Ah, another summer out at camp. The twinkle of stars on a clear night. The whistle of the wind in the trees. The splashing of campers jumping in the lake.
One thing you won’t be hearing, though: the gentle “plink” of Facebook notifications. Summer camp means digital detox!
Depending on how technology-dependant a camper or counselor is, that’s either great news or cause for concern. Well, don’t worry: even if you miss checking Instagram every five seconds, you’re bound to benefit from a little analog me-time. After all, countless studies have shown that constant social media and internet exposure can have negative effects on things like concentration, memory, and even basic happiness.
So here are a few tips for keeping sane without your phone in your pocket.
Keep a journal
Journaling is your number-one weapon in the fight against digital withdrawal, and people have been using journaling as a way of reflecting on their day long before Facebook’s “what’s on your mind” prompt or Twitter’s “What’s happening?”
Think of it as a Facebook update for your future self.
Write letters or postcards
We often seem to forget that email isn’t the only way to keep in touch. Finding a real-life piece of snail mail in the mailbox brings a smile to anyone’s day, and it doesn’t have to take long to do: just scrawl a quick doodle and a “miss you!” on a postcard and drop it in the camp mail. Done!
Tip: bring a stack of postcards pre-stamped and preaddressed with you to camp and you’re one step ahead of the game. All you have to do is write what’s on your mind and let it go; just like email!
Stay in the moment
Staying in the moment is easier said than done. Being able to “just check up on emails” anytime you don’t have something to do quickly turns phones into social crutches for a lot of people.
Camp offers you a chance to let that bad habit go — and when you can’t look at your phone during down time, you will find yourself making real connections with the people around you. Next time you want to share “what’s on your mind,” try sharing your thoughts with a person instead of your Facebook.
There’s a time and place for social media, but trust me; you’ll be surprised at what you find when you connect with the people around you first. All you have to do is say “hi!”