17 July 2015

As we find ourselves at summer's mid-way point, it is important to consider how we can effectively make it through the rest of the summer. Long days will begin to feel even longer. Tempers are high as patience begins to dwindle. The fun we used to have at the beginning of the summer feels more like a task. It is the feeling of being burnt out.

Here are 5 easy ways to prevent Camp Counselor burnout, in order to enjoy a successful end to summer.

1. Sleep Like a Baby...

Well, at least feel like you slept like a baby. Getting plenty of rest is the MOST important way to prevent burn out. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is easy to forget about our needs when our role requires us to consider the needs of hundreds of campers. Take care of yourself by sleeping, exercising and eating healthy foods, and you will me much more successful at caring for others.

2. Expect the Unexpected

Things at camp always change, often they are last minute changes. This can be very frustrating, especially when you organized your day to go one way and then it completely gets turned upside down. Expect that things are going to change, so it becomes less of a surprise and you are better focused to readjust when those moments happen.

3. Keep a Sense of Humor

A good laugh can help relieve stress and muscle tension for up to 45 minutes. Laughing releases endorphins, which is the "feel good" chemical that triggers positive reactions in your body. Find the humor in the chaos, ask some campers to tell you a joke or share some of your own or just decide to smile something goes wrong.

4. Set Camper Expectations

Set boundaries and expectations for your campers. Often they will test you to see what they can get away with. Be firm and consistent on how you react to inappropriate behavior. With solid boundaries and realistic consequences, campers are less likely to test those boundaries and you will be a much happier counselor.

5. Reminder: You went to Camp for a Reason

In the moment you are feeling most stressed or down, remind yourself of why you wanted to be at camp in the first place. Maybe it was to be in the great outdoors, to make a difference, experience something new or be a role model for campers. Remind yourself that none of those things have changed, they can and are still happening. The only thing that has changed, is your perception. Take a moment, and a breath, to regain perspective and know that you are going to be just fine.