Can Animals Help with Mental Health?
Managing your mental health alone can be challenging – having companionship whether that is a friend, family member, or a pet can help provide invaluable support. Spending time with pets and other animals encourages us to live mentally healthier lives, as they comfort and motivate us.
At Calvert Exmoor, we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact of interacting with animals, with many of our guests enjoying our accessible horse riding and stable activities, which offer a range of mental and physical benefits.
How Can a Pet Help with Mental Health?
Having a pet or being in regular contact with an animal and taking care of them can improve your mental health in a number of ways.
Add a Sense of Routine to Your Day
Taking care of a pet can help you keep a daily routine and creates structure in your day. Feeding, and exercising your pet can not only make you feel focussed and grounded but it also adds purpose to your day and a sense of achievement which is great for those days that are really hard.
Support Daily Exercise
Doing physical activity such as walking a dog or riding a horse can help your mind to reset and is just plain fun! Put your favourite playlist or podcast on and enjoy the fresh air with your furry friend.
Here at Calvert Exmoor we’re big believers in the ability of adventure breaks to support your mental health. Getting outside, staying active and befriending a horse are just some of the advantages of a stay with us.
Boost Social Skills
Having a pet or participating in animal-based activities can be a great way to meet new people and build your social skills. From dog walkers stopping to chat to each other, training classes and pet shops to groups for interacting with therapy animals and animal-interest clubs, there are many ways to connect and chat to new, like-minded people.
Animals can also improve your self confidence – they can be brilliant listeners which can be really helpful especially if you are feeling misunderstood or aren’t sure if you’ll be accepted by others.
The company of animals can help to reduce anxiety as they can provide comfort and are easy to spend time with.
Is Getting a Pet the Right Choice?
Although pets can really help and improve mental health, they are a very big and serious commitment. You will need to make sure you have the time, energy, money and a good environment for them to live in, before thinking about taking care of a furry friend.
Things to consider before getting a pet:
- How often are you at home?
- How much time do you have to spend with your pet?
- Do you have enough money to care for them? Eg food, vet bills, toys etc.
- How much outdoor space do you have?
- Are you capable of looking after a pet at all times?
Fostering a pet is also an option as is looking after a friend’s when they are on holiday – this can help you leaner if having your own furry friend is the right thing for you.
Spending Times With Animals if Your Don’t Have a Pet
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, interacting with pets and animals is a great way to improve how you feel. Even if owning a pet isn’t an option for you due to where you live or not being able to care for them daily, there are plenty of other ways to see the mental health benefits of spending time with animals.
Here at Calvert Exmoor we provide holidays for people with disabilities, offering plenty of activities including accessible horse riding and carriage experiences. Our horses are much-loved members of the team, making your stay with us one to remember!