Off season “camping is therapy” ideas

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by MaeKay, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Pardon the emotional TMI, but as I was talking to my therapist we realized that I have been happier lately because we have been camping so much and outside at the dog park. She pointed out that I have been doing the things that have the biggest impact on my mental health. For me, outside time is everything.

    However, I live in Northern Utah. From November to March it’s almost impossible to spend time outside. I used to go for walks in the snow when I had one kid (I could wear him). But now that I have a 4 and 6 year old (and the 4 year old hates walking and cold but is too big to wear) I don’t get out in the winter.

    What are some winter solutions to getting the healing benefits of camping?
     
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Camp in your living room. Turn of the lights, set out a couple lanterns, bring the sleeping bags out, light a fire in the fireplace and cook hotdogs on a stick, etc. Act like your out in the pup in the woods - ignore all the technology, etc.

    Go to natural science museums. Press flowers and leaves. Test out new camping recipes.
     
  3. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    We go winter camping and of course skiing* here.
    *only XCing.
     
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  4. Jean-Paul

    Jean-Paul New Member

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    Leave the house doors unlocked and open for that extra sense of reality. :)
     
  5. Jean-Paul

    Jean-Paul New Member

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    S
    skiing. My 4 yeAr old and 10 yeR old can ski .. it took 4-5 days but everyone is now comfortable on the hill. And we love it
     
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  6. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    I don’t know if there is a physical limitation to you getting around in winter but we live in northern Wyoming and spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter. I do a lot of snowshoeing. If the kids are dressed for it there’s no reason to be cooped up all winter. It’s six or seven months long up here. I’d climb the walls indooors.
     
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  7. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    We used to go out until about 2 years ago. Then it became too much to hike with 35 pounds in the snow. My daughter hates being outside but she was too young for me to feel comfortable foisting her on another mom friend routinely. But I think I’m talking this through I can now leave her with her friend and take the 6 year old and the dog and go for winter walks. I agree, snow and cold is not an excuse. A screaming child who refuses to move is a hindrance. It’s just not her thing.
     
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  8. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Sadly we don’t have any natural science museums nearby. And limited funds. But I like the idea of testing new camping recipes during the winter!
     
  9. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Now that we have a travel trailer we can camp in more seasons so I’m hoping we can head south often (stupid school...I’ll try to have us packed so we can leave as soon as he gets home from school). That is, as long as we can get the trailer dug out of the snow where it’s parked.
     
  10. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    We can’t afford skiing. We spent all our money on the trailer. [LOL]

    And I do have health issues sometimes so just sitting in nature outside the trailer, away from all the regular stressors is nice.

    Too bad, too, because we live near some of the best skiing in the US I’m told.
     
  11. campfire Joe

    campfire Joe Active Member

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    What's surprising is that your Therapist didn't mention that she gets that cooped up feeling in the cold months too. We get it up here in Upstate NY late in the winter. We just try and get out we we can. Hopefully not when it's 25 below!
     
  12. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    For me, I work on camper related projects. I make fire starters out of old candles, and toilet paper tubes, and dryer lint. If it gets real bad I open up the outside grill and cook up some camp related food. One fairly mild winter day, still freezing, but i sat around my fire pit. Bundled up and if you have a tarp or other reflective material around your shoulders it will help reflect the heat to your back. If you have a fireplace in your house then push your furnature to the walls turn off all your lights and pull out the camp chairs or have a picnic right on the floor. It's all about the illusion. Use your other senses to trick your mind your somewhere else. One winter there was one day it was in the upper 30'. I pulled out my tent had the fire pit going and the water fountain running. Grant you it all got put back just before bed, but just that few hours gave me the boost I needed. I was able to imagine I was camping near a stream with a crackling fire. Campfire hotdogs, or s'mores. I found an app on my phone that plays campfire sounds, wind, water, etc. So just before bed I turn off the lights, close my eyes, and use my imagination.
     
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  13. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    She probably does but she likes to focus on me, because it’s my hour. (That’s what she said, she doesn’t like to share about herself unless it’s really applicable to illustrate a point) She was just helping me see that outside time was really important to me. As moms we tend to lose sight of what is important to us.
     
  14. campfire Joe

    campfire Joe Active Member

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    Yep no way i could be a therapist. i'd end talking too much about myself. And i'm not even that interesting.:sad:
     
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  15. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    Go skiing and you feel better. (cross country) Go camping and you feel better. Go for a hike with your dog and you feel better. What's the pattern here? [:D]
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  16. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Exactly. I believe that mental health is comprised of 4 components: 1) Medicine (yes, I take some) 2) Talk Therapy 3) EXERCISE! 4) Diet (I cut out caffeine and most over the counter meds)
     
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  17. hq308

    hq308 Active Member

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    I doesn't snow where I live but if it did I'd want to take the kids outside and help them make a snowman or find a small hill and go sledding.
     
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  18. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    When our kids were growing up, we did the living room camping all time in the winter. We had a huge tent that took up the entire room, but we all loved it. We read books together and played games in the tent, and slept on air mattresses more times than I can even remember.

    We never did any winter camping. We were tent campers and everything was closed after Labor Day, with the exception of ski resorts.

    Obviously, we played in the snow, and sledded, when there was snow. Same as anyone else that lives in snow country. It was the icy cold dry part of the long winters that we often had to find more fun indoor activities.

    We even made s'mores over sterno kept the lights off, using only flashlights during our "camping trips."

    I think many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I was on mood meds all my adult life, until we moved to Florida. Even when we're not doing anything, the everyday sunshine is enough to keep me feeling good.

    Even here, one of my daughters does the indoor tent camping thing with her kids when the power goes out. One of my grandsons is afraid of storms, so they make a fun time of it.
     
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  19. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

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    Camp Driveway. Nothing like s'mores to perk up a 4 year old.
     
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  20. Bigantlers

    Bigantlers Member

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    My quick answer is you gotta want it! But I too have several kids with differing opinions. I tried a hike with my youngest three and ended up hoisting my daughter onto my shoulder as we trudged back to the van, all the while her wailing could be heard along the trail. Got a few sideways glances. Better luck next time.

    What is hard is figuring out how to get both kids invested in the adventure. Maybe sweeten the incentive with letting them pick out a treat as a reward that they can eat while out? Something to make them see the point of being out there in the cold.

    What about getting a sled you can pull the two in if you are able? 20-30 minutes outside might get you and the kids, what you need. And a sled might bypass the tantrum, especially if you can make it a trip to the playground.

    Also, the parks in my areas have little shelters with fireplaces and a picnic table as well as other public fire rings that they keep stocked with firewood. The public is welcome to start a fire, hang out and warm up. Anything like that available in your neck of the woods.
     
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