Horse Owners, Holidays, and Covid-19
I wanted to apologize for me lack blog posts lately. I know every horse owner (or non-horse owner) is experiencing some level of anxiety due to COVID-19. For me, this anxiety has given me major writer’s block just as my blog was beginning to gain traction. So, I decided to write a post about what I am feeling and what I am sure so many others are experiencing too. If you are having feelings of anxiety or stress, know that you are most definitely NOT alone.
On top of that, holidays, though often bringing a sense of joy, also bring some level of stress. Gift buying, travel, and meal preparation can all be overwhelming. But the year, with the additional challenges of Covid-19, stress may reach an all-time high.
When it comes to horse owners, my friends who board may be worried about their horse’s caretaker or trainer coming down with Covid-19. Riders with horses at home may be worried about feed stores running out of stock. What if there is an emergency and the vet or farrier can’t come? Or maybe you are worried about the financial strain of owning a horse on top of normal holiday expenses.
I have put together some ideas of how to keep anxiety and stress in check, so we aren’t the ones needing Alfa-Lox (Now Triple Crown Stress-Free) & Ulcerguard while getting through the holidays and the end of 2020.
Take breaks from the news or media
Sometimes taking breaks from watching the news or social media is exactly what you need during the holidays. Most recently I deleted Facebook from my phone. This has drastically reduced the amount of time I spend on Facebook. I physically have to login from my laptop versus having notifications and immediate updates on my phone all day long which would constantly engage me with Facebook.
Take care of your body
Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, and exercise. Daily exercise can definitely include riding your horse regularly but if this isn’t an option, consider workout videos on Youtube or as personal trainer online. Exercise is key to warding off anxiety and depression. Youtube has unlimited videos for workouts, meditation, and yoga. Try dedicating at least 20 minutes a day to your physical health. Maybe your horse is at home, but you can’t get to your trainer due to travel restrictions? Consider investing in a system like Pixem so you can start taking virtual live lessons from the comfort of your farm.
Take care of your emotional health
Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and stay positive. It is natural to feel stressed or anxious after a disaster. Everyone reacts differently and even our own feelings may change over time. This may look differently for everyone. Simply spending time with your horse, riding, or grooming may be all the therapy you need. However, don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health counselor if you feel you need additional support.
Give to others
Studies actually show that giving can boost your physical and mental health. From volunteering at a local charity or raising money for a specific cause or charity, there are health benefits with giving that can include: Lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, lower stress levels, less depression, and increased happiness.
Finally, don’t forget to connect with others and talk about how you are feeling. This may be your immediate family, barn family, or even a local faith-based community. I think we all feel a little odd “celebrating” after one of the toughest years in our generation. But I know I am ready to feel the joy, family traditions new and old, special memories, and the Greatest Love that the holidays bring.