They’re our secret stress reliever. A happy tail-wagging daily reminder to carry on carrying on. During the pandemic, our pets have levelled up from faithful sidekicks to everyday heroes. They’ve been a source of comfort and a constant in this crazy new world we’ve found ourselves living in.
And as we head into lockdown #2 in the UK, we’re about to rely on them heavily once again. We were already aware of the health benefits of having a pet before the pandemic struck; thanks to them we get a hit of vitamin D in the morning, they boost our serotonin and dopamine levels keeping us calm and relaxed, and reduce our risk of depression. They also lower our cholesterol levels and blood pressure, reduce our anxiety and increase our ability to socialise. But now, thanks to the pandemic, we’re not just aware of the benefits our furry critters are having on our health, both mentally and physically, we’re truly feeling them.
They help to keep the darkness at bay and the unconditional love flowing.
In some cases, anyway. They’re not quite so loveable when they body slam the front door at the clatter of the letterbox while the morning Zoom call is in full flow. Or when they pad across the keyboard and somehow manage to send an email riddled with paw-produced typos that are completely indecipherable to anyone other fdjgkl sdk fy # kkkkkkkkkkkkkk #…
Aww but you are so cute and adorable, come have a cuddle!
At Write the Talk, we’ve all felt immensely lucky to be pet owners over these past few months. One of the team even found that getting a puppy was the push she needed to move to her dream apartment on a Hong Kong Island beach front.
On Wednesday this week (4th November), it’s National Stress Awareness Day in the UK. So as we’re bringing awareness to the onset of stress and ways we can quieten our minds, we thought we’d introduce you to the furry team who are quite often sitting just out of eyeline on Zoom, but close enough for soul-calming ear scratches as we try to conduct BAU from home.
Owner: Sandie Hampson
Name: Filou (the fat tortie)
Role: The Gaffer
Name: Tallulah (the mini panther)
Role: Paws Patrol
How have Filou and Tallulah’s attitudes changed over the past few months?
“Pre-lockdown, they would wait patiently for dinner until 6pm. Now I’m home all day, they order dinner around 12 noon and complain loudly all through the afternoon because it doesn’t arrive.”
What are you doing to ensure they feel like valued members of the team?
“Indulge them with rides up and down on the sit-stand desk. And also allow them to send the odd paw-produced email. People expect this stuff to happen now, right?”
Role: Food hygiene officer
What is Riley’s main responsibility?
“That would be food safety. As such he regularly checks store cupboards, bins and composting containers to make sure they’re properly locked and inaccessible. He sees it as his duty to do taste testing on behalf of his human co-habitants for any unsecured food he does come across.”
Owner: Rachael Bull
Name: Walter Warner
Role: Head of Elbow Nudging and Weird Sleeping Positions
How is Walter’s performance on the job so far?
“Solid attendance record so far, although sleeps on the job a lot. Can be disruptive during Zoom meetings with very loud snoring and dreaming. Activity tends to peak in the late afternoon when he gets hungry… Or any time there is food around, for that matter.”
Role: Treat Executive
How does Sophia’s character fit with the rest of the team?
“If I’m honest, she’s not a team player at all. If I was to describe her in one word, it would be ‘sassy’. She likes to get her long fur everywhere, sleep and requires attention until suddenly with no warning not wanting it anymore. She likes her own space!”
Owner: Imogen Short
Role: Chief Play Bow Officer
You’ve had Zeus for four months now, how is he growing into his role?
“Everyday, he joins me for warm up laps on the beach as the sun comes up… and usually when it goes down again. He was very nervous when we adopted him and we had to teach him how to play, which is as weird and wonderful as it sounds… and now he’s an unstoppable Play Bowing force – in the office, while I’m on calls, sometimes in the dead of the night (the infamous night-time zoomies). He’s a constant source of energy throughout the day, which is amazing.”
Owner: Becky Broadley
Tell us about Rosie’s work ethic
“Rosie is determined, driven and knows exactly how to get what she wants. She comes into the office every day at 11:30am to let me know it’s almost time for her lunchtime walk. And then she comes in at hourly intervals after that to tell me it’s time I had a screen break (that she wants biscuits) and that it’s time to get moving (to chase her and her fluffy tiger round the house).”
No pet, no problem!
Being around our fur babies is just one way of reducing our stress levels. But there are so many other methods to calm our minds that don’t involve committing to a four-legged friend. Take long walks in the countryside, listen to a podcast or an audiobook, join an exercise class (in a COVID-secure way), go for a run, meet with friends, take up a hobby that requires complete focus, take a course, read a book, write a journal…
You might try something and not even realise it’s calming your mind. So stick with it and understand how it makes you feel afterwards.
And if that fails, get a dog ????