kidsSometimes we fall into that daily grind mentality, don’t we? Many of us, highly focused on our careers and the busyness of our day, zip through the hours answering emails, checking production numbers, scheduling client meetings, and putting out fires. And that’s just our work life. For many, it doesn’t stop there. As soon as we unlock the front door there’s a whole other dynamic that may consist of barking dogs, a crying baby, dinner, laundry or all of the above.

Do you ever feel like you’re missing something? By the time Saturday morning rolls around, many of us are ready for a change of scenery, perspective, or at least a small ‘regrouping session.’ If you’re nodding your head yes, as you think to yourself, “I know this craziness. This is my life,” I’ve got good news for you.

According to psychologists, a change of scenery generally serves as a refreshing or rejuvenation session. That’s why we love getaways, retreats, and vacations. We come back not only tanner, but also with a better perspective, clearer thinking, and renewed motivation. But here’s the catch. Most of us can’t realistically take a vacation every week, or can we?

Digging deeper into the study, I realized that the pursuit of any leisure activity provides the same mental and physical benefits as a vacation. Any change of scenery, especially those that involve “shared experiences that promote a sense of culture and community” qualify as vacation material. This explains a lot.

My Weekend Getaways Right Here in Ottawa

Often, especially on Saturdays, my family plans to just ‘spend the morning’ together. With no spoken plans in particular, we are all quite aware of what we mean by this.

  • First stop, is to fuel up at Kettleman’s  Bagel Company. The fresh smells of authentic  Montreal hand-rolled bagels cooked in a traditional wood-fired brick oven are just what I need to get me ready for the rest of the day. Coffee and bagels, whether eaten in the restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere, or in the car on our way to our first stop, is the perfect start to our day.
  • Second stop is often the Byward Market (the entire area immediately east of Sussex and north of Rideau) for the wonderful selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, crafts, and other treasures. Sometimes we will hit the Ottawa Organic Farmers Market. Located at Bank Street at Heron Road, behind Canadian Tire, it’s open from 10 am – 2pm (which is kind of a late start for us, but still a nice stop).
  • Third stop is generally our last stop of the morning. We aren’t trying to build an itinerary of ‘things to do.’ That would seem too much like our work-filled weekdays. Instead, it’s important to appeal to your wanderlust, even though you’re not on vacation. This is done by simply providing an atmosphere conducive to peace and well being, and allowing yourself (and whoever is accompanying you) to enjoy the simplicity of the morning. During this time of year, when the weather is just turning crisp, Avonmore Berry Farms, or one of the other local apple orchards can provide that break from the office and connection with nature your soul may be craving.

These are just my ideas. You come up with your own. Just be sure to take those breaks, right here in our own community. You’ll find that the results are just the same as if you were on vacation, and these breaks are available every day of the week, without too much fuss or effort. If you think about it, individuals and families come to Ottawa for vacation every day. They plan and save for a trip to experience what we have available right in our own backyard every day. Take advantage of it. It’s good for your health!