I have this thing about going outside in winter. I know a lot about it. I can tell you the difference between freezing rain and ice pellets and can throw out explanations of Alberta Clippers and Nor’easters. That’s all well and good in front of a green screen on The Weather Network but what about ACTUALLY getting outside? Admittedly, I am more talk than walk, but when I finally do bundle up and make my way outdoors, I rarely regret it.

Kim MacDonald
The Weather Network’s Kim MacDonald and her winter walk companion.

I tend to suffer from the winter blues. I’m not sure if I have ever had a full on case of Seasonal Affective Disorder but my mood does change in the winter thanks to the lack of sunshine. My instinct is to hibernate until spring.

Someone gave me the sage advice years ago, to make sure I get out every single day, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes. This is especially important on those rare sunny winter days. That advice was a game changer for me.  I realize how important it is for my wellbeing to get out, take in nature and be grateful for the fourth season.

It helps having a dog that is a lovely mix of Sheppard and (possibly) Husky. She loves the cold and can’t wait to get outside. There’s no need to put booties and a sweater on her. She’s fine going out “au natural” as they say. She also won’t stand for hibernating as soon as the temperature falls below 0C. I highly recommend getting a dog to force you into the outdoors if you have problems with self-motivation.

I also have the great fortune to live in a large city that’s surrounded by hiking trails and waterfalls. I’m not talking about Vancouver, Calgary or St. John’s. I’m talking about Hamilton. I know, surprising. Hamilton has a reputation for being a steel town but those who live here know that the area is teeming with gorgeous vistas and over 100 waterfalls. You just have to know where to look.

A friend recently introduced me to such a place nestled in a suburban neighbourhood. Driving past, you would think it’s just a local park. In actuality it’s a trail that takes you along the Niagara escarpment with a wide view of the city below. Yes, it does include a waterfall. Green space within a city is great for everyone. I don’t need to drive three hours north to find a peaceful place to breathe in the fresh air. I can also get there in five minutes without risking an icy or snowy highway drive.

Kim MacDonald
Kim’s forecast calls for a high chance of outdoor winter fun.

If you love the great outdoors, skiing, snowboarding, or sledding, then you are set when it comes to a cold, snowy winter and you don’t need this blog to motivate you. If you’re like me and just need a little inspiration to get outside this winter, find a beautiful spot that works for you. We live in Canada, and if I can find flora and fauna in an industrialized city, then surely you can find your own piece of paradise where you live.

Life’s too short to spend an entire season inside. Get yourself some warm clothes, some sturdy boots and take in a little bit of nature every day. You can thank me later.