Are you or someone near you missing summer camp times? Don’t worry, a lot of us have been there and have survived to tell you how to deal with the daunting after-camp blues.
Here is a list of things that have worked for me and others in the past to come out from those depressing moments when you remember the awesomeness of summer-camp and think “Crap! I have to wait for a whole other year to go” or worse “I’m too old for camp!” (which btw you’re not! but anyways…).
1. Cut the “camp-talk”.
It’s usually a great idea to not talk to EVERYONE about how cool your life was at camp. Most people probably don’t care that much (or at all) and camp-talk only puts more sadness-wood in the campsickness-fire that is stopping you from enjoying the PRESENT.
2. Dodge your need to compare every normal life situation with how things are done at camp.
At camp, you could sing your lungs out in public without the slightest sign of embarrassment and now you care a little too much when judgy eyes stare at you when you dare to do anything out of the ordinary. It sucks, YES, but I think it is better to realise that not everywhere is camp and that’s OK, because of next point…
3. Make a list with things that you love doing but you CAN NOT do at camp, and GO DO THEM.
Stay up late watching Netflix with friends, walk your dog, sky-dive… or whatever you like doing!
4. Avoid being Mr./Mrs. Clingy with other camp-peeps.
Since camp friends can be the real deal and have the potential to share moments with you for the rest of your days (i.e. I married one of mine), you will feel the righteous urge to water those new or old camp friendships, but DON’T DROWN them!
Over-texting (skyping, face-timing or whatever you use) to those far-from-you friends enhances the possibility of pushing them away since most of them will actually move on with their lives and it is usually not the best idea to get in the way of that.
That could not only be seen as a selfish attitude from your part (especially if you make drama by not getting the response you wish from them) but also it could make your missing-summer-camp situation even worse, since your best memories with those people are probably from the time you spent together at camp.
5. Break your same ol’ routine.
You probably know that one of the things that make you love camp the most is that you try new things pretty much every day.
Why not enjoy being at home more by shaking it up a bit? The changes can be as little as bringing new meals to your already memorised home-menu from huge life shake-ups like adopting a pet.
6. Meet new people offline or online.
Adding fresh faces to your vida loca might make your life at home more interesting. Remember how clicking with new people at camp made you feel?
A good place to start meeting new people could be joining a class for a new skill (maybe even something that you learnt at camp and you want to become better at).
If you don’t feel too comfortable walking your butt to a class you can just take it online but make sure that it is a class that lets you interact with the other students, otherwise, you’ll get the skill but not the connections.
If you don’t meet anyone that you find interesting, keep looking somewhere else! Believe it or not, there is always someone that will be pleased to meet you (no matter how weird you think you are).
7. Keep away those camp photos until you feel better with present life.
If thinking about camp makes you feel sad right now, it’s probably a good idea to put away that camp-shrine that you have in your bedroom.
You can always keep all those camp treasures in a box for future moments when you can look back and feel good about them.
8. Start a side project / business
The passion and time required to succeed in any kind of entrepreneurial venture (for-profit, or not) will not only keep your mind off missing camp, but it can also help you achieve an amazing feeling of self-accomplishment that will keep you up and going for a veeeery long time.
9. Stay active!
Help your body produce dopamine by doing something that keeps your butt off the chair. Exercising in any way can do wonders against any kind of depressive thoughts.
Go for a Pokémon hunt (by foot), take dance lessons, find a climbing wall, or play any sport on a regular basis and your own nature will help you to stay content with yourself and your current life situation. Guaranteed!
10. Other suggestions from the community:
I asked in a group for summer camp professionals what tips they had for dealing with campsickness and this is what they said:
Joe from Camp Merz said: “We have a staff Facebook group and stay in touch that way. We also have camp events during the offseason and invite staff to come help with the events and stay the weekend. We basically have an opportunity for staff to get together every month.”
Matt from Edgewood-Camp said: “Organise a holiday get-together for the staff if you can find a central spot for it to happen. Seeing your camp family, doing a Yankee-swap, presents under the tree, singing carols to the neighbourhood, shovelling driveways. Always one of my highlights of the holiday season.”
To stay away of campsickness, distract yourself from thinking about life at camp ALL THE TIME. Just the opposite of what you do when someone feels homesick at camp.
Rodrigo Macias (author) is a bilingual creative mixing his experience working in Childcare and Design around planet Earth to come up with high-quality printables and playful-educational activities for kids. Check those out at the Box of Ideas.