Friday, March 30, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Off The Beaten Path - Spring is in the Air

It has been a good winter for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.  True, we had some cold days, but overall, there were plenty of days with weather decent enough to enjoy the winter outdoors – ice fishing, skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.  Now warmer weather is finally returning and the snow is melting.  Pretty soon we look forward to spring and spending more time under the sky doing our favourite summer activities.
By March Break, you probably went on your last cross-country ski outing, took the ice hut off the lake, made the last runs snowboarding at the ski hill, or whatever, and it’s time to put your winter equipment away.  Before you do that, take time to inspect your gear.  Perhaps a snowshoe harness is broken, cross country skis have thick buildup of wax that needs to be scraped off, a ski pole is missing its basket, or the blades on the ice auger needs sharpening.  Now is the perfect time to repair your equipment before putting it in storage for the off-season; this ensures that your winter gear is ready to go when the snow flies again next December.
This is also a good time to check the end-of-season sales to buy replacement or new winter gear; prices will be marked down by half, or more.  This may include buying new ski boots if your old boots are too small or got worn out, a new snowboard, new snowshoes or new winter clothing.
As you put away your winter gear, haul out your summer gear and check it over as well for any damage or missing parts.  Maybe your tent got mildewed or one of the hiking boots is missing.  Now is the time to find out that you need to repair or replace anything damaged or missing so that you have everything for summer fun.
This is also a good time to check pre-season bargains.  Check out outdoor adventure or sports shows for new products.  Many pieces of outdoor gear will also be marked down with a combination of stock from last year put on the clearance rack to make way for this year’s stock and new products being introduced into the marketplace where reduced introductory prices are in effect to entice people to buy these new products.
One final thought.  Make sure to store all your gear in a cool dry place   Organize everything so that you can find your stuff quickly without having to rummage through everything, and label everything.  When it is all done, take some time to look at your pictures from last summer and soon you will be excited about this coming summer’s adventures.
Pim Delfgou

Here are Some Simple Ways to Practice Mental Fitness

Here are Some Simple Ways to Practice Mental Fitness:

Daydream – Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dream   location. Breathe slowly and deeply. Whether it’s a beach, a  mountaintop, a hushed forest or a favorite room from your past, let the comforting environment wrap you in a sensation of peace and tranquility.

Learn ways to cope with negative thoughts – Negative thoughts can be insistent and loud. Learn to interrupt them. Don’t try to block them (that never works), but don’t let them take over. Try    distracting yourself or comforting yourself, if you can’t solve the problem right away.

Do one thing at a time For example, when you are out for a walk or spending time with friends, turn off your cell phone and stop making that mental “to do” list.  Take in all the sights, sounds and smells you encounter.

Exercise – Regular physical activity improves psychological     well-being and can reduce depression and anxiety. Joining an    exercise group or a gym can also reduce loneliness, since it      connects you with a new set of people sharing a common goal.

Enjoy hobbies –  Taking up a hobby brings balance to your life by allowing you to do something you enjoy because you want to do it, free of the pressure of everyday tasks.  It also keeps your brain active.

Set personal goals – Goals don’t have to be ambitious. You might decide to finish that book you started three years ago; to take a walk around the block every day; to learn to knit or play bridge; to call your friends instead of waiting for the phone to ring. Whatever goal you set, reaching it will build confidence and a sense of satisfaction.

Keep a journal (or even talk to the wall!) – Expressing yourself after a stressful day can help you gain perspective, release tension and even boost your body’s resistance to illness.