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The Active Holiday: 5 Great Activities for Adventurous Spirits

The Active Holiday: 5 Great Activities for Adventurous Spirits

The bells are jingling, cinnamon is sweet and pungent in the air, and our New Year’s resolution lists are over and done. Soon enough, winter will make us sleepy, and it’s only December! There’s so much to do, eat, smell and feel until the snowy season comes to an end, so do your best to stay awake. Yes, your favourite blanket is warm and inviting and somebody’s bought a new cocoa flavour that matches your reading plans perfectly, but there’s a whole wide world outside your paper snowflake windows that waits to be explored.

Go outside and start a snowball fight with your neighbours! It will remind you of simpler times, when the great white mountains were at the reach of your hand. Dust off the family sled and build a snow fort. Hopefully, that will only be the beginning of the great outdoor holiday adventure that you’ll be returning to for many Christmases to come.

What follows is not your everyday skiing vacation, but the one that would make even the worst of adrenaline junkies feel all cozy and snug on the inside.

1. Heli-Skiing

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    Okay, I lied a bit – your journey will indeed start with skiing, but it will be like nothing you’ve experienced before, I promise. Heli-skiing is the latest in winter wonderland trends for tireless daredevils and is double the fun, double the thrill and, of course, double the danger.

    Especially for those who despise overcrowded ski tracks and enjoy the ruthless isolation of backcountry skiing, heli-skiing promises one heck of a ride. Instead of wasting fresh snow while waiting in endless lift lines, you’ll be dropped off at the highest peak of the mountain and left there to find your way back down.

    If you’re in the neighbourhood, head straight to British Columbia and never look back. Canadians have mastered this art in terms of both experience and safety, and you’ll hardly find the same level of professionalism anywhere else. In case you have no other choice, be sure to check regulations before you go heli-skiing in the USA or Europe, since some countries offer only a single ride to the mountains and do not care about your survival techniques.

    2. Ice-Diving

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      While exploring the highest tops of the Lumberjack Country, grab the chance to dive underneath the surface as well. Ice-diving is another winter adventure activity that Canadians excel in, and it’s set to change your view on the world in the trippiest way possible.

      Then again, you can go a bit further than that and make ice-diving the end goal of your holiday escapade. Antarctica is where it all began, so why not take the opportunity and book the trip to the Great White Desert? A vacation cannot get more wintery than that, don’t you think?

      In Antarctica or somewhere else, don’t expect to go deeper than 30 feet; anything more would be extremely dangerous. While treading on the fine line between exhilaration and panic, look out for all the sea butterflies, hedgehogs, horsetails and other creatures with funny names that inhabit the abysmal coldness. And, in case you do get anxious underneath, don’t worry, since what awaits you on the surface is cute and cuddly like your warmest childhood dreams. That’s right, you’ll get to spend your Christmas with penguins!

      3. Kite-Skiing

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        Like heli-skiing and ice-diving, this insane winter sport is not an activity for everyone. In fact, kite-skiing is considered a combination of sailing, kite flying and skiing, and you’ll have to be quite experienced in at least one in order to master the technique.

        What’s interesting, however, is that kite-skiing comes incredibly cheap. What you need is suggested by the name – this activity requires nothing but kite equipment and regular downhill skis (also, you can use a snowboard if you prefer). It doesn’t even require a hill! In case vacationing is not an option, kite-skiing is something you can do in your windy backyard.

        The physics behind it are simple enough to grasp. The kite provides the pull, similarly to the mainsail on a sailboat. When you are going upwind, the kite becomes powerful enough to support the skier’s weight, which provides some brilliant opportunities for stunts. So, learn your physics, practise hard, and try not to break something you can’t do without.

        4. Off-Roading

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          When somebody proposes a walking vacation, most adrenaline junkies are quick to discard the idea as not death-defying enough. All of you who think hiking is any less adrenaline-packed than it actually is, I dare you to try! Once the fresh air fills out your lungs and your blisters start to rupture, you’ll sing an entirely different song.

          Unexpectedly, you’ll find that hiking requires an electrified spirit and a strategic approach, just like all the best sports do. Soon enough, you’ll get hooked and trails will become too narrow for your newly opened mind. Then, start off-roading for yet undiscovered excitement!

          It’s simply how we were made – wanderlust runs through our veins and itches our feet with every step we take, so why not make this holiday season all about those blood-pumping off-roading trails that the USA is so luckily endowed with? After all, it’s the only proper way of celebrating our nature-bound roots, our wonderfully nomadic traditions, and our utterly human instincts.

          5. Glacier Climbing

            If learning a new skill is one of your resolutions for the New Year and you’re eager to cross off another destination from your bucket list, then off to the glaciers! Whether you choose to climb to the alpine tops or simply to hike your way up, glacier climbing is one of the best Christmas gifts you can surprise your adventurous spirit with.

            Now, this winter activity is not for the faint-hearted. Prepare to spend a lot of freezing hours practicing the techniques before you even lift your feet off the ground and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to feel a bit frightened in the process. Book a course in spite of all that, and thank me later.

            You’ll find that Iceland is where the glacier climbing action is, though Alaska is considered equally fun. I don’t have to warn you that this activity doesn’t come cheap, but it’s certainly one of those things that we like to call “once in a lifetime”. It’ll be chilly and terrifying, but you’ll love every single minute of it.

            Don’t spend your holiday break in the bed! There’s plenty of time for being a proud no-lifer once the snowdrops begin sprouting, so treat yourself with a good old mason jar of pure, unadulterated adrenaline. Hopefully, it will wake you up and make you smell the routine.

            More by this author

            Vladimir Zivanovic

            CMO at MyCity-Web

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            Last Updated on December 9, 2019

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

            Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

            Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

            1. Get Rationally Optimistic

            Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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            This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

            In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

            The result: no more mental stress.

            2. Unplug

            Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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            How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

            It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

            Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

            3. Easy on the Caffeine

            Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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            Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

            4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

            That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

            How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

            • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
            • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
            • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

            While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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            5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

            This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

            The result: mental stress will be gone!

            So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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            Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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