“Life sucks a lot less when you add mountain air, a campfire, and some peace and quiet.”
It’s a normal week in your busy life and you are reaching your breaking point. Of course, good things have happened to you this week, but life has also presented you with some pretty stressful situations.
Your boss needs you to work overtime, which doesn’t give you much “you time” at all. The house needs to be cleaned, but you’re too tired and only seem to have enough energy to binge-watch some Netflix before bed. The clutter piles up. Exercise is non-existent and your friends are too busy adulting to do anything relaxing with you. Browsing the news and Facebook has filled your head with negativity. When will the madness end!?
You know what you need? Some fresh air. Go camping.
Humans are complex creatures, and our lives become increasingly complex as we get older. We are always adding new things to our plate. Whether it be learning a new skill, obtaining a career, getting married, or having a kid, all of these things add to our to-do lists and we can become worn out very easily.
All these things stack up in our mind and create a ball of stress that eventually becomes physically apparent. And everyone deals with stress differently.
Now on top of those stressors, mix in your daily routine that you have to maintain. Part of us needs routine to keep us sane, but the other part needs some activity that interrupts the routine to give us life. An equal blend of both achieves balance.
Camping takes you out of your comfort zone and introduces you to new challenges for your mind to tackle that aren’t typical. Set up your shelter before dark, find enough dry wood, build a fire, cook yummy food. Remember how complex your life as a human is?
Going camping eliminates the need for immediate action; it folds up your to-do list and tucks it in the back of your mind for later. It allows you to stretch out your legs, live in the moment, and think differently than you normally would.
What was once important to you is no longer important as you’re camping under the stars next to a crackling fire, surrounded by a canopy of trees that are just as alive as you are. You have a space to breathe, reflect, and just be. Life is suddenly simple again.
If you don’t have time to go on a vacation or take a trip somewhere, camping is the answer. Find a forest or campsite near you and take a mini retreat for yourself. Go alone or bring family and friends. Either way you will be able to cleanse your mind of all the stress that’s built up, restore energy to your body, and lift your spirits emotionally.
So how do you make the most of this cleanse? How do you grow and benefit from it? Here are some things to consider as you prepare for your camping cleanse:
- Camp alone or with others? Being alone while camping is helpful when you want to escape and have a learning experience. Your own problem-solving skills are put to the test and you can easily and quietly digest your own thoughts. However, if you decide to bring others, that could prove to be a great option socially. Everyone is disconnected from phones and the internet and they are more able to connect with you.
- Camping doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t need to rough it in the woods in order to get the most out of your experience. Bring a few items that you need for everyday convenience. It’s still camping. You won’t enjoy it if you don’t have what you need.
- Bring items that will only add to the peace. When I camp, I like to bring a Bluetooth speaker to play chill songs at night while we are around the fire. Sometimes I will play my harmonica or bring a book to read when it’s daylight. You can plan ahead and bring gear for certain activities like fishing and backpacking.
- Consider bringing a journal. Write down your reflections, events that come to mind, memories that you’re thinking back on. Use it to record your thoughts so you can reflect on them in a time of stress.
- Go with an open mind. Nature can teach us things we can’t learn from books. So get inside your head. Notice the quiet, the scenery, the disquiet, the solitude. Let it impact you as you think about life, come up with solutions, and meditate on how you feel in the moment. Maybe it will help you figure out how to bring this peaceful feeling with you when you get back to reality.
- Disconnect. You won’t have wifi, but you should still bring your phone in case of emergencies. I like to snap pictures and videos with my phone while camping. I do that so I can upload and edit them when I get back home. Not being attached to your phone or worrying about your notifications is completely freeing, especially in the world we live in today.
Benefits of the Great Outdoors
“What am I going to get out of this?” you ask. Well, there are many reasons why camping has the cleansing powers it does, and they come from being in the great outdoors.
Fresh air will flow through your lungs and your skin will soak up healthy amounts of vitamin D. Take a hike through the trees or on a nearby trail. You are exercising! Getting your heart rate up and walking for some time builds stamina and gives you a nice cardio workout. Make sure you drink enough water to replace the water you lose as you hike.
Being outdoors is proven to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. Take a second every now and then to appreciate the beauty of what surrounds you. Let it make you happy. Let it give you confidence and heal your mind.
Camping can even give you a better night’s rest than usual. As you remain warm and cozy in your sleeping bag, the moonlight is your nightlight and the wind in the trees is the quiet fan that lulls you to sleep. Many people wake up feeling quite refreshed from a restful night of sleep while camping.
A big part of feeling good is nourishing your body. Bring preparations for a meal that will do just that. Being in the woods, you are away from fast food and junk, so make these camp meals count.
I love to bring sausage and veggies, wrap them in foil, and stick them in the fire for an hour or two. In the morning I boil water in a kettle and make instant oatmeal. There are tons of creative meal-prep ideas out there for camping, so take a gander!
If you decide to bring friends to camp with you, socializing is really fun! There are no distractions running in the background to catch someone off guard or make them disinterested in what’s going on.
No one has anywhere to be or any wifi to check their Instagram. It almost takes you back in time, in a sense… to a simpler time with not nearly as many distractions as there are in the world now. You’ll bond with your friends and family and discover new memories you’ll enjoy remembering down the road.
Immersing yourself in nature is the path to finding the self-actualization you want to achieve on this cleanse. That means you should reflect, find meaning, and learn all you can about how to achieve your true potential in life. What do you want to accomplish? What do you love about life? How can you find time to live it the way you want to?
Here’s Your Challenge:
Even if you are not an outdoorsy person, go camping! Try this out and see how it makes you feel. Throw an overnight bag together and load up your car with what you need to be happy in the woods. Don’t have any gear? You don’t need much! Rent or borrow a tent, hammock, or sleeping pad. Buy some food to cook while you are there. That’s it!
Can’t find a place to camp? Search the web for campsites near you. If there is a national forest close by, camp there. It’s free! That’s how camping should be.
So tell me, are you going to try this out? Have you ever been on a camp cleanse? Did it work? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂