January is as good a time as any to hit the “reset” button, although here in Cowichan, we prefer to do things a little differently. Here, living well is a lifestyle. Rather than setting lofty goals or making drastic changes to your daily routine, we feel there are a few fundamental, easy ways to make sure you’re living your best life all year long.
1. Be Intentional
Whatever you choose to do this year, try to do it with intention. Mindful choices don’t always have to be disciplined or life-altering, but setting intentions and following through on them can be super rewarding. You’ll feel good about how you spend your time, and feeling good is the first step to living your best life.
If setting intentions is a part of your game plan for 2019, take some time to set up at your favourite coffee shop or “third place” and think about the things you’d like to accomplish or embrace in the coming year. We recommend the Duncan Garage for a funky, eclectic vibe or Westholme Tea Farm for a peaceful, serene setting.
2. Get Outdoors
This one may seem obvious, but it’s not everywhere that you can step outside on January 1 and actually enjoy being in the elements. Here on Vancouver Island, we have mild winters which means you can do pretty much everything year-round. From hiking to surfing, kayaking and golf (yes, even golf), outdoor adventure is always available to you in Cowichan.
We recommend a hike or walk – try Maple Mountain or Mount Tzouhalem for great summit vistas, or a visit historic Kinsol Trestle for an amazing photo op. Whatever your fitness level, a hike or walk in nature is a great way to get your blood flowing and clear your mind.
3. Treat Yourself
What’s life without a little indulgence? Treat yourself to a massage or body wrap at the Villa Eyrie Resort Tuscan Spa. They have an extensive list of spa treatments that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed… and they’ve got one of the best views in town.
If you need more than an afternoon or evening to chill out, book yourself a weekend at a local Bed & Breakfasts. There are many charming, secluded B&Bs in Cowichan, each with their own unique personality. Your hosts will make you feel right at home with attentive, caring service and thoughtful recommendations if you’re visiting from outside the region. Check out a full listing of places to stay in Cowichan.
4. Try Something New
Nothing says “new year, new me” like getting outside of your comfort zone. Try something new, like kayaking or mountain biking, in the gorgeous natural environment that Cowichan is known for. There are clinics and lessons available if you’re a first-timer or even just someone who wants to get back into something they once loved.
With a scenic coastline stretching from Mill Bay to Ladysmith, getting out on the water is practically a must-do when visiting and exploring Cowichan. If you don’t feel like paddling a kayak but still want to experience an ocean adventure, charter a boat from one of the local marinas with a local guide at the helm, or opt for a wildlife viewing tour.
5. Let Someone Else do the Cooking
Cut yourself a break and let someone else do the cooking once in a while. Enjoy a meal out at one of Cowichan’s other fantastic local restaurants like Farm Table Inn in Lake Cowichan, Bridgeman’s Bistro in Mill Bay, Rock Cod Cafe in Cowichan Bay or Pizzeria Prima Strada in Cobble Hill.
If you’re celebrating new beginnings or just saying “cheers” to another year, head to the bistro at Unsworth Vineyard in Cobble Hill to experience their inspired tasting menu complete with wine pairings. Raise a glass and toast to a great 2019 with a glass of their Charme de L’Ile sparkling wine.
6. Learn Something
Learning is a lifelong endeavour, and Cowichan has much to offer for curious minds. Visit the BC Forest Discovery Centre to learn about BC’s rich forestry history, or spend some time learning about birds of prey like eagles, owls, and falcons at The Raptors – just check their hours during the winter months to make sure they’re open when you’re planning to go.
For immersive art and culture experience, take a walking tour through Downtown Duncan where you’ll see and learn about First Nations artwork and Totem Poles, or through Chemainus where you’ll see large-scale murals painted on just about every building.
8. Be Kind to Yourself
This one might be the most important. While the New Year is a great time to check in with yourself and make mindful choices, it’s known that drastic change is not as sustainable as small, intentional adjustments. If you’re looking to live your best life in 2019, a visit to Cowichan is a pretty great place to start. Get started with planning tools here, and get in touch if you have any questions! Send us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.