Mind Yer ‘Ed: Pets can help you de-stress in lockdown

Chris Nicholson, 53, from Salford says he is finding isolation and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic a real challenge during the winter months, but his pet rabbit, Mitsy, has helped him to get through it.

“I’ve had a few medical issues and I am in the vulnerable category. I haven’t had to shield but I’ve had to be extra careful and I’m petrified of getting too close to people.

After we went into the local lockdown, I started getting very lonely and I’m even more so now because I’m working from home. I really have to push myself to go to the super market and I don’t want to be near people because I’m so scared to death of catching anything.

“I’m very isolated because I live on my own. I work full-time in HR at the moment and working from home is hard.

“However, it does have its benefits, like not having to commute. Because you’re not going out of the house to the office you’ve got to try and push yourself that bit harder to have a ten-minute walk around the block.

“Before Manchester went into local lockdown, I was having people coming round to sit in the garden and I was able to meet friends outside. I also went to the OITC group three or four times before everything had to stop, so I was managing to get out and see people. That period wasn’t too bad. I was getting out for walks and getting fresh air.

“When the local lockdown did hit, I felt very anxious and cut-off. A lot of my friends had already formed bubbles with their family or partners and I felt completely cut-off.

“I’ve got my rabbit, Mitzy, here with me. She keeps me sane and I have her hopping around the house.

“There have been a lot of times when I’ve picked her up, cuddled her and cried. I just sit there stroking her to de-stress a bit sometimes when I’ve been getting very anxious about things.

“I took her to the vets the other day and I don’t think she was too happy about it. she just sulked and wouldn’t come up to me but after about two hours she was back to her old self, begging for treats and things. She’s very entertaining.

Chris’ pet rabbit, Mitzy

“She’s got a hut outside but she hasn’t used it for about four and a half years and she’s got a hutch inside but she doesn’t really use that either. She has a litter tray in the living room and she has free roam in there. She sometimes sleeps on the sofa but I don’t let her anywhere else.

“She hops through the kitchen into the garden or escapes into the hallway and I’ll be wondering where she is and I’ll hear this scratching on the door. Rabbits are funny and having that little furry friend in Mitzy to keep me company has really helped me get through all this.”

For more information on ways to help boost your spirits, visit: https://www.gmhsc.org.uk/news/silvercloud/

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