As a veteran struggling with mental health, self-isolation can be self-imposed, as fear increases your world begins to shrink which makes it more difficult to push yourself to go out. You become overwhelmed in busy places, the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life is seen as threatening.
Due to current circumstances, how many of us are now scanning when we go out looking for someone coughing, getting too close, posing a threat to you? You know what the danger is and it’s one threat, one incident. A soldier relives numerous incidents from numerous Op tours on a daily basis. Already some of us are comfortable staying at home and have created ‘new’ routines, how will we respond when we start integrating back into the ‘new normal’? These are unique times for most of us and offer the opportunity to learn the processes that others go through who exist in their minds like this all the time.
Self-isolation for your dog will be difficult too; just like us they are individuals and they will respond in different ways to change in their normal routine, just like you are doing. They will pick up on your moods, which will fluctuate from day to day depending on how much news you watch or how much rest and sleep you have managed to get. They might not have the opportunity to get out and about to explore as they used to and when they do, they may well pick up on your anxious state of mind or hypervigilance. These are just a few of the ways your dog may be affected as they react to the situation and change much the same as we do.
Now is the perfect time to create a safe space to give your dog some exploring and enrichment activities, where they can forage, sniff, eat and enjoy just ‘being a dog’. If you have been to one of our taster sessions you will know what this looks like, but for those that don’t we will be posting some videos of items you can find in your home and garden and in the meantime why not watch this video link for some further explanation.
By focusing on finding the items, preparing the area, then taking time out to grab a brew and make a conscious effort to sit, watch and enjoy the moment with your dog, you will be supporting their mental well-being and enabling them to relax, reboot and recharge. You will both benefit from some downtime and who knows you too may take a moment to unwind too.