Katherine Dines is a radio personality, brand ambassador, actor and mental health champion who feels most alive in nature. She wears many hats, yes, but is someone who knows first-hand the importance of finding and being yourself. Katherine shares her love of Ottawa in the summer, what makes her career most meaningful, and the lessons she’s learned on happiness and true well-being.
You have been with Move 100 (formerly Majic 100) for over 10 years now. What’s your favourite part of the work you do at Bell Media?
All of it. I love getting out to events, volunteering, emceeing and meeting new people. I love being able to share positive opportunities, fun activities, health and well-being. Listening to people get excited about winning contests is very cool. Chatting with artists and hearing about the inspiration for their music & how they’re using their platform for good. Attending concerts, fun charity events and sporting activities.
What are your favourite things to do in Ottawa in the summer?
Bluesfest! I love cycling to MOVE along the Rideau Canal. Camping, hiking or just walking through the forest. Kayaking, canoeing. Love being near the water. I try to find escapes in nature away from traffic and concrete. Year three playing in Bell Media Ottawa’s Pickleball league! Love just being outside and being active. I love simplicity. I’m a gardener wannabe. Still trying to green up my thumbs. I’ve killed a lot of plants but some are thriving.
You work with many local charities in Ottawa, including the Ottawa Humane Society. What are some causes and groups that are important to you, and why?
We fostered cats with the Ottawa Humane Society for over a decade. My daughters adore cats and they were quite young when we began. It was a fun way to give back as a family. My girls learned so much about the responsibilities of caring for animals before we adopted one of our own. Animals can teach us a lot about ourselves. I love emceeing the Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run every year.
Mental health is another cause close to my heart, especially for kids. Some annual events I’m involved with include the annual Wonderland Tea Party For Youth Mental Health at CHEO in memory of Jamie Hubley. Ottawa Blues For Youth is another which raises money for youth mental health at The Royal. Proud To Be Me Gala raises funds for programs to empower kids and help them learn about inclusion and kindness.
A few years ago, you shared your own story about your mental health journey, including your former eating disorder and earlier childhood trauma. Why was it important for you to bring this forward, and to those reading, what is your best advice for navigating similar struggles?
I know what it’s like to feel alone and afraid, like the world is too painful to be part of any longer. Like no one understands or cares. I realized, through group therapy and reading the stories of others, just how powerful sharing can be. I was encouraged to use my platform to help. I haven’t shared everything publicly. It’s a lot. In 2020 I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. I had just started seeing a new psychologist and it was the first time I really opened up about everything I’ve experienced. I’d stuffed so much down for so long. I used to feel shame over crying and I would stop myself. Now I understand that crying is important for regulating emotions. I’m learning so much every day about the many ingredients in creating better mental health. I consume as much info as possible on the role of nutrition and gut health in reducing anxiety & depression. As well as how proper sleep cleans the brain, exercise reduces risk of disease, positive thoughts nurture our mind.
It’s important to advocate for your own health & work at it every day. Learn what feels best for you. So many of us live on autopilot and ignore what our bodies and brains are trying to tell us. Nothing is more important than taking care of yourself.
You are a mom of two daughters. What is the best part about being a parent?
Seeing my daughters doing what they love, learning and finding their joy, creating their own path. Children are a blessing. It is the greatest gift seeing them find their happy place & thrive. Being a parent inspired me to find strength and heal so I could be better for them too.
What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve given up gluten, dairy, alcohol, processed sugar, COFFEE (that was the toughest). I’ve had digestive issues for a very long time and after testing positive for COVID in 2022 they got so much worse. I’m slowly healing my gut. Always looking for new ways of improving body, mind and spirit.
Lastly, what would you say is the key to happiness in life?
Choosing it. Nothing outside of yourself will bring you true happiness. Practice gratitude. Be grateful for what you already have. Collect memories and experiences not things. Taking care of yourself. Good sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, time in nature, quality time with loved ones, solitude, reading, doing something you love and always keep learning. AND laughter! Finding humor in life’s lemons.