I just got back on the grid.
Over the weekend, I was at Camp Grounded, a four-day digital detox summer camp for adults. I first heard about Camp Grounded in summer 2015 through a friend’s Facebook post (slightly ironic but I guess they knew where to find us!).
In that short video, I learned that Camp Grounded has a few rules: no drugs or alcohol, no digital technology, no work talk, no time, no ages and no real names.
At that point in time, I had been growing my private practice for two years. Without realizing it, my life and my self had become synonymous with my career and my company. I could no longer tell where Laura ended and where Summerfield began. I was excited about the opportunity to disconnect from it all, strip away all the ways I identified myself, and find everything that was still left underneath.
While I did take this time to reconnect with myself, there were also a few surprising nuggets I took with me when I left camp.
Play is one of the most basic health behaviors. Some people say we stop playing because we get older, while others argue we grow older because we stop playing.
At camp, we literally play 24/7. We start off with a 400-person game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, and playtime culminates with “Color Wars” on the last day of camp. There are play shops, crafts and pick-up volleyball games. It is a wonderful opportunity to be creative and free.
Two New Friends
At camp two years ago, there was a beautiful moment when a majority of the campers were already at the fire circle. Two entered the circle with that panic in their eyes of a pair of middle-schoolers figuring out who they could sit with at lunch on the first day of school.
But that awkwardness subsided immediately (or got even more awkward, depending on how you look at it) when everyone started chanting “Two new friends! Two new friends!” and making room all around the amphitheater for these campers to be seated.
On the last day of camp, Fidget, the camp director, asked us to think about the kind of world it would be if, instead of keeping our earbuds in and our eyes down when someone new comes into the coffee shop or gets on our bus, we met their stare and welcomed them as one of us.
This is one of my favorite things about camp – we completely and deeply accept and love that we are all human. Of course, this means we will occasionally mess things up or do things wrong. In the default world, this can lead a lot of us to embarrassment and shame, especially if this happens in front of a huge group of people.
Not at camp.
When we mess up at camp, we say, “I’m awesome,” and move on. And the best part is, anyone who witnesses this yells back, “You’re awesome,” at you. Living in a space for four days with 400 humans who love your imperfections is priceless.
So, what does this have to do with health and corporate wellness and all the other things I have been talking about?
We believe in a model of health that includes the interconnection of physical, social, mental and emotional well-being. Think about how an environment that promotes creativity, inclusion and acceptance could help alleviate the depression and anxiety rampant in this world. And think about what we would all be capable of without these things holding us back.
How can you incorporate these principles into your life and your workplace? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Laura Greenhow is the founder of Summerfield Custom Wellness, a Wilmington-based nutrition firm counseling employees toward a shift in health-consciousness.She and her team facilitate programs wherein healthy choices begin to come automatically and are aligned with what the body needs.They see individuals and also work with companies ranging from five to 5,000 employees as they strive for a healthier workforce and a healthier Wilmington.Laura holds a master’s degree in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill, with clinical rotations that included New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Learn more at www.summerfieldcustomwellness.com or call (910) 663-5166.