Self Care at Camp

You guys! I have some exciting news… ok well it’s mostly only exciting for me.

But I wanted to share!!

You know how I talk A LOT about self-care, and how we need to encourage and support our staff to practice good self care. Well it turns out that it actually works!!! haha

Ever since I started directing camps two things have always bookmarked my experience, a pre- season cold sore, and a post season migraine. Fun, right?


Cold sore & migraine, the bookmarks to my camp experience for 10 years


So this year I decided to actually practice what I’ve been preaching and I set some goals for self-care.

(Check out this post to find out what I’ve said in the past about self-care.)

They weren’t anything too lofty, I had checklist of 5 items on my phone, and I would try to do some combination of at least 3 of them every day. (During the camp pre-season I was checking off all 5 every day.)

Here’s my list:

Drink A Green Smoothie

I don’t always get enough veggies at camp, so I find it useful to blend em up, and slurp em down. Plus, green smoothies are delicious!! Check out this post for some quick tips on having ready to go smoothies at camp.



Drink lemon/ apple cider vinegar water

Ok, ok, I know you guys are like, “what the heck dude, are these self-care tips or just some sort of weird cleanse you’re trying to dupe us into?!??”

I promise I’m not trying to get one over on you guys, it’s just one of the things I do that makes me feel good.

Full confession, my lemon water never looks this good – this is stock photo. I’m lazy when it comes to anything food related so I just buy the bottle of lemon juice and put two tablespoons of it and the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother, that’s important) in a cup or mason jar filled with warm (almost hot) water and drink it first thing in the morning.

It gives me such a great boost of energy, and I cut waaaaaay back on my coffee drinking!

Also, it’s important to note that I’m not just drinking smoothies and water concoctions – I eat food too!! haha



Read at least 5 pages of a book

This one has been kind of a big deal to me because it had one of the biggest impacts.

I love to read, it’s one of my favourite things to do.

But when you’ve got a million projects on the go, and a to do list the size of the phonebook it’s hard to put up your feet and get into a good book. So I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d like to.

But then I read an article about forming habits (I’m so sorry, I don’t remember the name – it was great though!!) and doing something for a ridiculously short period of time was one of the tips. Like exercising for 5 minutes a day for a week. Sounds silly at first, but then you realize that it’s just about easing into the habit of exercising daily, because if you go from couch potato to given’er for a full hour 3 days in a row, you’re not likely to stick with it.

So I took the same concept and applied it to reading. Except that instead of 5 minutes a day, I decided I would aim for a minimum of 5 pages a day. Often I read a lot more than that, and there was that one day when the new Harry Potter book came out on a session break so got comfy and spent the day reading.

But man, did it ever work!! I like goals, and I REALLY like checking stuff off of a list, so even if I was crunched for time or had a super long day, I’d take a minute, read five pages and check that puppy off. It worked so well in fact that I finished 6 books this summer!!! I’ve only ever been able to read 1 or 2 during past summers (and some summers, none) so I’m pretty happy about this one.

PS. Are you on Goodreads? Connect with me and we can share favourite books.

Oh My Gosh WE COULD START A BOOK CLUB!!!!  FUN!!!  Lemme know what you think. 🙂

PPS. I was so enamoured with the article on habits (that I can’t remember the name of) that I went out and bought The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I was a fan.



Run/ yoga/ weights

My goal here was to do something physical for myself as often as possible, daily would have been preferable – but I also try to be realistic.

I’m gonna be honest here. I didn’t lift weights once. Ok, well, I carried them into my cottage and back out at the end of summer, but I don’t think that really counts.
They’re not even big weights, just the little 5 – 10 lb dumbbells, but they never even made it out of the box I packed them in. Whoops!

I mostly did yoga and went for the occasional run. I didn’t do either every day, but I did yoga a lot more often than in previous summers. I even got out to the dock to do it a few times – that was nice.

Ok, so this 100% isn’t me. But I don’t have any photos of myself doing yoga, and you would be shocked at how difficult it is to find a free photo of someone doing mediocre asanas on a dock! (That would represent my “style”.)  So I went with this lovely tree pose instead.



Write in Journal

This one was the most surprising to me. I haven’t journaled in years so I wasn’t sure I’d stick with it for long, or even enjoy it at all. But I loved it, I looked forward to it, and I stuck with it!

I went out and bought a journal that I thought was pretty and would enjoy writing in and I didn’t have any hard rules about what I wrote, sometimes I wrote my thoughts, sometimes I doodled, sometimes I wrote one of my favourite quotes.
Just as long as I took a minute for me I called it a win.

I think this is one of the more effective things I did to decompress and keep stress levels low(er).

Also, check out my sweet pen, I had the pencils already but I was pumped when I found the set of pens.


So I did MOST of these things MOST of the time and voila! I didn’t get a pre camp cold sore and I didn’t get a post camp migraine… for the first time in TEN YEARS!!!

I think that’s kind of a big deal.

(Full disclosure, I did get two migraines during the summer, but they were nothing compared to the doozie I usually get post season, so I’m still calling it a win. Baby steps, right!?)

Self care looks different for everyone, so my advice is to figure out what works for you and do that. I’m so happy that I finally followed my own advice! ha!

I’d love to hear all about your self-care routines in or outside of camp.

And don’t forget to come find me on Goodreads and on social media too!

Photo credit: Ken-ichi via / CC BY-NC
Photo credit: The Clear Communication People via / CC BY-NC-ND
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Photo credit: via / CC BY
Categories: New Camp Director Pro Tip, Self Care at Camp | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Self Care at Camp

  1. Why am I only just finding this blog. Followed!


    • hahaha Thanks Hannah, I appreciate it! Have you worked at/ gone to camp?


      • I have:) A special needs camp in Pennsylvania. I’m going to upload a post about my experience of it soon. Love your posts by the way, very helpful! What camp have you been to yourself?


      • Oh very cool!!!
        I currently work at a special needs camp too 🙂 Pretty amazing right?
        I’ve also worked at camps for underprivileged / at risk youth, and there were one or two summers where I worked at science & music camps. hahaha

        I’m so glad you find my posts helpful, that’s so kind of you to say. 🙂
        I’ll keep an eye out for your post! I absolutely love learning about other people’s camp experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow that’s so cool. I’d love to try a traditional or underprivileged…and a science camp haha. Although I adored my campers and am going back to the same one this year coming. They’re just so lovable. Thank you, you’ll probably see me commenting again on one of your future posts haha. Keep up the great work:)

        Liked by 1 person

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