Warmth, sunshine, peaceful bliss. After long days spent in the house, in front of the computer, an excuse to get outside for some fresh air was needed. This abnormally warm fall made it hard to believe it was already time to have the snow tires put on, but one thing life has certainly taught me is that you never know when the winds could unexpectedly change direction.

It’s always better be safe and prepared, rather than sorry. Instead of waiting around the shop for 20 minutes while my tires were changed, I decided to take advantage of some alone time and enjoy the warm fall weather. What was simply supposed to be a short stroll down the road, ended up turning into an eight-kilometre loop. A long overdue outing.

As I headed down the main road, I came across a hidden dirt side road, surrounded by recently harvested soya bean fields and ending by going through a maple bush. My kind of off-roading. So, having a bit of an idea of where I would end up, but not knowing how long it might take me to get there, off I went, taking the road less travelled.

As I came up to the bush, sunshine warm on my back, I turned off my music and simply listened to the wind blowing through what was left of the leaves in the trees above me. The smell of fallen leaves beginning to decompose into the ground filled my nose. The beauty of fall in its full strength. Although it had been a long time since I’d been out for a long walk, I simply took my time and enjoyed the fresh air filling my lungs. There was no need to rush home, so I enjoyed every second of it, even as my legs slowly started to feel heavy, I knew it was worth it!

As parents, we often find it hard to take time for ourselves. Even during all these beautiful days, it’s hard to justify going for a walk when there’s housework or yard work to get done. We’re always chasing after our little ones and doing things for our loved ones, but often we forget to take care of ourselves. Or sometimes when we do, we feel guilty about it. We should be spending these beautiful spare moments with our kids – not on our own. But I’ve learned it is okay to stray off the main road every once and a while and do something just for you. It’s an important part of maintaining good mental health and simply feeling good about ourselves.

Those once-a-week sleepovers at grandma and grandpa’s don’t mean a night out on the town needs to be had. Sometimes simply just being able to sit back and relax right away, or go straight to bed, is what is needed. Having time to yourself in the morning to read a book, or go for walk while your snow tires get changed, are all simple self-care moments we all need but often forget to take.

So don’t be afraid to step onto the road less travelled. Enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having. Take advantage of moments where you can tune the world out and simply just be.