Eight Zen tips for spring

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Especially in Western Canada, where winters can be long and cold, we all need to find ways to ground ourselves, rediscover balance and find calm and connection. With longer days, warmer airs and the stirring of dormant life, spring brings with it the desire for renewal and an opportunity to restore our Zen.

For us, Zen is about flow, about mind-body balance, about connections and a sense of being grounded. Travel can open the door to those experiences, and spring invites us to get out and explore.

Here are eight ways to pursue your path towards wellness and a state of Zen this spring. 

1. Get grounded with physical activity

A big reason many people feel down in winter is the lack of movement and sunlight. It’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get outside but each time you do it, it will feed the desire to keep at it. 

In early spring, before the snow is melted, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are two very zen practices that will get you into the flow. Here are just a few suggestions where you can get into it:

Find your winter wonder in Wells, BC

Fill your nordic boots in Bonnyville

Go snowshoeing in Alberta 

As the temperatures warm, Vancouver Island and southern interior BC are some of the first places to find trails that may be clear of snow and, possibly, dry or at least semi-dry. Check out hikes like these:

Port Alberni hikes you can do in under 3 hours

5 Ways to Relax in Tofino

Top 5 Hikes in the Crowsnest Pass


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2. Practice contemplation

We all know the dangers of the doomscroll. Meditation and yoga are obvious cleansers, but to give your busy thumbs another distraction while you’re indoors, why not try cultivating a zen garden?

Or, for a meditative outdoor experience in nature, try forest breathing (think a less strenuous, more reflective version of hiking; also known as forest bathing.)  

3. Indulge in a new experience

The satisfying experience of trying something new can revive our senses, especially if it’s in a new place. Spring is a great time to explore the Port Alberni food and craft spirit scene and some of the agri-tourism businesses and chill shops around this funky harbour town.

4. Connect to Indigenous experiences 

Many of us are grappling with Canada’s past treatment of First Nations and ongoing injustices. Taking time to learn and connect to the Indigenous cultures in this country is a positive step towards reconciliation. 

It was back in the 1980s that Tla-o-qui-aht people successfully defended the old growth forests from logging, on their ancestral lands in the place we know as Tofino, Vancouver Island. Today, that leadership has become a guiding force on the island. 

You can learn about the Tla-o-qui-aht story, and support their ongoing efforts to preserve and protect their lands, through the new Indigenous cultural experience naauu.

5. Find your zen in nature

Five minutes or five hours, nature is the medicine that always works. 

With wetlands and forests in abundance, Lac La Biche attracts over 230 species of birds, including large birds of prey. Plan to head there for some birding as the flocks return this spring. 

Finding awe in nature is an incredible restorative.

6. Pamper yourself

Rest and rejuvenation are key to keeping yourself going. Try luxuriating in a salt room, indulging in spa time and tasting fresh-made craft cider, for a Bonnyville getaway that will restore you and enhance your well being.

Another great spring spot for rejuvenation is Arrow Lakes, where you can soak in Halcyon Hot Springs.

7. Engage your artistic side

Art opens up our minds and helps us see differently. Pick up a paintbrush or look through the lens, and perhaps you’ll find new appreciation for familiar surroundings.

8. Connect to local community and Indigenous culture

Local makers, artists and community builders invest a ton of energy into our communities.

In BC, read about these Tla-o-qui-aht artists creating new paths for their community and plan your trip. Or plan now to visit Kiixin, a 5000-year-old heritage site on Vancouver Island.

Finally, why not get to know some of the local artisans, entrepreneurs and creatives in northeast Alberta, by checking out the #NEAB Online Festival taking place through March 28? 

Live online musical performances, cooking demos, crafting tips and how tos will fill your spring with inspiration. Find more details here. 

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