Exploring your city

I’m a huge enthusiast of the staycation.

Maybe money is a little tight right now or you’ve used up all your vacation days for the year. Whatever the reason, taking a week or two off may not be on the cards right now. Regardless, it’s important to shake up your routine every now and then. In fact, getting away from your desk is the best way to boost creativity and productivity.

If you work from home, getting outside can be even more crucial. It’s not healthy to spend all day cooped up inside your apartment, which I find myself doing increasingly as the weather cools down and the days become shorter.

Luckily, there are endless ways to shake up your routine. If you’re fortunate enough to live in any urban centre, there’s no excuse for boredom.

Here’s a list of my favourite ways to shake my routine (specific to my current city: Toronto).

1. Pick a new neighbourhood.
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Familiarize yourself with one of Toronto’s myriad of neighbourhoods. We so often stick to our local surroundings; be it our favourite cafe, supermarket, or running trail. I urge you to switch it up this week and discover hidden gems in a far flung neighbourhood.

2. Go see a show.
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Canadian winters are pretty gruesome. When we first moved back to Canada, Nick and I were quite ambitious in terms of our weekly activities. We went skating, we’d walk everywhere, and we did a lot of window shopping. It didn’t take long for us to notice that Toronto can be quite desolate in the winter months. If the thought of spending even an hour outdoors has you shivering, may I suggest going to see a play or a Broadway show. It’s a great way to get re-inspired and soak up some culture.

3. Cook something.
I’m not the most experienced chef. However, since beginning my working-from-home stint, I’ve been forced to experiment a bit more in the kitchen. I occasionally even bake!

4. Or go out.
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There’s bound to be a restaurant or two you haven’t tried (or 2,000 if you live in a metropolis!) Try something you’ve never had before, be it Ethiopian or Lebanese!

5. Network

Photo by Brianne Burnell
Photo by Brianne Burnell

Networking can be overwhelming at first, but it’s also a refreshing way to step out of your comfort zone. The hardest part is saying that initial “hello,” but you’ll find common ground in no time and probably leave with a few new contacts, even friends.

7. Spend time with friends you never see

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After university many of us manage to get quite busy juggling our work and personal lives. Make time this week for those friends you haven’t seen forever. Plan to do something fun like checking out a new gallery or installation and sharing a meal at a restaurant you’ve never been to.

8. Daydream

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Dream a little bigger than you usually do. Write down a few of your quarterly goals, but be a little silly. Maybe you want to have a Wes Anderson movie marathon or each a different dessert every night of the week. It’s easy to get caught up in our diet and fitness regimes and forget that rest and a treat is okay every now and then. And don’t forget to reflect on what you’ve already accomplished. So many of my friends have achieved such amazing things, but they rarely step back to acknowledge their success.  Congratulate yourself on making it this far.


North American culture is founded in productivity. It’s easy to feel out of sorts when you’re not constantly actively progressing towards that next milestone. But take comfort in those smaller moments; the ones that happen between all the excitement. Sometimes just settling down with a big cup of coffee can be exactly what you need.

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