Happy summer, everyone!
Today, I wanted to write a blog post about my mental health experience from a few years back when I went camping and was forced to unplug from Wi-Fi and phones for a night.
This camping trip occurred a few years back, but I can recall that committing to unplugging from Wi-Fi and phones for a night was a daunting prospect. Initially, I felt a bit stressed that I might be “missing out” on something important. I also felt a bit uncomfortable at the thought of having to withstand boredom and spend time alone with my own thoughts. Looking back, I am not sure where this fear of boredom came from, but it seems to me that it is a commonality within our busy, productivity-driven society. I sometimes feel as if I constantly have to be doing things, engaging in some task and being productive. However, I found that once I was alone with my thoughts in the tent, immersed in the quiet of the night, I actually felt surprisingly calm. I did not feel lonely, empty, or sad, and had a chance for some deep personal reflection. More specifically, I felt a sense of solitude rather than loneliness. Moreover, I was able to take notice of little things around me, such as the wind whispering, rain hitting the tent (which unfortunately was angled in such a way that water ended up gushing inward, but that’s another story!), and night critters going about their business. In a sense, I felt as if a huge pressure on my shoulders had been lifted, and I now had an excuse to disengage from my obligations, put my worries aside, and just breathe and relax for a bit. It kind of felt like that moment when you submit an assignment and you get to close all of your disorganized Google Chrome tabs and PDF documents… or maybe that’s just me being messy with my university essays. Anyways, I remember how special it felt to pick up a leisure book rather than a phone before bed and read for a bit rather than set alarms and to-do lists for the next day. I also remember doodling in the early morning hours as the sun rose and reflecting on the sound of my mechanical pencil scratching on the piece of paper.
I remember feeling cold and uncomfortable, too, as water had seeped into our tent, but I remember feeling like this was okay, and just the way things were going to play out. After all, there wasn’t much to be done about this as there was no heating in the tent, so I just accepted this for “it is what it is” and tried to laugh and move on.
This was also a special moment for me to enjoy some quality time with my family. In my own family, we rarely have times when we are all together, spending time with each other. We tend to each engage in our own tasks within our own designated bubble in the house or at school, university, or work. I remember enjoying spending time with my dad and sister as we helped to build the tent (well, I mostly stood around feeling clueless), had dinner together, and talked and told stories around the fire.
Overall, I think that this experience served me as a bit of a mental health “reboot”. While it is now a part of daily life that we must constantly feel aware of what is going on, and technology helps us immensely with this and our efficiency and productivity, I think that taking a break from all of this, even for one night, really helped me calm down and recharge. The next day, I found that I was able to focus on and engage in my daily tasks in a much more relaxed and focused manner.
That being said, I hope that everyone reading this has a great summer, and gets to spend some quality time relaxing with their loved ones!
(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)
Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.