How Singaporeans—and Their Pets—Can Deal with Pandemic Fatigue

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While Singapore remains an epitome of the COVID-19 pandemic response, the city-state is not immune to rising cases.

Right now, it is experiencing a surge and the introduction of variants of concern that compel the government to declare a heightened alert phase. If the situation doesn’t improve, it might go through another round of circuit breaker.

The cycle is exhausting and stressful, based on a survey in late 2020. Of the 1,000 participants, about 70 percent shared that the pandemic is lasting longer than expected. Meanwhile, 44 percent said they are already tired of following strict health protocols, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

If that isn’t enough, some new studies reveal that this pandemic can be just as stressful or anxiety-inducing for pets as it is for humans. That can be a problem as many Singaporeans rely on their cats and dogs to cope with their burnout and stress.

How can both humans and their companion animals beat the situation? Here are three tips Singaporeans can consider:

1. Find Time to Be Outdoors

As of May 2021, Singapore is currently under heightened-alert phase 2, which comes with a long list of restrictions. Any activity requiring the removal of masks is not yet allowed, including dining in restaurants, singing in public places, or going for facials.

Further, the number of people who can gather drops from five to two while a household can entertain only two unique household visitors (people who don’t live in the house) per day.

The health authorities also strongly advise limiting movements, going out only for essential travel. However, the rules don’t stop you from being outdoors and exercising.

To kill the burnout, consider going out for at least 30 minutes a day with your pet, especially in the morning. The sunlight around this time can help boost your vitamin D levels, which can then strengthen your immune system. It can also improve your mood, focus, and energy.

Meanwhile, your pets, especially your dogs, can work out during these walks. These help them release any pent-up energy, so they don’t end up scratching and chewing furniture at home.

family with pet outdoors

2. Nourish the Body with the Right Food

Both you and the pet can benefit from consuming the right diet. For humans, many studies already show that consuming nutrient-dense food can reduce the risk of inflammation, preventing the immune system from going haywire. Not only does it reduce the risk of sickness, but it allows your body to fight in case you develop an infection.

Pets, meanwhile, require the best nutrition to decrease the odds of disease and a visit to the vet, which is both costly and risky at this time. The question is, what do you feed them?

Both dogs and cats are obligate carnivores, so their food needs to contain animal products. However, not all foods available are created equal. A lot are filled with fillers or poor-quality meat. When you order your pet food online in Singapore, consider those steroid or hormone-free and have an excellent balance of vegetables, fruits, and meats.

3. Strive to Stick to a Routine

One of the reasons for pandemic fatigue and burnout is change. Humans thrive in routines because, more often than not, we don’t like surprises that can throw us off. Routines help us make fast decisions that we can trust.

Introducing change can kill routines and burst people’s comfort zones. Instead, it leads to uncertainties and adjustments that can trigger stress.

Interestingly, pets can experience the same thing too. While they may be happy to see their human companions around, at the end of the day, they’re still creatures of habit. Subtle changes in their daily activities like walking can induce anxiety.

In this pandemic, both humans and pets can benefit from sticking to as many regular routines as they can. You can schedule a 20-minute play around the house on days you cannot go out. You can wake up at the same time daily even if you’re working from home.

Dress as if you’re really going to the office. Allow your pets to sleep on their schedule as well. Eat your meals around the same time each day, and so should cats and dogs.

In reality, no one can be definite about the end of the pandemic. Some even say it will eventually become part of everyone’s lives like other diseases like the flu.

Thus, while you can hope for the best, it is also advantageous to learn to accept and deal with it. Your pets will benefit from it too.

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