You’ve heard the saying ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’, but I’ve found a better saying – ‘a dog is everyone’s best friend.’
Bella has come to stay with me in York this week as I am in the flat on my own. My best friends and flat mates have gone home or gone on holiday for the Easter holidays. But, I decided to stay in York as I know I have too many distractions back home – ie an 8 month old puppy who loves to sing and moan!
I’m currently writing my final assignments: my research project (dissertation) and my philosophy for teaching. I’m coming towards the end of my university experience and I don’t really know how I feel about it! I’m excited to leave and start a new chapter of my life, but at the same time I want to stay a student and have little responsibility and lots of spare time forever 😂
With deadlines lingering, my stress levels have peaked to the max. I’m not someone who can focus or concentrate on something when I’ve got so much rushing around in my head. Ironically, it is Stress Awareness Month this April. So, I’ve had to find ways to help with all the rushing around in my head and thought I’d share them.
How I deal with Stress:
1. Writing my worries down in a notebook and keeping a diary. This helps as writing them down, I kind of feel that I don’t have them in my head anymore; they’re on paper. This doesn’t always work, but currently it is as if I think about a worry, I kind of say to myself – don’t worry about that now, you won’t forget what you’ve to do and how to remediate the worry. I sometimes write solutions to my stresses – there is always something that can be done about a stressful situation.
2. Increasing physical activity. I have taken up running as of the first of April and it has made me feel so much better! I feel fitter, and my outlook on life has changed. When I’m running, I forget about any worries and all I focus on is my breathing and not falling over! Exercise is also encouraging weight loss and I am eating healthier which all links into feeling better. (I did have takeaway on Saturday though – don’t tell anyone)
3. Don’t bottle it up – talk! I don’t know how many times I’ve rang my mum and just let it all out, tears and all. After every conversation, I feel so much better. Just getting it off my chest and having someone there listening always helps. Having someone say – Emily keep going, uni will all be over soon.
4. Managing my time. Every morning, I write a list of what I want to have done by today. I write them in order of priority and put things in that are easy, such as walk Bella, get a drink, have lunch. This is so I can tick it off and feel as if my list is going down! But don’t feel disheartened if you don’t get it all done, there’s still time and put that to the priority for the next day.
5. Having my furry friend around🐾
Before having a dog, when I’d hear someone say that their dog was their best friend, I used to think – how? But now, I 100% know what they mean. I’m currently sat watching Julia Bradbury – Australia with Bella curled up on my right, and yes we are having a spoon. Beats Jack! And just having her there helps keep me calm and can ease my stress levels.
Animals, dogs and cats in particular, can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness and encourage exercise and allow the happy hormones to start flowing. I’ve gained a new running buddy for the week. Having Bella has given me more of a reason to get up that little bit earlier to go for a run. So far, together Bella and I have ran about 20km. She’s such a motivator, running ahead but then stopping to turn around and look back at me. I don’t know if it’s her looking out for me or thinking, bloody hurry up woman!
Bella has slept all day (a dogs life eh) which has let me crack on with my dissertation. But every now and then I get a head rest against me, she’s so loving. Studies have shown that the touch of an animal, a cuddle or by stroking them can lower blood pressure and can help you feel calmer and less stressed. I think this is why I’ve been able to get on and focus more than usual. A healthier mind and heart whilst having Bella around.
It had been in the pipeline for a month or so that I was to go and meet with a few other girls from Instagram. I just got a message one day from one of the girls, who had made a group chat, about meeting up one day. We were all from Yorkshire and loved the outdoors and photography. We had so much in common. So, it came around for us to meet. We met in Northallerton at the Joe Cornish tea room (amazing brownies and dog friendly). Bella took her first train journey! I’m a sociable person, 100% but god i was nervous! Nervous but excited! I had Bella there to calm my nerves and she took my mind off it on the train! We got there and bloody hell, I have never realised how much I talk when I’m nervous. I literally never shut up, I bet the girls were thinking omg she is so loud and went home with a headache!
It think so many people take animals for granted. Whether that’s dogs, cats or anything bigger or smaller, has 4 legs, 2 legs or just fins. But they are such special creatures that need to be cherished. They can help in so many ways. You see the incredible work of therapy dogs, guide dogs, mountain rescue and assistance dogs all have an incredible role in helping us humans. Every animal has its unique qualities and they need to be admired for the work they do, naturally. (Do stay away from cassowaries though, they’re hella dangerous and don’t appreciate being stroked)