On “Camp Time”
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I had a client once that was in a small town in central Alaska. I asked him “How do you do this? How do you tell the kids it’s time to come in for the night or sleep when it’s bright out? And at other times of year you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner when it’s dark?”
I am an up-with-the –sun, chill out at dusk kind of girl, so the disorientation of having such irregular light and dark patterns would drive me nuts!
His answer was “We live on camp time.”
“We wake when we’re done sleeping, eat when we’re hungry, play when we can. Just like you do when you go camping with your family for a week.”
That made sense to me, since that is exactly how it is when we go a way for the blissful experience of nothing-we-have-to-do, only-what-we-want-to-do week of communing with nature.
Years later, while learning how to take control of my health and wellness on Spark, I realize that better control means living a little more loosely, a lot like “Camp Time.”
No one would walk around sleep deprived if we woke when we were ‘done sleeping’ rather than being jolted by the shrill of an alarm clock. Instead of skipping breakfast to rush out the door, eating just because the clock says noon, or grazing constantly because sugar slumps are messing with our energy levels, we respected our bodies enough to listen to real hunger signals and fed ourselves at intervals that work within our activity schedule.
Admit it, how wonderful would it be to go for a walk at midnight, because we cannot shake the stress of the day? Sure beats staring at the ceiling, examining the various shades of gray that fill the room! And what kid wouldn’t love to be playing hide and seek or softball outside at ten at night?
Then, as you feel your energy wane and your eyes get droopy, you fall into bed. Not because it’s 10:30 and you need to be up at 5, or because Conan just signed off, but because the rhythm of your body said the time was right.
When I think of days spent camping, I couldn’t tell you if the sun rose at 5 or at 8, lunch might have been at noon (though not intentionally) or at three when we walked back from the lake, because we all felt like we got too much sun. Sometimes everyone joined in on a game of volleyball well after supper, sometimes the children played, while the adults sat around the campfire, sometimes they were so tired they were well into dreamland hours before a fire was lit, or sometimes, an adult volunteered to tuck the kids in, mostly because they were worn out and wanted the 'excuse' to lie down.
One thing is certain, I ALWAYS came home from camp feeling healthier!
They are onto something up in the middle-of-nowhere Alaska- CAMP TIME- it might just drive you to feeling well.