How Your Dog Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a difficult thing for many people to obtain. It’s the process of being productive at work while also allowing yourself time to separate from work. From taking a week or two off to small daily breaks, taking some personal time now and again is essential.

Though it used to be seen as beneficial to have employees work late, get overtime, and bring their work home, we now know that a good work-life balance can make employees more productive and happier overall.

While it may sound surprising, dogs can help workers achieve that balance. Having their pooch around can encourage their owners to take breaks throughout the day to tend to them. Not only that, but dogs also promote exercise, which also plays a part in a healthy work-life balance.

Further, they thrive with a schedule, which can help keep their owners from overworking. Many dog-friendly offices opt to allow employees to bring their pets in, based on the concept that pets can decrease stress and keep employees focused on being present.

Office worker taking a break with her dog

Encouraging Breaks

In certain fields, where workers struggle to find a balance, bringing Fido into the office can be a major boon. For instance, some of the warning signs of a poor work-life balance for social workers, who are notoriously overworked, include losing sleep, feeling anxious, having problems at home, and refusing to take breaks, among others.

These are areas in which your four-legged companion can help. Because dogs frequently require attention from their owners, they will force owners to take a break, even if they don’t want to. Whether you’re working from home or in a dog-friendly office, your pet will encourage the frequent breaks needed to facilitate this balance.

Try taking time out of your day to play fetch, take your dog on a walk, or spend time with your pet. These small breaks can help to foster creativity and prevent burnout. In addition to that, your dog will appreciate the time with you while you tend to their needs.

Worker exercising her dog

Promoting Exercise

There are a lot of reasons why a dog can help with a person’s overall health and wellness, and one of those reasons includes a dog’s ability to promote exercise for their owners. Not only is exercise important to keep a person physically healthy, but it can also help to take a person away from their desk and allow them to have a mental break.

The mental health benefits of daily exercise are also beneficial to a person’s overall happiness. A simple walk to allow a dog to get exercise or go to the bathroom can be enough to help promote a healthy work-life balance in the office.

Allowing your pet to have a daily walk can help their happiness as well. For one, a dog who is exercised will be more content, healthier, and less anxious. If your pet spends time at your workplace, it can be helpful for them to be tired so that they aren’t distracting to others.

A walk also allows your dog to take in new smells and experience new things, which is a great tool in socialization and providing them with enriching experiences.

Utilizing a Schedule 

Oftentimes, the sign of poor work-life balance is in the hours you put in. Those who struggle with an addiction to work may stay late after work, continually work overtime, and avoid taking vacations. This is why it’s important that employers encourage employees to take time off and have a healthy work-life balance.

Moreover, employees shouldn’t feel like they need to work longer hours in order to be considered for a promotion or a raise. However, a dog will force you to stick to a schedule that may make it harder to be overworked.

Dogs need to be tended to throughout the day.

This means bathroom breaks, exercise, attention, and mealtimes.

Following a schedule with healthy work hours can help to keep a person from being overworked. Though some may view this necessary care throughout the day as a downside to dog-friendly offices, it’s great for work-life balance.

It’s harder to stay late for work when your dog needs tended to, which can help with sticking to a healthy work schedule.

Decreasing Stress

Work can be a big cause of stress for many people; 77 percent of the population regularly encounters physical symptoms associated with feeling stressed. Dogs are used to help alleviate stress in a number of ways for many different people.

They are often relied on to help:

  • College students during finals week 
  • Hospital patients
  • People living with dementia
  • Those who experience mental health struggles
  • People overcoming addiction

Thankfully, a dog can help reduce stress levels. Petting one can cause a person’s blood pressure to drop and a release of oxycontin, which stimulates social bonding, relaxation, and trust. This powerful impact a dog can have is applicable whether you’re petting your own pet or another that happens to be in the office.

Dog helping with work and life balance

Being Mindful of the Present

It can be easy to get lost in work. A good work-life balance sounds great, but many people may need to work as much as possible to pay the bills, or their bosses may not be so kind about allowing them to take breaks. This can make prioritizing work-life balance even more difficult.

However, dogs can help a person stay grounded when they are lost in their duties. Even one moment where you’re looking at your furry friend, petting them, or talking to them is one less moment of looking at your laptop, typing on your phone, or sending emails. Sometimes, those little moments of being present can help to promote a healthy work-life balance.

When you come home from work, avoid staying connected to work through email or phone by taking your dog on an unplugged walk or playtime at the park. This outdoor time with your pet while getting exercise can promote being mindful of the present instead of focusing on work.

Final Thoughts

Overworking can cause a lot of strain on a person. Not only can it lead to resentment, a dip in productivity, and inefficient work, it can also cause problems with a person’s life outside of work. It can lead to overall unhappiness, strained relationships, and poor health.

Work-life balance is important, and a dog can help foster positive change. They encourage people to take more breaks, get more exercise, and stick to a schedule. Pets also promote good mental health and are beneficial in reducing a person’s overall stress levels.

Achieving a good work-life balance can be a struggle for many of us. Thankfully, our furry family members can help.

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