Treat Yourself - the Wild Way!

You've probably heard about all the amazing benefits you get from nature in terms of health, reduced stress, happiness and so much more.  Nature has so much to offer and can be an easy mood booster.  So when I read Yes and Yes' inspiring post: "23 Ways to Treat Yo' Self*" it made me think about easy ways to treat yourself by going outside.

I've come up with ten nature outings that can be a great way to reinvigorate yourself.  I'll share five with you today.  Including some ideas of where to go if you are here in Ottawa.  June is the perfect time to get outdoors, as the days continue to get longer and the season keeps warming up.  See if you can find 15-40 minutes in your day to indulge!

Breathe in deeply while out in a refreshing location.  
Certain scents can boost your mood so why not indulge in the heady aroma of a conifer forest?  Take a note of pine, spruce or fir stands as you are driving around or see if friends on Reddit can point you to the closest evergreen woodlot.  Even a short walk will be a treat!

Ottawa locations:
  • Bike or walk along Aviation Parkway (near Ogilvie) - heady scent in August
  • Pinhey Forest (Hunt Club & Woodroffe) - various entries into forest

Soak up some happy rays!
This could be an easy one: enjoy 15-20 minutes in the sun to get your natural dose of vitamin D.  Walk to a park with your morning coffee or get out on your lunch break.  Ottawa has many parks and bike paths.  Or a leisurely-paced walk after dinner can let you soak up those last warm evening rays.

Take a detour to a waterfall. 
The air surrounding a waterfall is highly charged with negative ions (similar to what you will experience after a rainfall where the air feels fresh). These negative ions found around water bodies can boost your health by increasing your intake of oxygen, decreasing allergy symptoms and helping to de-stress and uplift your mood. (Photo above is from Ottawa East neighbourhood - imagine having a waterfall in your backyard!)

Ottawa locations:
  • Rideau Falls
  • Hog's Back Park

How about an early morning free concert?
Reward yourself after a long work week and get out to be entertained by the early morning "Dawn Chorus".  This phenomenon known to birders is especially pronounced in the spring when migrating birds have returned to their breeding locations. Find the best songs near bodies of water, scrubby areas and small woodlots but do this soon before this event is taken over by the summer drone of cicadas (early to mid-July).

Take in a great evening show!
 A real special treat would be to get outside just before sunset and enjoy the colours as the sun slips down past the horizon.  (You knew this one was coming right?) Sunsets can be especially impressive if there are some clouds in the sky which will reflect the light.  Find a great spot that offers an unobstructed view and a perfect backdrop also and take this fantastic show in!

Ottawa locations:

Photo Credit: Photos 4 - 6 taken by Viliam Glazduri (InstagramFlickr500 pxContributing Creative to Wild. Here.

Stay tuned for a second list of five more ideas later this summer!

* P.S. I also am a big fan of Parks and Recreation!

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