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Ten ways all Canadians can improve their wellbeing this spring

It’s finally spring! While the CIW measures wellbeing at the national, provincial, and community level we recognize that wellbeing at the personal, family, and neighbourhood level has huge impact on the daily lives of Canadians. The arrival of warmer weather is the ideal time to make improvements to wellbeing, by getting more involved in the community, trying new things, and making healthy choices. In celebration of spring and to spark discussion on how every Canadian can improve wellbeing, check out our list of ten simple ways all Canadians can improve their wellbeing this spring.

1.    Spend time in nature. Being outdoors in a natural environment decreases stress and increases happiness and immunity. The 30x30 Nature Challenge is one way Canadians can encourage each other to get outdoors. Or go camping at a provincial or national park. To get started check out the Learn to Camp app by Parks Canada.

Wellbeing Domains: Environment, Healthy Populations, Leisure & Culture

2.    Attend a music or cultural festival. There are hundreds of outdoor festivals and concerts throughout Canada in the spring and summer, many of them free. Attending a festival can expose you to new people and cultures or help you discover new music. Plus, most have delicious food.

Wellbeing Domains: Leisure & Culture, Education

Outdoor festival                                                                Photo: Ray Van Eng, Flickr

3.    Plant a garden. Growing your own food or flowers has big benefits for wellbeing: it can be skill-building, relaxing, and help the environment. Even a small container garden can produce food or help save the bees. If you can’t grow at home join a community garden.

Wellbeing Domains: Environment, Healthy Populations, Leisure & Culture

4.    Buy locally produced food. Spring is the time to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSA’s buy directly from local farmers, supporting your local economy and reducing your carbon footprint while eating healthy. Here is a directory of CSA’s by province.

Wellbeing Domains: Environment, Community Vitality, Healthy Populations

5.    Participate in a local park or neighbourhood clean-up. These are often hosted by neighbourhood groups and are a great way to get to know your neighbours. Or organize one yourself!

Wellbeing Domains: Democratic Engagement, Environment, Community Vitality

6.    Consider biking to work. Throughout the month of May many communities participate in Bike-to-Work days. Cycling to work makes commuting more enjoyable, improves air quality, and is good physical activity. If you can’t bike, try walking, carpooling, or taking public transit, especially on smoggy days.

Wellbeing domains: Environment, Time Use, Healthy Populations

7.    Volunteer. Volunteering helps others in your community and improves your wellbeing by  decreasing your risk of depression and prolonging life expectancy. You can find local volunteer opportunities through Volunteer Canada.

Wellbeing domains: Community Vitality, Time Use

a teenage girl volunteering in an orphanage in Peru                                                             Photo: A Broader View, Flickr

8.    Get involved with community issues. With municipal elections in BC, Manitoba, Ontario, and PEI this fall, now is the ideal time to push the local issues that are most important to you. Start talking to neighbours and local politicians now and you could help make your local issue an election priority! Join a Facebook group on a local issue, or tweet and write about what matters in your community.

Wellbeing Domains: Democratic Engagement, Community Vitality

9.    Quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke. Quitting smoking isn’t just good for your physical health, it improves air quality and the health of others around you, decreases waste, and can increase employment prospects. Look for smoking cessation options offered by public health agencies, doctors, or as part of extended health insurance benefits. You can find a community of support in quitting at Smokers Helpline.

Wellbeing Domains: Healthy Populations, Environment, Living Standards

10.   Connect with your community and learn local history. May 2nd to May 4thJane’s Walk takes place in cities across the country. These local history walks connect community members and uncover neighborhoods of the past, all while getting some fresh spring air. Find your local Jane’s Walk.

Wellbeing Domains: Community Vitality, Democratic Engagement, Leisure & Culture, Education

What else are you doing to improve your wellbeing this spring? Tweet your ideas @ciwnetwork or comment on our Facebook page.

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