Camping is one of the most exciting ways of spending the weekend.
It is something that brings out the best in everybody. If you are fond of adventure, wildlife and nature, then camping expeditions would offer you ample opportunities to do so. Camping is preferred by those who wish to push their limits. It is a great way of testing your patience and existing skill sets.
If you are planning to hit the woods, then preparation will certainly hold the key for you. Going into the woods without adequate preparation can turn out to be fatal. Veteran campers are well aware of the importance of preparation. First-time campers make this mistake quite often. They take things for granted (quite often), this might lead to long-term problems during the course of the trip.
Here is a comprehensive list of things that can be carried along on a camping trip:
- A camping tent
- A sleeping bag and pillows
- An optimally-sized cooking stove
- A first-aid kit
- A lighter
- A survival knife
- A compass
- A smartphone/cellphone
- A couple of guns with tactical holsters
- Fresh drinking water
- Carry some dry food, such as snacks, breakfast bars, fruits, cereals, etc.
Staying up on your toes holds a lot of importance. You cannot let your guard down at any given point in time.
Some handy stats about camping:
- More than 40 million people in the US, i.e. more than 13% of the country’s population (aged six and above), camped at least once in 2016.
- The number went up by 0.1% because of the addition of 500,000 new and/or returning campers.
- These campers spent 587.2 million days in the woods (aggregate), which means each camper spent 14.5 days (avg) in the woods in 2016.
- The hilly regions of Arizona, New Mexico and Montana saw a higher rate of participation compared to other regions.
Anxiety problems in campers
Of late, a large number of campers are facing problems, such as anxiety, hypertension, etc. In the last few years, instances of camper anxiety have increased by leaps and bounds. First-time campers find it hard to hold their nerves. Many of them tend to get carried away in a fit of excitement. Consequently, they might end up hitting and/or injuring themselves in the process.
There’s nothing new about anxiety attacks in campers. A large number of camping professionals can be heard voicing concerns over the poor emotional and psychological health of campers.
A number of campers (mostly first-timers) find it hard to get used to the environment. They end up getting overwhelmed. In this way, they end up getting carried away. Well, first-timers cannot be blamed. Anybody who hasn’t ventured into the woods ever is bound to feel overwhelmed and excited. This, at times, ends up causing anxiety attacks.
Camping expeditions are a way of reducing stress and anxiety. If you are experiencing anxiety because of the camping expedition you are about to undertake, then you need to undertake the following:
Connect with a counsellor
This is something that everybody, irrespective of age and experience, can undertake. Quite often, people hesitate to talk about camping-related anxieties. Counselors can be asked to intervene in the situation (it is called redirecting). This is done before establishing a connection with the camper. Take this for an example: many of the camping enthusiasts find it hard to camp alone. In all fairness, you should never camp alone. Those who have this habit of camping alone are bound to feel lonely and depressed.
If you approach a counsellor, he will ask you to carry a few books along. Carrying a few books along is a really good idea. It will help you keep your mind occupied while you are not hunting and/or camping.
Ways to ‘connect’ with the camper:
- Try to decode the emotions of the camper. Try and ascertain the emotional turmoil he is facing (sadness, sorrow, frustration, nervousness, etc. )
- Calm him down by being friendly. (Boy, you’ll be embarking on a camping trip for the first time ever. It is your time to enjoy, mate. Begin the conversation in a light-hearted manner )
- Complement the camper for the effort he’s been making to get things right. (Wow, I am impressed by the progress you’ve been making. )
Try and address the setback
You can address the setback by making the camper feel better. At times, campers feel better when they speak up. Speaking up and bringing something to light helps lighten their burden. It’s like getting a big overweight monkey off their back.
Here is how you can make things easier for yourself:
The best way to connect is: acknowledge the feeling of the camper who happens to be sitting right in front of you. (I can see how frustrated, angry, demotivated you are)
Acknowledge the situation if you wish to connect a bit more deeply. ( No wonder times have been tough for you owing to…).
- The best way to address a problem is: By motivating the camper. Tell him that you are quite impressed with the efforts he has been putting in. This would allow him to look at things in a much more positive/optimistic way than usual.
- Tone the situation down by making him/her realize that he/she is not the only one. Tell him that a lot of people have felt this way in the past. Reassure him that their nothing to worry. Normalise the situation further by adding personal touch. You can say this: “ I too used to feel the same way when I was young…”
- Motivate: Nothing works like motivation. Tell them to pump up their spirits. Motivate them by making them realize that no mountain is high enough. Ask them not to work themselves too hard. Being harsh will not help.
Quoting examples can help:
A camper happens to be quite similar to cricketer. Both of them keep pushing their limits in order to attain their goals. Whenever a batsman is facing a fierce bowler, the one who bowls at a 150 clicks, he doesn’t throw away his wicket just because he’s scared. He faces the bowler and goes through the ordeal thinking it is an integral part of a much bigger scheme of things.
Addressing anxiety related to performance
Performance-related anxiety can happen to anybody. No matter how cexp-erienced you are, anxiety can get the better of you if you push yourself too hard.
Try the following tips (as a therapist):
- Share your personal experiences to normalise the situation a bit
- Keep it light. Try to engage the camper in a light-hearted banter.
- Congratulate them on their achievements. I am astounded to see the things you have accomplished in life.
- Again, motivation holds the key. Tell them that they can achieve what they want to achieve. As a counsellor, you need to instill a sense of belief within the camper’s mind.
In case of a panic attack
Panic attacks related to camping are quite common in children. Children project their discomfort and fear in the most intense way possible. Do not escalate the problem by mirroring the child’s fears. Try being compassionate instead. Calm the child down by speaking to him/her in a positive manner. Get the child away from all of the chaos. Loud and screeching should be avoided. You can take children to parks and gardens. Make them sit on grass while you’re talking to them.
Here are the steps you can follow:
The first thing you need to do is: stay calm yourself. In this way, you will be able to address the situation in a much better way. The idea is to make the child comfortable. This can only be achieved when you are calm and collected. First and foremost, listen to the child. Listen to what he has to say. Do not bombard him with conclusions.
Acknowledge the problem:
More often than not, children get this feeling that adults aren’t listening to them. There are times when a child feels that his situation is not being taken seriously by adults. These are the times when you need to hold the child together that you are there for him/her.
Counselling can help lighten the burden. It can be immensely helpful whilst dealing with emotional turmoil. Camping is no child’s play. It is absolutely fine to speak up. You are bound to feel better when you open up your heart in front of others.
“It is absolutely fine to speak up. It is absolutely fine to say I am not okay.”