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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McGill chapter.

With each new pandemic lockdown comes a return to a limited selection of safe activities, including, of course, our beloved mental health walks. Some days, it can be the only way to escape from behind your desk or your couch and experience some small semblance of the real world.

There are some clear benefits to a daily walk, not just for physical health- increasing blood circulation, improving heart health, and stregthening bones, but for mental health as well. Walking does wonders for your mind by reducing stress, improving mood and helping you get a better night’s rest. Did it take us a whole pandemic to realize how important it is to get out of the house and get moving?

However, it’s easy for those walks to become boring, repetitive, and underwhelming compared to our favorite hobbies (now prohibited). I have come up with five ways to spice up your mental health walks, complete with a few suggestions special to the Montreal local.

1. Find a new landmark and adjust your route around it.

Have you ever seen a photo of a beautiful spot and wished you could see if for yourself? Work it into your walk and satisfy that curiosity! Here are some cool places within a 35-minute walk of McGill campus:

  • Square-Saint-Louis
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – it’s beautiful from the outside, but of course I’d also recommend going in!
  • Hotel Viger

2. window-shop at boutiques and restaurants.

Montreal storefronts are unquestionably charming, and they can add a certain ambience to your walk. For example, take Rue Rachel through the Plateau or Notre-Dame Ouest through Little Burgundy.

3. Find a new route.

This one seems obvious, but nonetheless important. If you normally turn right at the end of your street, turn left!

4. Match your playlist to your current mood.

I try to let my walking music reflect my current emotions instead of trying to counter them. When I’m in a down-ish sort of mood, I choose my mellow playlist to get me in my feels. Other times, I need Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” to help deal with those daily frustrations.

5. Turn it into a mental health skate!

I’d say one of the few benefits to the frigid Montreal weather is that it makes for great ice skating. Whether you have your own pair or need to rent, there’s a rink in Montreal that’s right for you! Here are just a few skating rinks and trails in Montreal:

  • Beaver Lake in Mount Royal Park
  • Parc La Fontaine
  • Parc Jean-Drapeau
  • Parc Maisonneuve
  • Old Port

One of the many things I’ve learned to appreciate throughout this pandemic is the mind-clearing, cathartic effect of a walk around the block. I also got to know the neighbourhoods in my hometown that I had never fully explored. Now that I’m living in Montreal, mental health walks allow me to step outside the McGill bubble and explore this beautiful city, plus provide a sense of purpose in these all too ambiguous and disheartening times. Who knew you could nourish your body and mind with some good winter boots, a parka, and the help of Google Maps!

Information obtained from:


Julia is a third-year student at McGill majoring in pharmacology and minoring in biotechnology. Her hobbies include playing piano, listening to all kinds of music, and exploring new coffee shops.