E is for Ewok

E is for Ewok.

ewok_SW

No, not that kind of Ewok…..this kind!

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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 belly up

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.

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Rooaarrrr from the ferocious beast! …or maybe just a sleepy kitty yawn.

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.

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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!

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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.

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Ewok as a unikitty!

steampunk superhero

Ewok and I as steampunk superheroes. She makes a great sidekick.

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.

Share Your World 2014 – Week 22

share your world

This is the Share Your World Challenge. If you missed the last couple of weeks, more information can be found at Cee’s Photography. Essentially, four questions are asked every week and you have to answer them. Simple and fun!

Regarding animals would you prefer not having them around or having domestics pets, farm animals, or seeing them in nature or the zoo?2014-03-11 12.44.53

Life is definitely better with animals. Especially with my cat, Ewok. I’ve always wished I could have gotten two cats. It would be nice for Ewok to have a buddy to play with when we aren’t home. I enjoy seeing animals at the zoo and on farms, but it’s more exciting to see them in their natural habitat. I was on a jog with the husband the other day and a rabbit hopped out of a bush and scampered along beside us for a while before disappearing again. Even though, it was just a rabbit, it was special. Hubby has spent a year in Africa. There he saw wild lions, elephants and giraffes. That’s the kind of thing I would like to see some day.

DTour-Scribbles-MickeyAre you a collector of anything? 

Collections are a lot of fun, but at the moment, they just take up space and money that I don’t have. That’s why I stopped collecting the Disney Vinylmations I was collecting. Hubby collects autographs from celebrities from comic conventions. I think he’s got the whole cast from Star Trek Voyager and the Next Generation. I have persuaded him to scrapbook his autographs instead of putting them all over my walls.

If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?

I could never pick just one question. Every question comes with more questions and what ifs. I guess at the moment, I’d like to have the kids or no kids question answered. That would answer so many questions. I worry about being a bad mother because of my depression. What happens if I go into my black hole, or worse? Will I damage the kids? Will I leave my husband to do everything himself? Can I really handle a career and kids in my condition? There’s also the other side of things. My husband is a high school teacher and he comes home with stories about kids disrespecting him, threatening him and shoving him. What if I have a kid like that? The whole thing scares me, but at the same time I think I’d regret not having them.

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to? 

I’d go to a spa somewhere in the Japanese mountains and just enjoy relaxing and being pampered. I’ve never done that before, I’m too much of a control freak, haha.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last Week: I’m glad I went running as many times as I did. I really do feel better when I am active. I feel physically sick less often when I am active. I know the good endorphins help with my state of mind as well, but it’s also the worked muscles feeling too. I know I look exactly the same, but when my muscles are tight and tired, I feel skinnier and prettier. I know that’s kind of silly, because it’s too soon for me to have lost much weight, but it’s how I feel. That’s what matters most, right?

This week: I am looking forward to Friday. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to work from home which will be a relief. Monday was a really long day and all the other days this week are looking to be the same.

Super Pets – How your pet can help rescue you from depression

I didn’t have pets growing up, so I never understood the bond you could have with an animal. The closest thing I had ever had to a pet was the mealworm I brought home as third grade science homework to learn about metamorphosis. My folks adopted two cats, sisters, just before I moved out. So I guess technically they were my first pets, but it wasn’t until Ewok that I really got it. This post is about how Ewok has helped me get through some of the rough patches.

1. Interaction.

Sandpaper kisses from Ewok

It doesn’t really matter what kind of pet you have for this one. As long as you can pat them, play with them or watch them. They can provide a distraction, getting you thinking about something other than the big black hole you are in. Research has shown that spending just 20 minutes with your pet can lower cortisol, the stress hormone, levels and elevate serotonin. You can talk to them too. They may not respond, but they can listen and it sure beats talking to yourself. So let it all out, they’ll stay by your side.

2. Purring.
Obviously this is just for the lucky people who have cats. I love listening to Ewok 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.

3. Exercise.
This makes more sense if you have a dog. Obviously, you have to walk the dog. Ewok is unique, but I don’t take her for a walk. She’s an indoor cat. 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.

Kitty yoga time on her very own mat

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!

4. Curbing the loneliness.

Ewok watching for me to come home

Spending time with Ewok makes me feel better. Petting her, playing with her or listening to her purr gives me something else 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.

5. Creativity.
Your pet may inspire creativity whether it be through art, photography or writing. Maybe you capture a look that you can interpret since you don’t really know what they are thinking. Or perhaps they inject some humor in among the darkness. Currently, I’m starting to get that heavy feeling from being without my medication. I’m not in a smiling mood, but here I am writing a post about Ewok and her ridiculous yoga mat and its already making me feel a little lighter. You don’t have to be some kind of artist for your pet to inspire creativity either. What about homemade treats or toys? Decorations or bedding for a cage? I know it seems insignificant, but anything to distract you from over-thinking and and getting into that negative snowballing effect will help.

Baby Ewok

If you can’t have a pet for some reason, you can still benefit. 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.

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