I recently had the opportunity to chaperone a camping trip with students in my daughter’s 4th grade class, and I was blown away by the experience. What I learned from this camping experience as a mom was notably similar to what I believe the children went through – yet my appreciation was that much more, most due to the fact that I’m in my low forties(!) It was a reminder that not only are we always able to grow and learn, but that we should continually look for self-care and self improvement opportunities – even if they scare you (as this initially did for me). The benefits of camping are plenty!
6 Benefits of camping that my camping experience brought me
- Sleeping outside is good for the soul. Nighttime was one of my biggest fears about camping. What if I had to go to the bathroom at night? Which animals may be outside roaming our tent? Would I be able to sleep? And how about cold? I am happy to say that I succeeded with flying colors, and by the end of the week, absolutely loved the temperature and cool air that I felt on my face. Of course, this sleeping bag was a lifesaver in that it is made for colder temps and kept my body nice and warm. I slept like a baby, and yes, I did have to pee each night – but that’s what the woods are for, wink-wink!
- Skip the snacking. I’m admittedly a habitual snacker. I work from home and thus have foods around all.the.time. Sometimes I eat out of boredom – scratch that, most of the time I do – and sometimes it’s simply because it’s there in front of me. The thing is, I know that you should give your body a break between meals. You aren’t meant to keep feeding it food and working your digestive system over and over; and yet, I do it. Not having these snacks around helped me feel the feeling of fullness and also how well I felt after skipping the snacks.
- Sugar isn’t a survival food. I have, and I’m afraid may always have a relationship with sugar. The thing is, it gets to a point where it’s out of control – as in I’m reaching for chocolate chips after morning meals even, or looking for that something sweet at all times of the day. Before heading out on this camping trip, I knew that the meals were going to be planned and that sugar was not a part of that plan until the last night when s’mores were on the menu. I knew this was my opportunity to start breaking the sugar habit – and it worked. I found that I didn’t actually crave sugar after each meal, I was just so used to having it – another bad habit. After returning home from camping, I kept it up and have been going strong for 2 weeks now. Let’s see how long I can keep it up;).
- Nature first thing in the morning is needed. A known fact is the benefit of getting outside within the first two hours of your day. It helps to regulate your circadian rhythm – and just as important, it gets you moving, even if it’s light exercise. Another benefit of camping is that once you are up, you’re automatically outside and you need to walk to everything – the bathroom, to get water, to start your cooking, etc. I found great satisfaction in being in the outdoors first thing each morning and am trying to incorporate this into life. Although, there are these little people in my household who need driven to school each day who kinda get in the way.
- Screens can be senseless. While camping, we had no wi-fi access on campsite nor even within walking distance. It was the first time that I did a digital detox in a long time, and it was wonderful. All of social media went on without me (lol), news came and went, and when a problem arose at home, those who were there handled it with ease. I couldn’t believe how much better my stress levels were without being there!
- Life goes on. As I mentioned above, everything went on as normal. My kids got where they needed to be, thanks to my husband. Breaking news came and went. Work was waiting for me when I got home, and I was at peace not having to worry about any of it. It was so liberating to know that since many of us moms worry so much about things, life will go on and things will get done – a huge benefit that I learned while camping.
Benefits of camping that I enjoyed as a mom
Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean that I didn’t gain the same camping benefits that children may. I honestly felt like I was in a similar boat to the kids, as I truly was pretty green and admittedly nervous about going out into the wilderness. I equated my experience to a race; similar to mentally pushing through to each mile, with each day I felt stronger and more confident that I’d come through the experience with shining colors. Here are some of the benefits of camping that I personally experienced:
- A HUGE boost in my self-confidence
- The digital detox was empowering
- Saying no to sugar that week allowed me to jump start the process of weeding it out of my diet
- An increase in self-awareness
My suggestion to you: take a camping trip!
Truth be told, this was not my first ever camping trip. I camped maybe 2 or 3 times as a kid with my parents, who truly are not the “camping type”. And 2 years ago, I did a 2.5 day backpacking trip with my eldest daughter. But this trip was longer, more active (if you can believe it) and held more variables. I’m SO glad that I did it, and I encourage you to do the same if you ever have the opportunity! Before I leave you on that note, I want to give you a few camping food suggestions for when you head out:
- Camping food ideas – great if you are backpacking
- Homemade Clif Bars – super to take along with you
- Easy energy balls – easy to make and pop
- Kid-friendly energy balls – for the kiddos in the group
And some camping gear recommendations in case you get the chance:
- A good book
- Take time to journal
- In case you also need the woods in the middle of the night, a headlamp
- Some eco-friendly soap
- Skip the inflatable pillow if you car camp and just bring your own
- A mess kit for all of your meals!
Let me know in the comments below if I missed anything! Happy Camping:).