Mental Health

5 lessons in joy from dogs to shake off the winter blues

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In the midst of the bleakest month of the year, we turn to our four-legged friends to get some pointers on how to find joy in the day-to-day…

From the dismal weather to the dire state of your post-Christmas bank account, it’s no wonder so many of us struggle to get on board with the first month of the year.

But you know who never seems to suffer from the winter blues? Dogs.

Because where we see a never-ending stretch of grey skies and self-restraint, our canine chums see weeks of tail-wagging, lead-slipping potential.

With that in mind, these are the lessons we could learn from dogs to help us through the last few months of winter…

  • 1. Treasure your housemates

    Whether you’re living with your partner, best mates or a bunch of relative strangers, domestic patience levels tend to hit an all-time low in winter.

    However, instead of starting to grind your teeth the minute you hear a key turn in the lock, take a leaf out of a dog’s book.

    Whether it’s a beloved owner or the long-suffering Amazon driver, dogs will always provide a joyous welcoming committee for anyone, so why shouldn’t you?

    Picture the look on your flatmate’s face when you come barrelling out of the sitting room and tackle them to the floor for a big old cuddle. Who could fail to be charmed by that?

    There, you’re feeling more cheerful already. 

  • 2. Eat joyfully

    After the excesses of Christmas, there’s a tendency to think we have to punish ourselves in the New Year with a diet of abstemious salads and endless soup.

    But while it’s fine to cut down on the booze and chocolate, eating a little more mindfully doesn’t have to equate to all-out monasticism.

    Would a dog tolerate that? Reader, they would not.

    That’s why we’ll be treating our four-legged chums to meals from premium pet food brand NOOD, who create high-quality, nutrient-rich food for both cats and dogs, that doesn’t break the bank.

    Created by a team of leading animal nutrition experts and vets, these tasty meat-first recipes are healthy, feel-good food, sure to put a spring in your pooch’s step.

    Eat as well as your dog does, and January won’t look half as bleak.

  • 3. Prioritise napping

    Dogs spend up to 50% of their day unconscious, which is probably why they manage to keep up such a joyful exterior the rest of the time.

    There have been no end of studies exhorting the physical benefits of napping, with a 20-minute doze thought to help you recharge and refocus on the task at hand.

    Indeed, business giants like Google have actively encouraged employees to get some shut-eye during the work day, with special nap-pods provided in the office environment.

    Start building in time for a lunchtime snooze, and the fact that it’s basically dark by 1pm will mean that it begins to feel like a good thing.

  • 4. Get your steps in

    Knowing that exercise is good for you vs wanting to ignore your running kit and spend another hour in bed. The eternal dichotomy of man.

    No such struggles for dogs though, are there? A dog wants its walk, come rain or shine, and it will bark the house down until it gets it.

    That’s because dogs understand that exercise is a mood-booster and can’t wait to chow down on some delicious endorphins, whether you like it or not.

    Don’t want to hire a personal trainer? Buy a dog instead, and rest assured that they will bully you into getting your daily exercise, pulling you out of your winter slump.

    Compulsory joy guaranteed, week in, week out.

  • 5. Meet new people

    Take a dog outside the house for anything upwards of five minutes, and chances are it will have made a bunch of new friends by the time you get it home again.

    Now, while we wouldn’t recommend you go looking for new mates in the local park, there’s still something to be said for bringing that welcoming energy into January and beyond.

    Embracing new experiences and meeting new people is a sure-fire way to stave off the winter blues, so shake off that urge to hibernate and start saying yes to things.

    Sick of your dog being more popular than you? Now’s the time to change it, just in time for spring… 

Ready to introduce your dog to their new favourite food? NOOD is the new supermarket pet food brand that everyone’s talking about. NOOD’s tasty dog and cat food recipes contain meat as the first ingredient, and are completed with prebiotics and superfoods, including flaxseed, pomegranate and spinach, to keep your pet happy and healthy with every bite. The full range is suitable for all life stages and includes dry food for dogs, and dry and wet food for cats, and there’s 50% off your first order when you shop online. Shop the range here.