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6 Places In Ottawa That Help Me De-stress During Exam Season

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

Another end of the school year is fast approaching. I like to think of my semesters as roller coaster rides: there are twists, sharp turns and very brief moments of relief and usually, the most stressful part is the big drop at the end. Although we’re nearly finished with our classes, we still have our exams and final assignments to accomplish. Some of us might start to worry even more if we haven’t performed as well as we had expected up until this point. All of this is part of the territory when we get to the finish line. But, a part of performing well on our exams will mean that we can’t be stressed to the point where we’re not functioning properly. It’s important to take care of ourselves during this time and to find ways to relax amidst all of the unyielding pressure.

Here are a few places I’ve found to have a great vibe if you’re looking to unwind:

1. The Art House Cafe

I stumbled upon this cafe one day by accident, and I quickly fell in love. The Art House Cafe at 555 Somerset St W is one of the coziest coffee shops I’ve ever spent time in. They have great coffee, tons of local art and they host special events such as creative workshops and music shows. It’s perfect if you’re looking to spend the day studying in a fresh environment, or if you’re just looking to take the night off to relax.

2. Color me mine

This activity at Colour Me Mine at 1595 Merivale Road is so relaxing, whether you go as a group or alone. My suggestion for first-timers (especially if you’re not on the creative side) is to start off small by painting a mug or a bowl. There is also a student discount of 10% off on Tuesdays! Either way, it’s a great activity to lose yourself in, and you feel very accomplished when you take home your new creation.

3. Iso spa – flotation therapy centre

Anna Schultz-Girl Relaxing In Pool
Anna Schultz / Her Campus

There is also Ottawa’s only flotation spa at 464 Bank Street, which promotes the soothing of muscles, detoxifying your body, and the refreshment of skin and hair. It involves the process of entering a sensory deprivation tank, where you’ll be floating on heated water mixed with Epsom salts. You have the option of floating for 60 or 90 minutes. It’s a super interesting way to take your mind off of life’s stressors for a bit, while also reaping some great benefits for your body!

4. Ottawa art gallery

The Ottawa Art Gallery has housed many different pieces from artists belonging to the Ottawa/Gatineau region. Admission is free and they also host special events & workshops, so there are tons to check out here. They’re located downtown at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, and they’re open 6 days a week. This would definitely be a great place to quiet your mind for the night, while also enjoying beautiful art.

5. Central experimental farm

sunflower field girl wavy hair off shoulder white dress summer
Maria Scheller / Her Campus

The Experimental Farm at 960 Carling Ave is home to many attractions including an arboretum, ornamental gardens, a greenhouse, and more. It’d be easy to spend the day here, you could just bring your headphones, and listen to music as you take in the sights. There are several spots to sit, lounge and read a book. It’s a great place to unwind.

6. Simply meditation – yoga & meditation classes

And finally, Simply Meditation at 301 Bank Street offers a couple of different classes at Planet Botanix every Sunday night. They offer a yin yoga class (starting at 6 pm), with an affordable drop-in price of $10. They also offer a Kirtan meditation class (starting at 7 pm), and there is no charge for that (however donations are accepted). Both yoga and meditation are great practices to help ease the mind.

These are the places that personally excite me the most when I’m thinking of ways to relax. This time of the year can be tough on students, and I think it’s important that we all have a good balance of hard work and self-care. I highly recommend trying one of these out for yourselves, or maybe even all six of them! Either way, I’m wishing you all luck on your exams, and congratulations on completing another semester.

Josee Renaud

Carleton '24

Josee is a 4th year Psychology student at Carleton. Her degree specializes in the cognitive and psychological development of children and how our behaviour and thoughts are shaped well into adulthood. Aside from her studies, she enjoys writing and getting involved in mental health events/committees at Carleton. She is passionate about being fit, showering her kitty with love, and is a little too obsessed with animal crossing!