As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and depression, I have always had to try a little harder to be ok and lead a happy life. As I became older, I just became upset about my whole situation, and although it was very hard to do so, I managed to make changes slowly but steadily to my lifestyle to the point of being mostly fine.
I do still struggle with a lot of problems, though! Sudden anxiety and insomnia are the problems I face the most in my daily life, and although things have indeed gotten better, at times, I just need a break from everything and reset my whole mindset to be on the right track once again.
With all that said, it is true that during 2020 things changed as the world faced a global crisis that, to this day, is still present in our society. For the readers visiting this article, it might be easy to imagine how it affected me. But thankfully, a short leg cat became my salvation.
The Beginnings of COVID-19
Things definitely took a turn for the worse when COVID-19 spread all around the world and the quarantine started. Firstly, going outside became pretty much a luxury during the first months of quarantine, and this took a heavy toll on my mental health. I couldn’t go for my daily walks to calm down my anxiety and receive some sunlight (very important to manage my sleeping schedules and improve my quality of sleep), but also, going to places I regularly visited became pretty much impossible.
As an introverted immigrant living in a foreign country, I didn’t have too many friends to visit, but I am not really the social type, so this aspect of the whole situation didn’t hit me so hard. However, visiting my family was a very important part of my life, so having that taken from me definitely impacted my routines, to the point of being surprised at how much I missed my family, even though I wasn’t really a very family type of guy.
After that, feeling lonely and anxious about being constantly trapped in my house made me notice how fragile my mental health was. To a certain extent, I was holding myself within very thin strings, which were activities that could help me deal with my problems and help me achieve some mental peace. However, as soon as those activities were removed from my life, I could feel how I slowly started to feel bad again.
The Things That Helped Me
During that time, I was struggling to find a solution to my situation. The biggest problem I had as a freelancer was that my time management skills went down the drain and procrastinating became more and more common, but I started to use a technique known as the Pomodoro Technique, which consists of workloads of 25 minutes with 5 minutes rests in between, known as a Pomodoro, then a 15 minute rest after 4 sets of Pomodoros.
I started reading more than ever as well and practicing meditation and doing exercises at home really helped me remain healthy, both mentally and physically. Overall, I was doing ok after a couple of weeks into it, and nowadays I am very grateful to these things just because of the positive change they brought to my life. Although it was hard to get used to it, it was worth it.
Still… There was something missing! I could feel like there was a hole in my life that nothing I tried filled, so although I was getting better, I still filled incompleted. I started to believe that it was due to the loneliness brought by the quarantine. And I was spot on!
How Leonidas, a Little Munchkin Cat, Entered My Life
One of the things that changed was how frequently I communicated with my friends. After moving from my homeland and becoming a citizen of a new country, meeting new friends was hard, but I managed to keep in touch with my previous friends.
Still, I am the type of guy who gets lost from time to time since social interactions tire me to a certain extent, even if they are online. However, after quarantine, I put some effort to talk to my friends more regularly, and while doing so, a friend of mine told me the story of how he ended up adopting a cat, and how it greatly changed its life.
Reading stories and seeing photos of them together lit a fire inside of me, and I began to wonder… What if I also adopted a cat!? That’s pretty much how I started looking for a possible pet, and how I ended up meeting Leonidas, a munchkin cat with a very ironic name.
The Happiness I found
Leonidas was a cat close to being a senior animal since he was 6 years old. Her previous owner sadly passed away and no one dared to take it, and since he was old, he was struggling to be adopted. I didn’t really mind, especially because the staff members of the shelter told me he was very quiet and asocial. As a fellow introverted, I felt a connection with him!
Surprisingly, even during the first day of living with Leonidas, I could already tell that I was happy. I had never had a pet before, so it was a completely new experience for me. I made sure to prepare myself for it, of course, buying every amenity that he might need, but I myself didn’t believe that having a living being close by could change things so much.
Before adopting Leonidas, I visited this article https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/joys-of-owning-a-cat.htm# to check how owning a cat could help, and although I was reluctant in believing it at first, once I met Leonidas, I could do nothing but agree with what the article claimed.
And as a first-time owner, the fact that cats are overall very independent, helped me a lot. With that said, Leonidas was a Munchkin, a type of breed with very short legs, so there were some special needs I needed to cover for him. Still, I have no regrets as it is now, and we’ve lived together for more than 8 months now!
I now feel happier, healthier, and much more at peace than I ever have, thanks to knowing that there’s a little ball of fur there by my side. And I wouldn’t change that feeling for the world!