Coping with COVID

I’ve been blown away by the efforts of different groups to coordinate FaceTime and Zoom calls across time zones and find ways to play interactive games remotely.

I have also been touched by the uplifting tones of messages being shared across social media, and know how meaningful it is for members of your camp communities to be hearing your voices right now.

Maintaining daily structure and consistency is of course quite important as well. In addition to benefiting children, it can also help us feel more work-life balance and separation, even if that work is occurring in the home.

In terms of staying active, I don’t imagine I need to work too hard to sell the importance of that to a readership of camp people.  I’ve personally leaned into a challenge among my friends to see who can clock the most steps every day, and am finding myself feeling appreciative of being able to get outside as often as possible.

But the piece that is sometimes being overlooked within these helpful outlines is acknowledging the tremendous stress that surrounds all of this, and how this is manifesting in our individual lives.

We of course know the depths of hardship that many are facing right now, which has felt to me like it has sometimes contributed to people feeling disenfranchised in talking about their own disappointments or fears. This can be particularly challenging when we are in a role where others look to us for guidance and encouragement.

I often tell parents that they can’t take care of their children if they aren’t taking care of themselves, and that absolutely applies to each of you as well. For while I know your optimism is genuine, it can also be extremely draining to put on that face even under these extreme circumstances.

Sometime in your week, allow yourselves to take a step back from the planning, take a step back from the reassuring, and take some space for yourself.

We are all holding so much right now, it is essential that you too find a place that you can let your feelings out.

Call a colleague you trust, find a quiet moment with your partner, or listen to “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and let yourself cry.

During these difficult days, as you find yourself being a source of support for others, you must also give yourself permission to receive support.

Community is at the core of the power of camp, and as the creators of those communities, you deserve to be held up as well. We’ve all sat around campfires on the final night of camp before, and we also always find our way back to the campfire again, but we don’t get there alone.

Dr. Dan Wolfson is a psychologist in private practice in New York City and the Clinical Director for the Mid-Atlantic region of Experience Camps, a non-profit organization running one week overnight camps for grieving children throughout the country.

This article was originally posted by AMSkier.