your pet is an added bonus for your BP.
Pets are Social and Emotional Support
As many pet people will attest, a pet often intuitively and instinctively seems to pick up on when you are out of sorts. They may seek to reassure you or keep their distance. Both of which can be a good indication that you need to address your anxiety levels.
People who love animals also usually consider pets as a part of their family. If you’re feeling a little disconnected with other people, it is entirely possible to have a close connection with your pet and know that you’re not alone. The friendship of a cat curled up on your lap, or a dog by your side can do wonders to help with any worries around loneliness or isolation.
Pets Are Good Listeners
Did you know that there are therapy animals that help kids and adults with reading difficulties? There are many schools and libraries that recognize that the quiet non-judgmental presence of reading to an animal can help people with learning difficulties gain confidence and new skills.
What’s more, if you talk to your own pet they will respond. Okay, maybe not a specific answer that you’re trying to work out, but many pets such as cats and dogs love communicating with the people in their life either vocally, or through an affectionate rub, full body lean, and even the gentle head butt of a cat.
People Can Help With Your Pets Too
If you do have a mental health condition such as anxiety, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), domestic animals can be recognized as part of a treatment plan. Check out information on emotional support animals (ESA). Your ‘ordinary’ pet can be elevated to be an ESA for you if its presence alleviates and helps you manage symptoms that limit your quality of life. Aside from the benefit to your health, there is some legal protection from discrimination for having an emotional support animal in rental housing and during air travel.
Do you have a pet?
Tell us about your furry friend in the comments below!
As a parent, it can sometimes be hard to keep your head above water when you feel like a hamster on a wheel – spinning fast, getting nowhere faster. That said, one of the best ways to ensure you’ll do better tomorrow than you’ve done today is to get a solid night’s sleep.
Now I know sleep doesn’t always come easy (hello – mom of two preschoolers here!) but when it comes to feeling more rested, there are a number of things you can do to wake up without feeling like you need a coffee IV.
But the #1 way to sleep better? Make sure you have quality sheets! This is why today I’m suggesting you check out GhostBed Luxury Sheets – sheets built to keep you comfortable and sleeping soundly throughout the night.
GhostBed Luxury Sheets Review
When it comes to sheets, it’s never easy to find ones that stay cool and also durable. The great thing about GhostBed Luxury Sheets, though, is the Supmia cotton and Tencel fiber blend, which makes them breathable and light-weight! I’ve washed them several times and they are only getting more comfortable!
And while GhostBed Luxury Sheets are best paired with a GhostBed mattress (seriously – the best mattress for back pain!!) you can use them with pretty much any mattress.
Sure she looks peaceful now, but just wait until 2am when she’s throwin’ elbows!
Oh and the best thing? They have what they call a “GhostGrip” – a lining on the inside of the sheet that allows it to stay on securely and never pop off. As someone who often has a tossing-and-turning 4 year old in her bed, this is SUCH a major deal for me. It’s so nice not to have to worry about trying to fix my fitted sheet in the middle of the night (or worse, sleeping with one half falling off!)
[click_to_tweet tweet=”An honest review of GhostBed Luxury Sheets – the supernaturally comfortable sheets that come with free shipping and a three year warranty. @theghostbed #sweetdreams #sleepcomfy” quote=”Sweet dreams tonight, a better day tomorrow.”]
Each GhostBed Luxury Sheet set includes:
A unique & luxurious blend of Supima Cotton + Tencel Fibers
GhostGrip, so your fitted sheet will stay on securely and never pop off!
Industry leading 3 year warranty
Yes, you read that right: FREE shipping + a THREE YEAR WARRANTY. And we’re not talking 4-6 week shipping; I got mine in just THREE business days!!
Don’t just take my word for it – try out GhostBed Luxury Sheets today and dream better tomorrow!
Move over, man caves, this momma needs her she shed!
I work from home as a blog mentor and business strategist, and that sounds like a dream, yeah?
Set my own hours, my own salary. Hey, I don’t even have to put on a bra if I don’t want to!
Oooh but wait. I’m a mom. And while yes, I do set my own salary (and don’t put on a bra unless I have to do preschool drop-off!) there’s no such thing as setting my own hours, because let’s face it – no mom with kids under 5 gets to sleep in on a regular basis. If you do, you’re my hero.
My days consist of my 5 year old waking me up with the sun and while my husband does handle bedtime, there’s no reprieve from about 6:30am until at least 6:30pm. I’ve lived the life of 12 hour workdays with no breaks, but I was 23 then and farrrrrrrr less tired. Plus I had colleagues to keep me from losing my mind. My colleagues now typically do the opposite.
So you know what I want…nay NEED in my next house?
A she shed.
She Shed Must-Haves
Note: the links below may be affiliate links, which means I’ll receive commission should you click through to make a purchase. This in no way impacts your purchase price nor my opinion of said products.
Our current home was built around 1880 and while it’s gorgeous in its antiquity, there is no garage. Heh there’s no even outlets in our bathrooms! So my next home? A she shed is a must.
First in this dream she shed, I’ll obviously need the coziest of robes. One that makes me feel like a queen when I put it on…a queen ready for a nap. This robe on Amazon would be perfect (it even has a hood!!)
Since I’ll then be ready for my nap, I’ll obviously need somewhere cozy to curl up. This bean bag chair is not only ridiculously comfortable, but it’s microsuede (ooOOooh!)
After my nap, I’ll obviously need a cup of coffee. We just bought a Ninja Coffee Bar last month and sorry, hubs, but it’s coming with me to my she shed! I mean, c’mon…you can add froth. What’s better than froth?!
With that heavenly cup of perfectly made coffee, I’ll need to pick up a book and read away my woes. A friend of mine who runs Miracle Blogger recently introduced me to A Course in Miracles and while it’s a slow read, it’s great at helping bring things into perspective. Not only that, but it’s one I definitely can’t read when I have the kids around so it’ll be a definite she shed must-have.
After I work through a lesson, I’ll obviously need to reward myself with another cup of coffee (don’t forget the froth!) and a treat. I’m not really one for sweets, though, so bring on the savory carbs!! I’ll hide them away in this cabinet just in case any varmits should try to steal my snacks.
From there, it would be time to perhaps do a bit of journaling. I used to write in my journal constantly, but it’s a sad rarity these days. I still have one, though – it’s this great Tree of Life journal and I absolutely love it. You can even purchase add-ons in case you’re a super mom who does have time to journal on a regular basis! 🙂
Now I’m not much in the ways of decor, but a small fountain of some sort would also be a she shed must-have. I’ve always been drawn to flowing water and I think it would do nicely to drown out the faint sounds of my husband whimpering at the door, begging me to come wrangle the little ones.
As I do finally wrap up my “mommy time” I’d want to grab an ice cold Pepsi from my Pepsi fridge. My grandma was always an avid Pepsi lover and it’s definitely a trait she passed onto me. While it may not be super healthy, there’s little better than a cold Pepsi as I would then trudge my way back to the little ones and hope my husband hadn’t yet run away from home.
Oh and on those days where I’m able to have that escape, you can most definitely bet I’ll be using The Dinner Daily to help ensure our meal plans stay healthy, affordable, and (best of all) EASY!
I will say that I wouldn’t trade any of this to go back to the corporate world. No way, no how. While my children may drive me mad some most days, I am incredibly blessed to have the ability to work from home and be with them as much as I am.
CBD oils are quickly becoming “all the rage” and while I’ve written before on using CBD oil for self care, I want to dive just a bit deeper and talk about how you mamas can use CBD oil specifically for your beauty routine.
CBD Oil for Mom’s Beauty Routine
Now I’m not a seller of CBD oils, but when my mom mentioned she’d been taking it for her fibromyalgia, I decided to look further into what this craze is all about – and that’s when I discovered all the options to use CBD oil for your skin!
Before we go too deep into this, though, it’s important to note that I am in NO way a doctor nor should any of this be construed as medical advice; always talk to your doctor about any health questions or issues.
What is CBD Oil?
For those who are completely unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.
I already know what you’re thinking and no – it won’t get you high (that’s THC, not CBD). It can however come with certain legality issues, given that while CBD derived from hemp is always legal, CBD derived from the marijuana plant is illegal except in states that have recreational or medicinal marijuana programs.
That said, there is hard evidence that CBD can reduce inflammation and pain when applied topically, which is benefit #1 –
Skin Calming Effects
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, CBD products are great at warding off the irritation that comes with inflammation (hence my mom taking it for her fibro!)
I’ve read many studies on the effectiveness of cannabinoids against skin irritation and thus far they’ve all confirmed the role of CBD, especially topical CBD oil, in helping sooth skin inflammation.
Not only is CBD great at soothing inflamed skin, but it’s also known to reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is when the body has too many free radicals and can’t keep up with neutralizing them using antioxidants. Luckily CBD oil can act as an antioxidant. Beyond that it also has neuroprotective qualities, which lend themselves to reducing neurological damage caused by those free radicals.
CBD oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are a must when looking to improve your overall skin health. Many CBD products also contain something called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is a form of omega-6 fatty acid and again great for moisturization!
While CBD oil reduces inflammation, which in and of itself promotes healthier skin, it also goes beyond that to reduce acne and the like. Supposedly CBD oil often encourages abnormal cell death, which can help with certain skin conditions, like eczema or acne; it’s also great at regulating oil production (so no – using CBD oil will not make your face greasier!)
Now when it comes to CBD oil specifically for my own beauty routine as a busy mom, I think my favorite benefit is that it has anti-aging benefits. I’ll gladly rock my silver streaks as they come in, but I’d really like to keep my forehead from looking like a canyon for at least a few more decades.
Much like we’ve discussed above, CBD works well in the human body because of the body’s ability to produce endocannabinoids. The fascinating thing about the endocannabinoid system is that it acts as an amazing balancing system. So while it can regulate excesses, it can also help if you’re lacking something like antioxidants.
Antioxidants not only minimize the appearance of wrinkles, but they’re a must in keeping your skin from becoming thin and dried out; by ingesting or applying a cannabinoid (like CBD), you’ll get those antioxidants that’ll supply your skin with the boost it needs.
Bonus Offer for ThriftyGuardian Readers: If you visit the online shop DiamondCBD, you can use coupon code DIAMOND50 to get 50% off your entire order!!!
So what do you think – will you be adding CBD oil to your beauty routine?
When you hear the words ‘self care’ what comes to mind?
For a very long time I thought it meant biweekly spa days – complete with massage, mani/pedi, etc. As a busy wife and mother, that not only didn’t fit my schedule, but it certainly didn’t fit my budget! Not only was the money literally not there, but even if it had been, I’d feel guilty for spending on myself when there were other things I felt the funds would be better used for. I would be the one to justify $50 on a Lego set for my 7 year old (it encourages STEM thinking for pete’s sake!) before a mani/pedi for Mama.
If you’re in the same boat, grab an oar, and let’s navigate this river of life with 10 amazing (and yet thrifty) ways we can take care of ourselves!
Self Care Tip #1 — Happy happy happy list
Make a list of the things that make you happy. You can start as early as you can and just keep a running tally throughout the day if you want. Be sure to leave out the “but”s or the “even thoughs” – just feel into the happiness If you happen to have a day where things aren’t feeling so great – you can pull out your list and smile because there’s so much that does make you happy. You can also add the things that bring you joy, the things you’re thankful for, and the things you want to soak up and have more of.
Self Care Tip #2 — Do a little purging.
The spaces around us are a reflection of what’s IN us. I find that when I allow things to pile up literally- it can affect how I feel. When we take some time to straighten up our physical spaces, it allows room for the good stuff. It’s the basis of Feng shui and minimalism. Most of us have too much crap (or too many people!) To be a one cup per person household. But we do have at least one space that we could situate. Maybe your hall closet or under your bathroom sink is making you sigh every time you open the door. Maybe you need to sort thru your undies and toss the 15 year old grannies Pick a space and make room for something good and beautiful.
Self Care Tip #3 — Do a body scan!
Find 2 or 3 minutes (or more if you’d like). Start at your toes, and REALLY feel them – focus all of your energy into your toes. Ask them if they are well, and if there’s anything they need. Then proceed to your calves, knees, thighs, etc.
Women’s power is in their essence – we are quite intuitive when we allow that part of ourselves to be heard. See what comes up for you and if there’s a part of your body that needs some extra attention that you can provide.
Self Care Tip #4 — Make a list!
Take a few moments, and some deep breaths – and make a list of reasons why you’re amazing! It might help if you look through the eyes of someone else- like your kids, spouse, or parent. It might feel weird at first, as we tend to give compliments WAY better than we receive them. If you get stuck, ask around. Allow yourself to receive the love and kindness of those around you.
Self Care Tip #5 — Daydream!
Sit back, take a few deep breaths (in to the count of 6, hold for one count, then out to the count of 6) to allow your body to settle. Then dream! What does a ‘best day ever’ in the life of (insert your name here) look like? Take in all the sights, the smells, the tastes. Pay attention to the brand of soap in the bathroom, the thread count on the sheets, the meals. Every detail that you can dream – make a little mental note of it. Then, when you ‘wake up’: see where you can incorporate your dream life. Maybe it’s rearranging the furniture, or making some art, or putting that fancy soap or sheets on your wish list for an upcoming event like your birthday or Christmas if you aren’t able or willing to ‘splurge’ on something like that (*yet)
Self Care Tip #6 — Meditation
You don’t have to be a monk or yogi to meditate. You can take a few minutes when the mood strikes you to focus on your breathing. There are some great apps that you can get for free or maybe a few bucks that have meditations you can have with you on your phone. Or there’s a bunch on YouTube. You can search on specific topics too like abundance, stress relief, etc.
Self Care Tip #7 — (((HUGS)))
Hugs and snuggles are a great way to feel safe, protected, and loved. Challenge yourself – if it’s not usual for you to speak up when you need something – ask for a hug! It’s important to be able to ask for your needs to be met, and not everyone is as intuitive as us ladies at picking up on when someone could use a squeeze.
Self Care Tip #8 — Allow good enough – to be good enough.
If I don’t clean the bathrooms or get the laundry done in a certain period of time (usually that I’ve imposed on myself) it’s really NOT the end of the world. We can’t be 100% – 100% of the time. We have to give ourselves credit for all that we DO do, and cut ourselves some slack when we need to. I’m sure we all have things that we beat ourselves up for not doing to the best of our abilities, or at all – (especially we Queens of Multi-tasking). Chances are – the only one beating us up – is US! Give yourself some room to be ‘good enough’. Perfect doesn’t exist.
Self Care Tip #9 — Say NO
We tend to take on WAAAAAY more than we can/should, right?! We will take on everyone elses crap plus our own then wonder why we’re exhausted – or be resentful that we took it on in the first place. When you say “NO” – you’re honoring yourself by taking care of you first. Maybe it’s saying no to a weekend event because you’d rather catch up on some sleep (naps!!!). Maybe it’s someone asking you to bring a homemade goodie and you say no, but offer to bring something store bought.
PS you don’t have to be rude – you can say no thank you 😉
Self Care Tip #10 — Start your day on the right track.
How do you start your day? If it’s full of stress and disorganization – flip it up – List a few things you’re grateful for, as well as some of the emotions you want to create and/or give to the world today.
I developed a free PDF you can print and use daily:
**As a bonus thrifty tip – print just one copy and place in a frame. Use dry erase markers and reuse it daily!
It’s far from selfish to take care of you.
Even on airplanes they say you have to put the mask on yourself first.
While I have other financial priorities now (like my 16 year old with driver’s education and the increased insurance rates of having a new driver) – I’ve learned that I also have to prioritize ME.
My $8/week core class at the local gym and $10-15 a week for a ‘real’ yoga class are things I can do for myself without breaking the bank. On the weeks where I don’t get to class, or there’s an unexpected expense or I’m just not up to it – I rely on the activities I’ve shared above.
Now it’s your turn! Do you have a free activity you’d like to share?
Leave a comment and let us know – what does self care look like for you?
A Beautiful Mess, LLC was created by Erin Hill to educate and inspire women to Care for themselves, Communicate their needs, and Connect with their tribe of fellow women who “get it”. Erin is a blogger about life, a coach for women, and a healer of souls – including her own. She lives in Cambridge, Maryland with her husband and 3 children who are all her greatest teachers. You can follow Erin’s blog, and receive weekly inspiration for your busy life at www.erinbhill.com