The Importance of Winding Down and How a Dog Can Help

Woman stroking a Golden Retriever in the street
Photo by Ed Yourdon

Why I’m a Stressed-Out Businessman

I have a lot of stress in my life at the moment. We’re going through a prolonged period of change at work, which means we need to adjust the way people are managed, make some difficult decisions about who stays in the organisation and who should be invited to leave, and arranging new accommodation for the entire workforce.

As facilities manager, the accommodation problem rests squarely on my shoulders. It’s a weighty problem to wrestle with because it affects the lives of so many people. Depending on where we end up, some staff will have a longer commute to work each day, which might cause any number of complications with child care, transport arrangements, not to mention the extra cost of fuel which is trending ever higher these days.

In addition to the personal implications for people working for my organisation, the choice of which facility I eventually decide on can impact the bottom line and the very survival of our business. If I go for a prime location, this will cost big bucks and could make our operation less viable economically, whereas if I go for a cheaper option, this will inevitably be further away from our customers and will be lacking in prestige. It’s a tough decision.

How my Dog Relaxes Me

With all this stress in my life during the working day, the last thing that I or my family need is for me to bring the worry and fretfulness of the workplace home with me. It’s bad for the health and bad for the ambience of the household.

So how do I relax?

I spend some time with my dog. This makes me feel better in a number of ways:

My Dog is Always Pleased to See Me

No matter how grumpy I am when I return from a hard day at the office, my dog is always pleased to see me. It’s as if I’ve just come back from a year at sea with the Navy. It doesn’t matter to my dog whether I’ve been away for a month or even for 5 minutes, each time I walk back into the room, he’s all wagging tails and eager to be petted.

This makes a pleasant change from some of the characters I have to deal with at work. Many of these folk try to avoid me or complain and moan to me when they see me. But not my dog, he’s always a sight for sore eyes.

Take the Dog for a Walk

I love taking my dog for a walk in the evening. It freshens me up, blows away the cobwebs and takes my mind off my worries. Not only am I getting a change of scenery and some fresh air, but I getting some much needed exercise and enjoying the company of my old friend.

I Groom and Pet My Dog

Studies have shown that stroking and petting a dog significantly reduces levels of stress – both for the human giving and for the dog receiving the attention. It’s a form of bonding.

There’s nothing that relaxes me more than sitting in my favourite armchair with my dog on my lap, watching a good film and striking the dog and sipping a large glass of red wine. Pretty soon my troubles have gone.

Once a week I groom my dog, which involves a wash with some specially formulated dog grooming products followed by a towel drying and a brush of the coat. This keeps his fur nice and clean, smelling great and crying out to be stroked.

This little routine is what I look forward to every day upon my return home and is what serves to mark the end of the working day and the beginning of my relaxing leisure time. I have no trouble sleeping after unwinding in this way (unlike some of my colleagues who complain of sleepless nights at the moment), and awake the next day feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

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