Given that over 40 million adults report suffering from some form of anxiety, major changes to your home life are sure to trigger that.
When children go off to summer camp, they upset the normal balance of your home and could cause you to worry about them. If you’re having trouble figuring out how you’ll be coping with anxiety during this period, a few tactics might help you out.
Here are 7 ways you can deal with your anxiety during the summer when kids are out of the house.
1. Set up a Regular Check-In Time
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you alleviate the anxiety you’ll feel while your kids are away at camp is to set up a regular time to check in with them.
Most camps designate a certain number of calls that kids can make during their stay at camp. They want kids to feel engaged and connected to the camp but don’t want to completely alienate them from family.
Figure out what the rules are and set aside time to check in. Plan ahead by getting to know what your child’s activity schedule will be during camp so you can talk about what they did during that day. Tell them what’s going on back home and you’ll both feel more relaxed.
2. Find Staff to Talk To
If you’re anxious about how your child is doing at camp, you could always speak with the staff at the camp. There are often administrators or head counselors whose responsibility it is to talk to parents.
So long as you’re just checking in, staff will be happy to speak with you. It’s nice to get a positive call now and then rather than just calls when parents are upset.
They can keep a special eye on your child and let you know about specific behaviors. If you’re anxious that your child might struggle to make friends, you can get regular and objective updates when you call the staff member. Be congenial and appreciative and you’ll find they return the sentiment.
3. Connect with Other Campers’ Parents
The parents of other campers are sure to share some of your anxiety. Perhaps there’s a Facebook group or a message board where you can all connect. Raise the possibility with staff and perhaps they can set it up and moderate it for you.
Contact parents via email or text and see if they don’t mind talking about their own anxieties. They may have had experience with those feelings in the past or could be dealing with them now. Having the chance to commiserate with another parent could be valuable.
Your camp should be able to find an organic way to set this kind of interaction up for you.
4. Learn About the Area in Advance
Get to know the area around the camp if you’re feeling anxious. Perhaps your child has never been out in nature or has had a bad experience before. You can get an idea of the likelihood your child could encounter any negative nature experience.
Learn about the history of the area and how it’s developed over time. You might find that you want to stay an extra day during pickup, drop off, or the visitation weekend.
If you can find your own way to connect with the area, you’ll feel more relaxed about the time your child is spending there.
5. Find Your Own Activities
This is a great opportunity to take up an activity you’ve been putting off for a while. With kids out of the house, you can finally pick up that beer brewing, home repair, or another project you’ve been thinking about.
If you’ve been neglecting some of your favorite hobbies to spend time with kids, you should see this as a time to get back into them.
Kids take up a lot of time, money, and energy. With them at camp for a little while, you can dive back into something that went unfinished. If you’ve got a craft or an art form that you love, this is the time to get back into it.
If you’ve always wished you had the time to try out birdwatching, take a wine tasting course, or start a band, why not seize the day?
6. Catch up with Friends
One of the most unfortunate side effects of having kids is that old friendships often fall by the wayside. The time you used to spend going out for drinks, visiting museums, or seeing concerts had to be cut short to raise your kids. With this extra time, you can get back into some of those activities.
While having a child has been shown to correlate with gray matter loss, it’s unclear exactly how this works. One function is that you could potentially lose your will or ability to communicate with other adults.
Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you stay connected with close friends while kids are at camp.
7. Save a Big Project for the Summer
If you’re worried about how to deal with anxiety while kids are at summer camp, why not dive into work? If you love your job, you might find that it’s a welcome distraction to take on a big project you’ve been putting off.
If your supervisor is thinking about a big product launch or a major deployment, tell them you expect to have more bandwidth while your child is at summer camp. If you can put it off until the summer, you can dive into it wholeheartedly and without guilt.
Coping with Anxiety Takes Planning
If you’re worried about coping with anxiety, you have to first come up with a schedule of how you plan to avoid it. Replacing the time you’d spend dealing with kids with another activity could be just the antidote.
Whether you devote the time to other loved ones or a beloved pursuit, you won’t go wrong so long as you have something positive to focus on.
If you’re still feeling anxious, why not think about all the benefits of sending your child to summer camp?