BeChewy’s 2022 Self-Care Challenge

By: Alyssa SparacinoUpdated:

self care ideas - 2022 self care challenge - january

BeChewy’s 2022 Self-Care Challenge

With busy schedules, an ever-growing to-do list and a constantly evolving definition of what constitutes a “normal” routine these days, it can be difficult to prioritize your health and happiness. But guess what? That’s all the more reason to practice self-care, boo. This year, let’s focus on the things that bring us joy and puts our physical and emotional wellbeing front and center—and let’s do the same for our pets, too. After all, if they’re not happy, we’re not happy.

To help you (and your four-legged family members) reboot, recharge and reprioritize, we’ve put together 12 self-care ideas—one for every time you flip a page on the calendar. That’s because it’s been shown that when you break down your goals into specific and actionable steps, the chances of achieving them improve. So look at each challenge as a bite-size step to being the healthiest, happiest human—and pet parent—you can be!

Are you up for the challenge? Click on the month below and let’s do this!

Self-Care Ideas

JANUARY

The why:

Research shows that making fitness fun can help you really commit to your exercise goals. And you know what makes everything more fun? Your pet! Recruit them as your workout buddy. Plus, they could probably use a healthy dose of activity just as much as you do.

The how:

A decompression-style walk is something all dogs (or cats, if yours is good on a leash) can enjoy. Head outside with your pet on a longer leash, and just let them roam, sniff, and explore—no rushing allowed. Set a timer on your phone for 30-45 minutes, and you’ll have an enriching activity for you both. By the end of the month, you’ll be dedicated to your exercise routine, and you and your pet will have something new to look forward to doing together. Want to up the cardio quotient? Take your dog jogging (just be sure to check with your vet first to get the all-clear), learn how to safely ride your bike with your dog, or try these quick workouts you can do on your everyday dog walks. But remember, the activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to be fulfilling.

The what:

Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash

Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash

$24.97
Shop Now!
Walky Dog Plus Bicycle Exercise Dog Leash

Walky Dog Plus Bicycle Exercise Dog Leash

$79.98
Shop Now!
PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Nylon Cat Harness & Bungee Leash

PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Nylon Cat Harness & Bungee Leash

$16.95
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

FEBRUARY

The why:

Learning something new is like exercise for your brain, and that mental sweat leads to better cognition, which could mean improved memory or concentration. The same holds true for your pet.

The how:

This could mean exploring a new place with your pet (here are some of our fave pet-friendly destinations), taking a cooking class and using those newfound skills to whip up pet-approved treats, or learning how to use clicker training to teach your pet a new skill or trick such as “roll over” or “shake paws.” If your pup could use a refresher on the basics, brush up on sit, down, come—the same brain benefits apply, just be sure to level-up the cues when ready. So say your dog is a master at “stay” in the house. Try it in the backyard, then the park with more distractions (high-value dog treats can come in handy as rewards here). There are endless options to advance the skills you learned together during puppyhood.

The what:

Frisco Basic Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

Frisco Basic Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

$29.99
Shop Now!
Downtown Pet Supply Training Dog Clickers

Downtown Pet Supply Training Dog Clickers

$5.99
Shop Now!
American Journey Chicken Recipe Training Bits Dog Treats

American Journey Chicken Recipe Training Bits Dog Treats

$2.51
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

MARCH

The why:

Staying on top of wellness visits with your vet and your own health care providers can help detect early warning signs of something that deserves a closer look and could ultimately save your or your pet’s life.

The how:

Schedule important routine exams and appointments for yourself now, like your annual physical, dental cleanings and eye exam, and, while you’re at it, schedule veterinary appointments for your pet, too. Ask to be on your vet’s reminders list. Inquire about professional teeth cleanings for your pet, blood or other lab work, fecal sample review, weight checks and vaccinations (see our dog vaccination guide here and cat guide here). Don’t overlook the importance of preventative drugs, like flea, tick and heartworm medications, either. Even indoor cats and urban-area dogs are susceptible to these parasites, which can cause a variety of illnesses and disease, some which can cause serious harm to you and your pet. The monthly price for these meds far outweighs the health risks.

The what:

Revolution Topical Solution for Dogs, 40.1-85 lbs

Revolution Topical Solution for Dogs, 40.1-85 lbs

$128.19
Shop Now!
Advantage II Flea Spot Treatment for Cats

Advantage II Flea Spot Treatment for Cats

$58.98
Shop Now!
Heartgard Plus Chew for Dogs

Heartgard Plus Chew for Dogs

$59.99
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

APRIL

The why:

Clutter can lead to more stress, less productivity, and even thwarts self-care goals. Organizing your home will declutter your space and mind.

The how:

OK, but where to start? It is so time to tackle that overflowing pet toy bin. Separate toys into three piles: discard, donate and keep. Next, it’s on to organizing items you and your pets use every day or weekly. The goal is to make everyday items easily accessible—for example, making sure your coat and your dog’s leash are within grab-and-go distance in the closet. Pack away seasonal or bulky items until you need them. And don’t forget to check expiration dates on medications (yours and your pet’s), safely disposing of any that are no longer needed and then grouping what’s left by type: daily meds/supplements vs. “sick day” medications and prescriptions. Get more organization ideas here.

The what:

Bone Dry Cats Meow Rectangular Storage Bin

Bone Dry Cats Meow Rectangular Storage Bin

$16.97
Shop Now!
Frisco Customizable Ceramic Treat Jar

Frisco Customizable Ceramic Treat Jar

$37.99
Shop Now!
Frisco Rustic Wood Personalized Key and Leash Holder

Frisco Rustic Wood Personalized Key and Leash Holder

$65.57
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

MAY

The why:

Science shows that being in nature can improve mood, reduce stress, increase cognitive abilities, and maybe make people nicer! Just think about what being outside more often could do for your pet, too. Dogs sniff roughly five to six times every second and their sense of smell is roughly 50 times that of the human nose. Getting outdoors lets them smell all. The. Things.

The how:

No matter your pet’s ability or age, you can find ways to spend time outdoors together. For young, energetic dogs who thrive on lots of activity, you can go on runs together or play never-ending games of Frisbee or fetch. If you have a smaller or older pet, consider investing in a pet stroller for walks around the neighborhood, or a pet backpack carrier for hikes they’d otherwise not be able to conquer on foot. Both solutions also work well for felines who do well using a cat harness and leash.

The what:

Petique Dog & Cat Stroller

Petique Dog & Cat Stroller

$203.19
Shop Now!
K9 Sport Sack Air 2 Forward Facing Dog Carrier Backpack

K9 Sport Sack Air 2 Forward Facing Dog Carrier Backpack

$74.95
Shop Now!
Cube Real Time GPS Dog & Cat Tracker

Cube Real Time GPS Dog & Cat Tracker

$29.95
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

JUNE

The why:

Now is the perfect time to reevaluate your eating habits, as well as what you’re feeding your pet. Better nutrition can optimize your pet’s longevity and quality of life, too. The problem is, there’s so much info out there it can be difficult to know what’s the best food to meet your and your pet’s individual needs.

The how:

When it comes to your own diet, what works for someone else or what’s trendy may not be the best option for you. Schedule an appointment with a nutritionist or registered dietitian to discuss your unique needs. They can help you develop a personalized plan. For your pet, your first stop should be your vet for an initial evaluation. In general, when vets evaluate a pet food, they consider the pet’s age, current and ideal weight, and lifestyle, as well as other elements that could be at play, such as treat intake or existing disease. Your vet may refer you to a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. (You can find one at acvn.org/directory.) If you’re feeding your pet a vet-recommended, science-backed food, you’re on the right track and may not need to change a thing. (Go, you!)

The what:

Instinct Original Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Cat Food

Instinct Original Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Cat Food

$37.99
Shop Now!
Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dog Food

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dog Food

$57.99
Shop Now!
Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

$57.99
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

JULY

The why:

While the definition of self-care has expanded beyond a day spent at the spa or at home in your pjs, there’s something to be said for guilt-free “me-time.” It helps you achieve balance and clarity so you can be an even better friend, co-worker and pet parent.

The how:

Make time every week for yourself to do something that feels luxurious—a mani-pedi, a blow-out or braid, or even a facial, if that’s in budget. Then, schedule something reoccurring for your pet. A trip to the groomers probably won’t feel very relaxing for your dog or cat. Instead opt for an at-home pet spa day with some light a la carte grooming services: nail trimming, ear cleanings, teeth and coat brushings. You can even try a treatment you both will enjoy, like a DIY blueberry facial or foot salve. So put on a sheet mask, and spend the next 20 minutes brushing your pet as they enjoy a dental chew or treat. Win-win!

The what:

Hartz Groomer's Best Combo Dog Brush

Hartz Groomer's Best Combo Dog Brush

$5.47
Shop Now!
Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Cats

Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Cats

$15.79
Shop Now!
Pedigree Dentastix Large Original Dog Treats

Pedigree Dentastix Large Original Dog Treats

$12.12
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

AUGUST

The why:

While our social life may have changed a lot over the last few years, maintaining connections are important. There are many mental health benefits to being social, including a greater sense of belonging, decreased loneliness, even improved cognition and longevity.

The how:

Hold on to the last taste of summer by planning fun activities and playdates for you and your pet, such as weekly buddy walks with your pet parent friends or dog park meet-ups for a game of group fetch. If you have a dog who is more reactive or selective (aka you just aren’t sure how they’d do around new dogs, humans or environments), you can both still be social in a safe and controlled way. Try this: Schedule a phone call with that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, then take the call and your pup outside where you can sit on a bench or on a blanket in a park. (Bonus points if you can find somewhere by water.) You can chat with your pal, and your pup can see, hear and smell new people and pets from a distance.

The what:

Google Nest Mini 2nd Generation Smart Speaker

Google Nest Mini 2nd Generation Smart Speaker

$24.98
Shop Now!
Frisco Outdoor Nylon Reflective Comfort Padded Dog Leash

Frisco Outdoor Nylon Reflective Comfort Padded Dog Leash

$16.82
Shop Now!
Chuckit! Kick Fetch Ball Dog Toy

Chuckit! Kick Fetch Ball Dog Toy

$17.32
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

SEPTEMBER

The why:

Lack of quality sleep can lead to cognitive impairment, poor mood, and if left unchecked, even an increased risk of chronic disease. And sleep is every bit as important for your pets’ wellness. So if you’re pacing around at midnight, so are they.

The how:

This month is a chance to revamp your sleep hygiene and ditch poor habits so you can get you and your pet on a better sleep schedule. Leave your phone outside the bedroom, to avoid doomscrolling before bed. Set a realistic sleep and wake time, and stick with them all month. (The key to success is making these realistic.) Maintain nightly wind-down habits—one last potty break, an evening coat brushing, your own skin-care regimen—so you can both learn these cues mean it’s time to relax. You may even consider investing in a new bedding (for you and your pet) or matching pjs to make bedtime even more relaxing (and cute!)

The what:

Frisco Plush Orthopedic Pillowtop Dog Bed

Frisco Plush Orthopedic Pillowtop Dog Bed

$54.85
Shop Now!
Frisco Felt Removable Hood Covered Cat Bed

Frisco Felt Removable Hood Covered Cat Bed

$27.99
Shop Now!
Frisco Sherpa Dog & Cat Blanket

Frisco Sherpa Dog & Cat Blanket

$9.91
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

OCTOBER

The why:

There’s arguably no better way to show yourself and your pet some self-love than taking a time out—from obligations, errands, screens—to just be present with each other. One study even found that taking short breaks throughout the day can lift your spirits and energy levels.

The how:

Depending on what your pet likes, you could go on a joy ride together in the car, sit in the sunny spot in the backyard, or even enjoy a mindful snack together—bring a treat-dispensing puzzle toy or dental chew for them and a healthy snack for you and post up in your favorite quiet nook in the house. If your snuggle buddy can never get enough pets, give them a cat or dog massage as you sit and listen to relaxing music. You could also use this togetherness to work on training skills, an experience that can be inherently bonding and rewarding for you both as it requires attention and connection.

The what:

Frisco Quilted Water-Resistant Hammock Car Seat Cover

Frisco Quilted Water-Resistant Hammock Car Seat Cover

$32.39
Shop Now!
Starmark Treat-Dispensing Dog Toy

Starmark Treat-Dispensing Dog Toy

$12.15
Shop Now!
Pet Acoustics Pet Tunes Calming Music Dog Speaker

Pet Acoustics Pet Tunes Calming Music Dog Speaker

$59.99
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

NOVEMBER

The why:

Astrology is a great tool to understand yourself and the world around you better, so it makes perfect sense to tap into the technique to become more attuned to your pet’s personality and needs. What better way to practice self-care, than through self-growth and self-awareness?

The how:

While you won’t be able to get an accurate natal chart reading if you don’t know your pet’s exact birth time or location, you can still gain valuable insight from their birthday and year alone. Use that to locate their zodiac sign for a general sense of their vibe. You can also use your own natal chart (free at Cafe Astrology or Co-Star) to get a glimpse into your pet via your sixth house. (There are 12 “houses” in astrology, and each represents a different facet of life. The sixth house represents your health and daily life, which includes household pets.) For example, looking at which planets were in your sixth house (and what those planets signify) when you were born could give you insight into that particular part of your life—aka your relationship with your pet.

The what:

Frisco Magic Tarot Cards Plush Cat Toy with Catnip

Frisco Magic Tarot Cards Plush Cat Toy with Catnip

$6.98
Shop Now!
The Secret Language of Dogs: Unlocking the Canine Mind for a Happier Pet

The Secret Language of Dogs: Unlocking the Canine Mind for a Happier Pet

$15.05
Shop Now!
Two Tails Pet Company Zodiac Dog ID Tag

Two Tails Pet Company Zodiac Dog ID Tag

$20.99
Shop Now!
Self-Care Ideas

DECEMBER

The why:

Take all the good vibes you created this year and spread that joy to others. Doing so—no matter if that’s by contributing your time, money or other efforts—offers its own self-care benefits by improving your self-confidence and feelings of fulfillment, as well as decreasing feelings of loneliness and depression.

The how:

Simply following rescues, shelters or animal welfare advocates on social media and spreading awareness about their missions can make a huge impact. You can also volunteer your time at a local animal shelter to help socialize the homeless pets or offer to help organize a rescue meet-and-greet in the community. If you can, set up recurring donations, and see if your company will match any charitable gifts. Browse a rescue’s donation Wish List on Chewy, which allows you to send the items the need most right to their door. Purchase pet products that give back. If you have a skill that could benefit an organization—think: graphic design, marketing, fundraising—offer some pro-bono work. And consider opening your home to foster or adopt a pet in need. However you choose to give back, volunteering may help you as much as it helps someone else.

The what:

Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Cat Food

Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Cat Food

$31.99
Shop Now!
West Paw Zogoflex Jive Tough Ball Dog Toy

West Paw Zogoflex Jive Tough Ball Dog Toy

$18.79
Shop Now!
PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder

PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder

$54.95
Shop Now!

Expert input provided by Julie Bestry, certified professional organizer, Best Results Organizing; Erika Gonzalez, certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, Dog Lifestyle Expert; Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, senior veterinarian with Chewy Health; Nicole Forsyth, president and CEO of RedRover; Dr. Lindsey E. Bullen, DVM, board-certified veterinary nutritionist,, adjunct professor, Lincoln Memorial University, Fear-Free certified; and Lisa Stardust, astrologer and tarot card reader.

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By: Alyssa SparacinoUpdated:

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