7:00 am. Alarm blaring. Time to get up. Make some breakfast. 7:30. Time to shower, get dressed and get out the door by 8:30. Come home at 5:00, have dinner, watch your favorite shows, and go to bed at 10:00. Then start all over again.

Sound familiar? Whether you’re constantly running around at the office, work at home, or just need a 15-minute mental break, here are 10 ways your dog can help you relax, clear your mind, and notice your surroundings. Even if it’s just for five minutes, dogs can refresh our minds and re-energize us to get through the day.

1.Make a separate album in your phone for just photos of your dog. When you’re having a bad day, head to your photo album. These photos will remind you that no matter what happens, your dog will love you unconditionally.

2. Spend a few minutes rubbing your dog’s ears, belly, or wherever their favorite “spot” is. My dog loves having his ears rubbed. I let my mind focus on the velvety texture of his ears, and his purring sound when he’s content. Let this be your focus for a few minutes.

3. Take your dog on a car ride. Does your dog love being in the car? Press on the gas, blast some music and hang out with your best bud. Notice your surroundings. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

4. Sit at your favorite spot. Do you love heading the local park? Lake? Maybe your back porch? Go there with your dog. Relax, close your eyes, and just focus on the sounds around you. We live near a few lakes, so I like to take my dog, sit on the bench, and watch the ducks wade in the clear water.

5. Look forward to them greeting you at the door. Whenever I come home, my dog enthusiastically waits at the door, jumping up and down with excitement. Knowing that there’s always someone excited to see me makes my long days that much better.

6. Make plans just for you and your dog. Had a really long week? Maybe you just want to relax instead of going out on Saturday night. Consider taking the evening off. Cook a homemade meal or get takeout (Five Guys, here I come), a nice bottle of wine, and put on your sweats for a night of binge watching. Make sure you have plenty of blankets for snuggling.

7. Walking always helps. Your dog has to go on walks, at the very least. Put your phone away, and just enjoy your neighborhood surroundings.

8. Let the dog sleep in your bed. Studies show our furry family members actually help us sleep better. This proves it.

9. Teach your dog a new trick. Help your dog improve his “playing dead” pose, or sit on command. Maybe you had one of those days where it felt like nothing got done. Helping your dog master a task can help you feel more confident.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

10. Take a selfie with your dog. Then follow step 1.

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