I want to take a moment to ask you all, how are you? Really. How are you actually doing?
As we approach a season caught in the flurry of final assessments, midterms and exams – it is important to recognize that this is a vital time where self-care should not be overlooked.
In fact, the need to address self-care was brought to my attention during one of my engaging work meetings with the Centre for Community Partnerships. A colleague kick-started the conversation by asking us what are the activities we actively pursue outside of work, which make us happy.
I sat deep in thought. During these unprecedented times, it may be more difficult to take on our typical measures of self-care. I can no longer meet up with my close friends, my extended family or visit places such as the community centre, which makes staying inside exhausting.
Over the weekend, I ruminated on this question and I was finally able to do one activity which fulfilled my personal mental health and self-care regimen. Today, I would like to share this activity that has truly reinstated my peace of mind.
In ordinary times, a surge of hikers would fill the picturesque fall hiking trails in my community in Milton, Ontario. However, as I walk down the various trails of Milton, it is quiet – and wonderful. For the first time, I appreciate the intake of a sharp, fresh breath of air. As I release, I hear the quiet whispers of the stream and watch the animals squirm about, hurrying to prepare for winter.
It is all these little things I never noticed before, which makes hiking my new favourite self-care strategy. The most beautiful thing about hiking is that it’s an activity everyone can do. Fall is the perfect time to head down a hiking trail, albeit safely. If the restrictions allow you to do so, use the trail as I do – an escape for our COVID-stricken environs.
Hiking presents an incredible opportunity to address our mental health, relax and rejuvenate. I’m a firm believer that our overall wellness permeates all areas of both our lives and learning. It is important to recognize how our physical, mental and spiritual health affects our well being, contributing to the diversity of our lived experiences.
So, with that, I hope you all stay well and positive during midterm season. And if you are able to – take a hike! No seriously, don’t forget to breathe and just enjoy our space in nature. Your mind and body will thank you for it – and so will I.