Happy International Cat Day! As a proud cat mom, self-proclaimed cat expert, and student therapist, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 things that cats can teach us about self-care and our own mental health.
1. It’s Okay to say No
Many of us have forgotten that it is okay to say “no”. We unfairly associate saying no with being rude or selfish, and at times this can put us in situations whereby avoiding the discomfort of saying no, we are actually sacrificing our own needs and wants. Cats? NEVER. Cats understand the delicate balance of remaining conscientious and kind without having to sacrifice their own needs, and I can assure you that they do not swirl into a world of guilt upon declining an invitation to spend time with you.
2. Rest Is the Best
We live in a world that glorifies busy. Oftentimes we can mistake our productivity for self worth, which can lead us to burn out and can cause us to no longer perform as best we can. A cat sleeps on average 15-20 hours a DAY. While this may be excessive for us humans, it definitely serves as a reminder that sleep is GOOD. Without adequate rest, we are much more likely to feel irritable and anxious throughout the day.
3. Boundaries Can Be Violated by Neglect OR Excessive Smothering
This is probably one of the the age-old determinants for whether you consider yourself a cat or a dog person. Dogs LOVE a good cuddle and will do so on command. A cat, however, is likely to feel a bit more disrespected by being swooped up and cuddled unannounced. This isn’t to say they don’t love affection! Similar to a healthy relationship, cats set healthy boundaries wherein they show you love when it’s right for them without being neglectful.
4. Always Be Curious
A cat is forever curious, and staying curious is how we learn and grow. A healthy sense of curiosity allows us to ask questions and explore new worlds and possibilities!
5. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Staying aware of our surroundings refers to cultivating a mental awareness. This allows us to be observant and pay attention to what is and isn’t serving us in our lives.