Man hugging a dog. Mental Health Awareness

Workit Celebrates Our Pets for Mental Health Awareness Month

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This year marks the 70th observance of May as Mental Health Awareness month, with an expansion upon the theme of #4Mind4Body. Often, what is good for your mind and your body go hand-in-hand. One aspect of self-care being celebrated this year? Companion animals.

There’s reason to celebrate your pets. 80% of pet owners believe their pets bring them happiness and emotional support, and pet ownership can decrease stress and lower blood pressure. What about addiction? A 2014 systematic review of Animal-Assisted Therapy showed that animal intervention may be an effective treatment for substance use disorders (for people who like animals, at least).

To raise mental health awareness and give our pets the praise they deserve, we caught up with the Workit Health team, an animal-loving bunch, to see just how animal companions have helped them.

A golden retriever with his head propped on a table leg

“When I got Charlie, I had never had a dog on my own before. Two years later, and I can’t image life without him! He’s a daily source of happiness and silliness.”

— Pat, Workit Chief Technology Officer

 

“In early addiction recovery, I realized people were treating me poorly by seeing that behavior echoed in how they treated animals. Since then, caring for my pets has been a key comforting factor in my sobriety. They need me, and I’m healthy enough to be there for them.”

— Kali, Head of Marketing

Head of Marketing Kali Lux with her Siamese cat

Recovery coach Samantha hugging her Vizsla on a bridge

Vizsla’s are known for being very sweet and affectionate dogs. Huck not only keeps me accountable to get exercise (as he needs a lot of it), but also provides me with that unconditional love and affection that humans crave. Both of these combined help to improve the status of my mental health greatly. ”

— Samantha, Recovery Coach

 

“I brought my dog Sampson home when I had only a few months of recovery under my belt—twelve plus years ago! He’s my spirit animal and has been there through thick & thin. To anyone thinking about getting a dog in early recovery, I highly recommend it!”

— Robin, Co-CEO

Sampson is a curly little dog with a cute face

Recovery coach Sherrie's two fluffy dogs

“There is nothing more reassuring or comforting than the love of your pet! A best friend, confidant, best listener ever, always there for you. One of the best things for mental health is the love of an animal. Pets are incredibly calming and helpful in overcoming anxiety.”

— Sherrie, Recovery Coach

Digital Marketing Coordinator Courtney with her Yorkshire terrier

“My Yorkie, Mosby has been with me through all of the hard times in my life. He knows when I am sad and is always by my side to cheer me up. It’s crazy how a little 7lb dog that can’t even talk can become your best friend! ”

— Courtney, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Two chihuahuas look skeptically at the camera

“My dogs bring me so much joy. I know that being in a good place with my mental and physical health helps me appreciate and connect to them, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.”

— Megan, Public Health Intern

 

“Mental health is tough—companionship, support and fellowship definitely helps. Struggling with my mental health, life can seem so difficult and stressful—having a companion in an animal has helped so much. Something that has unconditional love, knows what you’re feeling, protects you and never leaves your side I’ve found to be comforting in times of stress. ”

— Corissa, Intake Coordinator

Intake coordinator Corissa hugs her dog

Jax is an earnest, short-haired dog

“Having Jax has led to so many small changes in my life and mental health. From getting more fresh air for walks to being more social through meeting friends at the dog park, he has acted as a motivation to do things I historically have struggled to do on my own. On mornings when I wake up feeling sluggish and down, seeing his sleepy wake-up face and excitement makes me smile and puts joy in those mundane days.”

— Kate, Head of Operations

So during Mental Health Awareness Month and every month, here’s to the pups, cats, birds, reptiles, and other creatures that keep us connected. How has your pet helped you on your mental health journey? Let us know in the comments.

As Workit Health’s Head of Marketing, Kali Lux leans in to the culture gap between addiction, recovery, and medicine. She’s interested in finding solutions that work for substance users better than drinking or drugging does, and believes Workit is one of them. She’s written extensively on her own experience through addiction into long-term recovery. You can connect with her on Twitter @kalireadsbooks.

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