#bluemonday. Alongside a seminal track by New Order, this phrase has become synonymous in recent years with gloom – statistically, the most depressing day of the year. It’s likely to be cold; it’s going to get dark early; and it’s January. You get the gist.
Without being in any way flippant about mental health, this seemed an appropriate day to reference that January is also ‘Walk Your Dog month’.
The power that our canine friends can have on a positive state of mind should not be underestimated. For those who don’t have their own dog, this month can just as easily apply to walking someone else’s dog – noting the success of the #BorrowMyDoggy App.
And I wanted to share my own personal experience. A couple of years ago, I was having a particularly difficult time at work. I’m lucky to have a decent family and I cannot fault them for the support they provide. However, they took a different and seemingly curious tack in that instance.
It was tough love:
1. My wife and children had various other parts of the world to be in;
2. We were acquiring a new puppy;
3. The puppy (ultimately to be called Lyra) would need to stay at home for two weeks (having only just had her jabs);
4. Point 3 was to apply to me just as strictly.
The scene was set – ‘one puppy and a man having an existential crisis’ could make a pretty good film title and that was where we were. Three nights of Lyra sleeping on my chest (more for my benefit than hers) followed by me slowly moving upstairs to sleeping on the sofa and then on night five, the triumph of me sleeping in my own bed with her downstairs in her crate – completely trained (clever dog/rubbish owner) – felt great. After that, over the next week or so, she became my buddy – first for our regular evening episodes of Queer Eye and Suits (quite an eclectic mix, I grant you) and gradually, once she was able, for dog walks to process good days; bad days; and those in between.
For Jo Farquharson and I, in many ways Lyra was an inspiration during the various stages of lockdown as during long walks, many a London Law Collective strategy meeting was held.
Lyra is now a significantly self-assured grown-up dog who our family adore. She also has her own role as Gatekeeper within London Law Collective. Amazingly, she even wrote a piece about her journey there which you can review at https://lnkd.in/dxWTQVWJ
So, by the end of January, the days are getting longer; the birds are singing; and we’re on our way out of winter and well towards Spring. If my experience was anything to go by, to bridge the gloomy gap, and to help your own physical and mental health, you could do a lot worse than going for a walk with a dog like Lyra (pictured below – as a bonus feature – in her early days). #mentalhealth #law #london #doggy #startups #bluemonday