Summer camps are huge in the world of churches during the summer. I have been personally going to summer camps since the summer after my second-grade year. Camp Michawana…oh the great memories 🙂
Anyway, as I have grown, summer camps are no longer just for fun in the sun, soaking up the days of summer before returning to school. No, for me now summer camps start back in March when we open up registration. Then I deal with the perils of technology not working, making sure all my parents have paid in full, gathering health forms and other documents, placing kids in small groups, assigning room situations, and so much more. And that is all before we actually leave. Four months of tiresome work for only 4 or 5 days…one might ask if it is worth it. I say to them YES!
It is funny because before I started working at my church, after summer camp I was tired, but I could get my rest after a day or two and be back at my normal energy. Now, it is different. Now, it takes me 3x times as long to find my normal energy. Why you ask? Well, because I have been “at summer camp” for 4 months now and all the preparation has finally hit me to the point of exhaustion. So my question is:
How do I Survive Summer Camp Exhaustion?
I don’t know if there is any one formula, but here is what I have been trying, because I know I am not the only one going through this right now. So here are 5 things I have found to help:
1. Get back into a healthy sleep schedule!
Summer camps mean going to bed late and waking up early, so only about 5 hours of sleep. Some people can live off of that–like my father–but some of us (like me) need at least 6 hours to function, but 7 or 8 to function with a smile on my face (which can also happen at 6 hours if I get 2 cups of coffee in the morning). So for at least the next couple weeks after camp go to bed at a decent time and allow yourself the number of hours you need to function with a smile.
2. Take a Vacation
Yes, summer camp can feel like a vacation, but it is not. If you are a leader it is work–fun work, but work. Get away with your family or take me time away from students and co-workers to recharge your batteries. And I suggest not to do a vacation that will leave you exhausted even more like Disney World…not a good choice after camp season. (I know! I said no to Disney…shocker!).
3. Make Sure You Are Spending Time with God
Okay if you are not religious and reading this I am sorry, but this is crucial in my life so I am sharing it. God gives us a purpose in life and in our lives as leaders it involves summer camp. He wants to talk to you about your experiences–good and bad–from camp. He wants to pour into you, but it is a two-way street and we need to keep that open dialogue and worship with him. He will give you the healing and the energy you need to recover–just make sure you ask and listen.
4. Spend Time with Friends/Family
As leaders, we need a social life away from our students. We need adult conversations that don’t involve teenage concerns. Plan a game night with friends, or visit family, or do a day trip with a few. Just make sure you are allowing yourself to be with people who you can talk to about anything. With our students there is a line because we are their friends to a point and blabbing all your problems with them isn’t healthy, so make sure you call up your bestie and plan time together. Personally, I had a Mother/Daughter day this past Tuesday and it was exactly what I needed to recharge for the week!
5. Revisit Your Pantry
Summer camp means lots of junk food and your body will want to continue down that path. DON’T!!! You need to get back to the diet you are used to. For me, it is a gluten-light diet to help with migraines and weight loss. Your body needs that healthy diet back and trust me it will make you feel SOOO much better!
Well, I hope that this list helps! If you have any other suggestions on how to beat the summer camp exhaustion comment below! I am always looking for other’s advice!