E is for Ewok.
No, not that kind of Ewok…..this kind!
This is my Persian cat, Ewok. She’ll be 5 years old tomorrow. Plenty of studies have shown that pets are good for your mental health. They reduce tension and can improve your mood (except when they pee on something). Research has shown that spending just 20 minutes with your pet can lower cortisol, the stress hormone, levels and elevate serotonin. Interaction with animals is even a form of therapy in some cases. I am thankful every day that I have Ewok. She does so much for me. When I am at my worst and am sure everyone in my life would better off if I were gone, I think of Ewok. She is the only one I know wouldn’t be better off. I am her person. She needs me.
Ewok keeps me company. Spending time with her makes me feel better. Petting her, playing with her or listening to her purr gives me something besides my inner monologue to focus on. Also, she needs me. As much as she’d like to think she was a ferocious little beast that could take care of herself, she can’t. She needs me, her little world revolves around me. It’s nice to be needed. Ewok is going to want me around and love me regardless of my mood, whether or not I got that grant for my research and despite my eating the whole chocolate cake. Pet love is unconditional, that’s a reason to keep going.
Ewok helps me sleep. I love listening to her purring. Cats purr at a frequency of 25Hz, the same frequency that is used to help heal wounds faster in humans (reference). The rhythmic sound Ewok makes often helps me sleep. When I’m tossing and turning or my mind is racing, I put her beside my pillow and focus on the sound she is making. This usually helps me drift off. I’m assuming her purring means she is content which means I am doing something right. This gives me a peaceful feeling, allowing me to sleep. How do I get her to stay? I’m lucky she just likes to sleep with me every night. Unfortunately her favourite spot to sleep is on my face. So if I want her to stay, I have to wait until she is sleepy and then I can position her like putty.
Ewok keeps me active. No, I don’t take her for walks. Ewok is a bit of a princess. She doesn’t like it when the wind ruffles her fur. Ewok and I do yoga together. Yes, you read that last sentence right. Yoga. Every time I do a workout video, I get out my yoga mat and I have to get Ewok’s mat out for her too. If I don’t workout often enough, she starts to remind me to get to it. Let me explain….. I do workout videos at home for which I use a yoga mat. I would start my workout and Ewok would be there……batting my ponytail as I did sit-ups, climbing under me as I did push-ups and weaving in and out of my legs as I did squats. Not to mention scratching my mat to pieces! She was driving me nuts and making it impossible to workout at home. One day I got fed up with her antics and her scratching, so I got out another mat, only half hoping she’d stay on the old one and leave me alone. To my surprise, she did! She loves that ridiculous hot pink mat! Without me in the way she was free to scratch and roll and contort herself all over it. So now we workout together. Me on my mat, Ewok on hers. If I haven’t worked out in a while she’ll head over to where I keep the mats and start scratching her pink one. Hey Mum, workout time!
Ewok gives me purpose. She injects some humor in among the darkness. I’m not in a smiling mood at the moment, but here I am writing a post about Ewok and her ridiculous yoga mat and its already making me feel a little lighter. She sometimes inspires creativity too. I’ve made treats or toys for her in the past. I even make cartoon versions of her sometimes. I know it seems insignificant, but anything to distract me from the over-thinking and getting into that negative snowballing effect helps.
For one reason or another, not everyone can have a pet. That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the interaction. I’m sure you have friends or relatives with pets that you can visit. If you are open to a little more commitment, you can also volunteer to walk neighbourhood dogs or work at the local animal shelter. For a less committed interaction try a bird feeder in the backyard or even going to the zoo could provide a nice distraction.
Do you have a pet, or wish you had one? What kind of animal do you wish you could interact with more often?
For more Ewok, visit “Meet Ewok” in my top menu.