It’s that time of the month, and you want nothing more than to retreat back to bed with a heating pad and salty snacks and wait away your period. Except, you have pets who rely on you, and you can’t hibernate because you need to take care of them. Instead of feeling gloomy about your period, change your mindset. Decompressing with pets not only affects your mental health, according to some research, but caring for a furry friend influences your physical health, as well. There are many ways Fluffy and Fido can help you through your period.
There are many scientific studies on the positive benefits between human and animal interaction. A review of 69 studies published in Frontiers in Psychology concludes that pet owners have better mental and physical health than those who don’t own pets. Just simply interacting with an animal is uplifting.1 Additionally, Harvard Medical School reports that dog owners are less vulnerable to the physical effects of stress. 2
Pets and their potential power to reduce stress may be welcome news to ladies who experience menstrual cramps. In fact, psychological stress may increase the likeliness and severity of menstrual cramps. 3
If you know your period is coming and you don’t own a pet, perhaps volunteer to cuddle with the animals at your local shelter.
Regular aerobic exercise may lessen cramps, too. When you’re menstruating, the first thing on your mind isn’t necessarily getting your sweat on. However, your pup doesn’t care what time of the month it is. He still needs his daily walk, which is the perfect opportunity for you to get some light exercise in.
Furry Heating Pad
Remember how you wanted to curl up in bed once the cramping began? Well, if you have a caring cat or a little lap dog, you won’t even need to bring the heating pad. Heat may ease cramps.3 Cuddle up to your warm pet, and you’ll get the soothing effects of a purring cat and a wriggly heating pad.
Adorable, Welcome Distraction
Being a pet parent takes a lot of work, and when you’re caring for someone other than yourself, you may not even notice your period. It’s not that Aunt Flo packs her bags and leaves, but you’re busy enough that you’re not paying any attention to her. Cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, horses, guinea pigs — they all need to be fed, exercised, groomed and loved, so put all your energy into your pet instead of your period!
- Beetz, Andrea, et al. “Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin.” Frontiers in Psychology. 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408111/
- DeNoon, Daniel. “A dog could be your heart’s best friend.” Harvard Medical School. May 22, 2013. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-dog-could-be-your-hearts-best-friend-20130522629
- “Menstrual cramps, Lifestyle and home remedies.” Mayo Clinic. May 8, 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20025447