Is anyone else feeling bogged down by all the negative garbage in this election season? The bickering, the accusations, the comment trails that leave you wishing you could poke your eyes out with a rusty fork . . .
With nearly four weeks to go, it’s easy to see how you might feel a little disheartened by politics and the world in general. While I won’t claim we’re immune from political lunacy here in our little Bend utopia, I’ve rounded up eight ways you can shake off the election season blahs in Bend, Oregon.
Indulge in a little nature therapy
There’s something about fresh air that always hits the reset button on my attitude. Luckily, there’s plenty of that to go around in Bend.
Go for a fall hike someplace the colors are at their peak right now. Tumalo Falls, the Deschutes River Trail, Drake Park, and Shevlin Park are all great options at the moment (er, at least until the storm knocks all the leaves off the trees!)
Distract your brain from the madness
With the constant onslaught of nasty Facebook posts and debate coverage, it can help to focus your mind on something less chaotic.
Scope out the schedule at AstroLounge and hit their ever-popular Trivia Night to exercise your mind muscles in a way that doesn’t involve leaving fiery comments on your crazy uncle’s Facebook posts.
You can also flex your brain with a visit to Bend Escape Room. In a nutshell, your group is locked in a room and given the clues to escape. It makes a fun team building or family activity for 2-6 people.
You can also get your science fix (along with a tasty craft beer!) by attending one of the Science Pub events at McMenamins Old Saint Francis.
Watch the tails wag
Few places on earth are as happy-making as Bend’s off-leash dog parks. There are eight of them to choose from, and each one offers a joyful abundance of gleeful tail wagging and giddy pup play.
It’s fun to watch even if you don’t have a dog, but you should really remedy things if that’s the case. How about adopting a rescue dog from the Humane Society of Central Oregon or Brightside Animal Center? Those pups have been trail tested on Central Oregon terrain, so you know you’ll get a buddy who’ll be happy to join you each time you return for a dog-friendly Bend vacation.
Do good deeds
When you’re feeling crappy about humanity (and let’s be honest—this election cycle is making a lot of us feel that way) it can help to do something nice for someone else.
If you’d rather lend an outdoorsy twist to your do-gooding, tuck a trash bag in your pack and pick up garbage along the trail during your hike. That way you’ll leave Bend’s outdoor spaces a little nicer than you found them!
Be a kid again
Remember when you were six years old and cared more about your gumball collection than who might become president of the United States?
Recapture that lost innocence by planning a kid-centric outing (even if you don’t have children!)
Ride go-karts at Sun Mountain Fun Center. Frolic in piles of leaves at Drake Park. Go roller skating at Cascade Indoor Sports. Play vintage arcade games at Vector Volcano. Go bowling at Lava Lanes. Run around like a maniac at one of Bend’s 80+ parks and playgrounds.
There’s no shame in self-care, and there are plenty of ways to pamper yourself when you’re in Bend.
Buy yourself a tasty gelato at Bonta, or treat yourself to a super-special meal at one of Bend’s renowned restaurants like 5 Fusion, Jackalope Grill, Ariana Restaurant, Chow, Greg’s Grill, Trattoria Sbandati, or the Blacksmith.
Want to indulge in a little retail therapy? You’ll find tons of great shops in Downtown Bend and the Old Mill District, or check out our abundance of thrift stores and consignment shops to score a secondhand find.
Soak up some feel-good photos
Seven days a week, 365 days a year, Visit Bend is out there posting beautiful Bend photos on our social media channels. We promise they’ll lift your spirits and give you something to smile about even when you’re not able to be in Bend.
Find a park bench. Maybe it’s somewhere in Drake Park overlooking Mirror Pond and the distant mountains. Maybe it’s in Downtown Bend where you can watch people strolling past with steaming mugs of cocoa and bright fall sweaters.
Have a seat. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be still. Feel the tension slowly draining out of your shoulders.