Feeling lonely this holiday season? This can help

Thanksgiving is just two days away—and it marks the beginning of a new season of gatherings. 

Of course, many of us are looking forward to reuniting with our family and friends after last year’s socially distanced pandemic holiday. (Myself included.) 

But even though encourage you to socialize… the question of safety in the age of coronavirus remains.  

So, if you still find yourself feeling lonely or isolated this holiday season, allow me to share one of my (not-so-best-kept) secrets for companionship… 

Pet ownership! 

Indeed, being a proud dog dad has made my own days a little easier throughout this pandemic in more ways than one. 

And research shows I’m not alone… 

A continuous emotional bond 

Researchers from the U.K. conducted a survey of 6,000 participants during the country’s peak lockdown period, lasting from late March to early June of 2020. Roughly 90 percent of respondents reported having at least one pet. 

And whether it was a dog, cat, guinea pig, or fish, that animal companion ended up providing a significant buffer against psychological stress. 

More than 90 percent of the survey’s respondents said that their pet helped them cope with the emotional fallout of lockdown. And nearly all of them said that their pet also helped keep them fit and active.  

In fact, the lower subjects scored in mental health at the beginning of the lockdown, the stronger their emotional bond was with their pet by the end of it. 

(I should also note that 68 percent reported having worries about access to veterinary care or concerns about who might care for their pet if they became ill, during this tumultuous time. But in the end, it’s safe to say that the benefits surely outweighed the drawbacks.) 

And I’m not at all surprised. Because if you ask me, pets are always worth it. (Of course, with a smart and loving dog like Remington, I might be biased!) 

Dodge death with a furry friend 

Even though we may not be dealing with the extreme isolation of the 2020 lockdowns any longer, this pandemic is still lingering. And the holidays ahead are bound to introduce a whole new host of anxieties to an already stressful time for a lot of us.  

So if you’ve been thinking about fostering or adopting a pet, now might just be the PERFECT time to take the plunge and bring a new furry family member home. 

In fact, assuming you have the time and ability to care for it, any time is a good time to introduce a pet to your life.  

Plenty of other research shows that animal companions can add YEARS to your life, regardless of what’s happening in the headlines—as I discussed in the December 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The surprising secret to living better, longer”). 

More specifically, one recent study found that dog owners were: 

  • 25 percent less likely to die from any cause 
  • 65 percent less likely to die after a heart attack 
  • Nearly 30 percent less likely to die from any cardiovascular problem 

This study didn’t look at potential influencing factors like better overall fitness or healthier lifestyles. So it can’t prove that dog ownership wards off death all by itself. 

But the conclusions certainly suggest as much. Meaning your four-legged friend may be saving your life—quite literally—as you read this.  

(Of course, I still encourage you to lead a healthy lifestyle, too. Be sure to incorporate regular physical activity to your routine… and enjoy a healthy, balanced diet full of delicious, whole foods. Especially this holiday season!) 

The bottom line is, being a pet owner requires a lot of time, energy, and devotion. But in return, our animal companions give back at least as much in physical and emotional health benefits.  

So—lean on them and give them all you’ve got throughout this holiday season, and beyond… and then, let love do the rest. 


“Pets linked to maintaining better mental health and reducing loneliness during lockdown, new research shows.” Science Daily, 09/26/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200926145210.htm)