Being a parent of a new baby is exciting. However, the excitement can quickly transition to anxiety as your maternity leave comes to an end.
Adjusting to parenthood can make returning to work seemingly impossible. But when you have a pet that provides companionship and unconditional support, back-to-work blues can be bearable. Discover how a pet can ease yourself back into work.
Why Is It Hard to Go Back To Work After Maternity Leave?
As a new parent, you spent most of your leave catering to your baby’s needs and learning how to be a mother. Now that you’re living a new life, facing the life you had before can feel impossible. No one enjoys returning to work after time off, especially if you have a new responsibility at home. As your hormones rise and fall, it may affect your mental state.
What Are the Emotions After Time Off?
As you prepare to return to work, you may experience overwhelming emotions, including:
- Guilt: Feelings of guilt may arise when you’re nervous or excited to work again.
- Anxiety: You may feel anxious if you’re working at the office and have to leave your baby with a caretaker. Anxiety may worsen, especially when you’re dealing with postpartum depression.
- Sadness: It’s common for most people who had to return to work after a long time off to feel despair.
- Excitement: This can happen when being a new mom excites you in life and at work. If you’re passionate about your work, this can be the perfect time to show your workmates that you’re ready to take on new challenges.
How Can the Unconditional Love of Pets Help You Adjust to Going Back to Work?
If you’ve owned a pet before, you know how an animal can change your life in many ways. It’s like having a kid, too — they both need and give unconditional love you’ll ever need in your life.
Transitioning from an extended maternity leave to work can leave you feeling a lot of different emotions, but here’s how a pet can help you make the shift more manageable for you:
1. Increased Physical Activity
Getting active can help divert you from things you are anxious about — catching up on tasks and dealing with unread work emails and messages. Dog owners are likely to live an active lifestyle because they must take their canine companions for a walk or run daily — an activity you can squeeze into your morning routine to elevate your mood for the rest of the day. Exercising daily can help decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Boosts Your Confidence
Being a new mom may kill your confidence about returning to work — maybe you’re worried about not being as productive as before or you’re feeling shy about returning after a long time off. Fortunately, owning a pet can help you regain self-confidence. A pet’s unconditional love and support will make you needed and wanted. Petting a dog or cat can increase oxytocin levels, a hormone that makes people feel trusting and happy.
3. Provides Companionship
Being a mother to a new baby can be tiring. The happiness you get from hearing coos and giving cuddles comes with sleepless nights and busy mornings, which may render you exhausted. You can lean on your pet to cope with loneliness and bask in their unconditional love in overwhelming moments.
4. Helps Ease Physical Pain
After birth, it’s common to feel pain in your muscles, bones and tendons. You may also experience stress urinary incontinence, which happens when you leak urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh or exercise. Approximately 60% of women experience leaking urine, affecting their daily lives due to the discomfort caused by feelings of “wetness.”
If postpartum pains and aches affect your life quality, a pet can provide comfort when you’re feeling down. According to research, spending just 10 minutes with a therapy dog can decrease feelings of pain. While a dog can’t heal your postpartum symptoms, they can help with giving you temporary relief by simply spending time with them.
5. Helps Lessen Anxiety
Feeling anxious is normal when faced with changes in your routine. However, if heading back to the office is causing your anxiety levels to go up, consider taking care of a pet — they are great listeners and won’t criticize you. Stroking a furry companion can lower stress hormones, making you and your dog happy. To help ease your anxiety while working at the office, you can set up a framed photo of your family with two new members —- your baby and your newest furry companion.
6. Provides Safety and Security
Owning a pet makes you feel safe and happy. For instance, dogs are quicker to react than humans and will most often alert you upon detecting something unusual. Knowing that you’ll have your baby and loyal best friend waiting for you at home, you’ll feel more excited about working.
Return To Work Feeling Better With A Pet
Returning to the office after maternity leave can be challenging. The best thing you can do is be patient with yourself. Sure, there are a lot of unread messages in your inbox — but you’re a better co-worker, leader and employee now because you’re now a mom of two.