Friday, May 3, 2024

Free mindfulness and insomnia apps can help pet guardians manage stressful caregiving by bolstering well being

If you’re a caregiver of an unwell or aging pet, or a pet with complicated behavior challenges, and you’re finding you need to bolster your proverbial toolbox to tend to your own well being, you’re not alone. Everyone’s situation is different, and caring for oneself isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. My mantra: you do you, just do it consistently. We know from the research that pet guardians who prioritize their own well being set themselves and their special needs pets up for a less bumpy ride throughout their journey together. 

Sleeping dog

It’s never lost on me, as a Certified Animal Hospice Practitioner, that pet guardians have trouble accessing resources that could be useful, either because of financial constraints or geography. Mental health and well being apps like Headspace and Calm designed to help with mindfulness and insomnia are often in vigorous rotation with some pet guardians that I’m companioning, and to great effect, though they rightfully carry a fee to use them. 

Two options crafted by researchers at the US Department of Veterans Affairs is available at no charge to Veterans, Service members—and anyone else who wants to equip their wellness toolbox. 

Mindfulness Coach, available for iOS and Android users, is a mindfulness app that can boost a critical aspect of navigating a turbulent period: self awareness. Having self awareness allows us to successfully manage the stress response cycle and steer through periods of heightened stress, and having a tangible tool can help with that. Download the free mobile app by clicking here

Insomnia is a common feature of heavy duty caregiving: many pet guardians report that instead of feeling tired enough to sleep at night after the daily duties, worry, physical exertion and sometimes frenetic pace that builds as time passes, rather, they are feeling wound up. That’s another impact of these stressors on the body and mind. Insomnia Coach, also available to Android and iOS users, is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Your free download awaits you here

Lorrie Shaw, CAHP

With over 20 years of experience in pet care and the past 10 of those focused on animal hospice, Lorrie Shaw is a Certified Animal Hospice Practitioner and Certified Fear Free Professional. She is CXO of Telos Companion Animal Services, LLC and is currently enrolled in the CHPA certification program with IAAHPC, where she is a longtime member. She can be found at

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