This month, I wanted to format my blog as a letter to pay homage to a skill I honed over the course of many summers at Clearwater Camp for Girls, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. Typing this letter on my computer in my parents’ city apartment is a far cry from lounging in my bunk during rest hour, scribbling on my pink stationary, detailing the day’s successes in a letter home. I can picture the rustic cabin plastered with Jonas Brothers posters and glow-in-the-dark stars—what I would give to be there now.
As we round out another week in quarantine, I find myself longing for afternoons spent outside with summer friends. My time as a camper and summers as a counselor are over, but I am still dreaming of waterskiing on Lake Tomahawk and riding my favorite ponies on Clearwater’s trails. As I reminisce about camp, against the backdrop of this global pandemic, I am reminded of the importance of self-care.
“Self-care” has become a buzzword over the past couple of years, but what does it really mean?Self-care is any action taken to maintain your physical or mental health. Examples of self-care are endless: baking scones, reorganizing your closet, napping, watching Titanic, calling your mom, turning off your phone, painting, and the list goes on. People often confuse self-care with over-indulgence and selfishness, but it’s really about identifying what makes you happy and healthy. From childhood to early adulthood, my days at camp served as the ultimate self-care retreat: days spent in nature, unplugged from technology, doing activities I love with people I love.
Now, unable to escape to the North Woods or reunite with my summer sisters, I am left fantasizing about carefree days from the discomfort of my own home. Or am I?
I might not be able to flee the stress and anxiety of Coronavirus by hightailing it up to Minocqua, but I can still relive some of my favorite camp memories at home. As a camper, one of my favorite evening activities was spa night with my cabin. Spa night might sound luxurious, but, remember, this camp is rustic. We relied on two ingredients that came straight from the kitchen: eggs and oatmeal. Counselors promised us that washing our hair with egg would make our hair shiny and smearing oatmeal on our faces would give us smooth and glowing skin.
As it turns out, oatmeal face masks and egg hair masks are tried-and-true DIY methods for calming the skin and achieving shiny hair. While I don’t think I’d enjoy washing my hair with eggs as much now as I did when I was ten years old, I’ll admit that I was excited about lathering my face with oatmeal and taking a hot bath. So, last week, I combined my renewed commitment to self-care with my everlasting love of camp and made my own oatmeal face mask.
I did some research before mixing up my mask and found that adding different ingredients to your oatmeal will allow you to achieve specific results. I added some apple cider vinegar to my mask for exfoliation, but thepossibilities are seemingly limitless. You’ll be surprised by how many items in your pantry can actually brighten and benefit your skin.
This is not only a fun self-care activity to do on your own, but it’s also the perfect, Clearwater-Camp-approved activity to occupy your children. So, turn off the news and put some oatmeal on your face. Take time to prioritize yourself or spend time with your kids or significant other. You’ll feel better, I promise. We’re in this together.
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