Growing up in dominantly cold environment, it’s easy to develop a serious case of cabin fever. For about eight months out of the year (falling in line with a typical school year) we spend most of our days inside, in front of our computers trolling social media or catching up on our favourite series on Netflix. We spend more time liking photos and posts that other people are out there sharing than we do attempt to participate in those moments we like so much. I stopped sharing as many travel photos as I used to. (I once posted a four part album series of an all inclusive family vacation to Mexico back when Facebook albums had a 60 photo limit). In more recent years, I took traveling more seriously, hitting 27 different countries travelled in my 27th year on earth. It was awesome, although I was growing tired of hearing about how “jealous” I was making people. Many were glorifying my life saying they wish they could, but in truth, like anyone, I made a choice to go there and do that rather than wish for it. I am currently taking a break from travelling, but as the summer months roll on by, I can’t help but remember what it was like to squander my summer holiday by sleeping in and watching daytime television. Like a lot of youth today, I wasn’t encouraged to take part in any soul enriching activities during that downtime.
I took some time to think about what I could have spent that time doing, and how it could have helped me with my own journey to self-discovery. These are just casual suggestions coming from a personal perspective, so take from them what you will.
Read a book.
Sometimes all we need is to get out of our heads. Reading is a wonderful escape from the outside world, free of technology. E-books are convenient, but for me personally, a find small joys in the smell of a book new or old, and satisfaction in physically turning pages and seeing my progress of how much I have read. As one of the oldest forms of entertainment and education, reading takes us into a writer’s imagination making us characters or witnesses to a world created outside of our own.
There’s a lot to be said about what it’s like to watch the life journey of a little seedling that you planted with your very own hands. In our capable hands, this seedling depends on us to nourish it with water and soil, making sure it gets just the right amount of sunlight until it finally sprouts and meets its purpose. It’s a precious thing to literally get to witness the fruits of our labour.
Hike a new trail.
Now, I’m not suggesting going to MEC and dropping $200 on hiking boots, runners should do the trick. And you probably don’t have to travel far. You would be surprised to learn how many hiking trails there are in your backyard (check out your town’s Parks and Recreation website for ideas). Exploring a new landscape will not only stimulate you physically, but also mentally as you will take in new scenery all whilst giving yourself the opportunity to connect with nature. I know our seasons can be harsh, but beneath all the extreme weather alerts, Canada is a geographically stunning country. This leads me to my next suggestion.
Be a tourist.
A local I once met in Brisbane told me he often takes for granted what it’s like to live in Australia. I had just listed off all the points of interest I visited on my road trip. He was impressed and also a little embarrassed to admit that in all of his 34 years, he hadn’t experienced half of the things I mentioned. No matter where you live, chances are Trip Advisor has some suggestions on activities or sights for travellers to explore. Pretend like you are a tourist in your own town. Hit up some of these spots in your free time and get a new appreciation for the wonderful place you call home.
Ask any charity or non-profit organization and they will tell you – there is never an excess of volunteers. It could even be as simple as helping out a neighbour with some yard work. Regardless of your motive for volunteering, be it to fulfill your Community Service hours, because your mom is making you, or to get some experience to build up your resume, the bottom line is doing good equals feeling good. Volunteering is a two-way win, so why not do it?
Yoga and/or Meditation.
We know that practicing mindfulness is important, but it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of our day to day lives and forget to give it the time it deserves. Yoga and meditation allows us the time to reflect and recharge our batteries, awakening our own sense of clarity.
Try one or some of these soul enriching activities to exercise both your body and your mind. Our human ability to spiritually connect to both people and nature are what makes us unique. It is entirely up to us to create these moments for ourselves by being conscious of our time, and not take it for granted. So now, let’s go out into the world, make each day matter, and keep striving to be better!