All I Ever Needed To Know About Resilience I Learned Camping!

All I Ever Needed To Know About Resilience!

Chiropractic Shelburne VT Happy Lady in the Mountains

This year of disruption from normal, we had to find vacation opportunities close to Burlington, so we turned to the wonderful selection of Vermont state parks. Now as the year turns and we head into the darker days, I am reminiscing about the warm summer days and my camping vacation and how healthy and resilient I feel when I camp.

Why is that? What is it about camping that creates that sense of robustness?

Although the place we go to is not far from us, we go for 10 days so we need to plan it out so we have what we need to really enjoy ourselves as our camping style sits somewhere between roughing it and glamping, which means packing up the car with coolers of food, suitcases of clothes, the tent and bins of gear with our bicycles on the back of the car and our kayaks on top. Then there are the games for the rainy days, the recliner chairs, ground chairs, and supportive upright chairs, the water rafts, lifejackets, water filters, solar battery chargers for our phones and laptops, books and handcraft work, and our most excellent blow up mattress with additional mattress pad topper as well as our ergonomically designed pillows to take the best care of our spines during our adventure.

I love the mental challenge of figuring out how we are going to fit everything we want to bring into the one vehicle and I have it down to a science. Most importantly the big pieces go in first, and then every nook and cranny is strategically stuffed with all the rest. If we did it in reverse there would be no room for the big bins and coolers that contain all our food and gear. It reminds me of the story of the science teacher conducting the physics experiment with his students about volume using big rocks, pebbles, sand and water. Watch this quick video where I demonstrate it.

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Although it seems like there is always room for a little bit more, the real lesson is that you must put the big rocks in first and this is true if you are struggling with low energy, fatigue or poor resilience. There are so many distractions and urgencies that take up our attention and resources that we then have little time or energy remaining for the important things that can build health and resilience.

Once we arrive we need to unpack it all and transport it to our campsite. And then we need to set up camp deciding the best place for the tent, the kitchen and the hammock in relation to the lean-to, picnic table, fire pit and access to the water. Then there is firewood to gather and stack and water to fetch. It is at these times that I am grateful for the power in my body to do these physical chores and the peaceful tone that mindful chopping of wood and carrying of water brings. The best way to build physical resilience is through moving your body like an ancestral human.

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Doing the 4-minute workout gets us panting and sweating but strength building is also important. You may use a Burlington area gym or CrossFit box in your regular life, but camping reminds me of how important weight training is and that there really is no excuse to not incorporate it into our daily lives. We don’t need to wait until we have our home gym set up to start. A couple of kettle bells work just fine and if you aren’t there yet, then some liter bottles of water or a couple of big rocks or logs can work. Look around and be creative but also be mindful with your technique so you are lifting properly and taking care of your spine.

I love spending the whole day outside in nature responding in the moment to drench myself in sun, soaking in the warmth and the free vitamin D. I love moving into the shade or splashing in the water to cool down, walking barefoot and sleeping on the ground. They all spark vitality because it is done without being surrounded by an electrical field. Being off the grid and away from screens takes an unseen and often disregarded background burden off of our bodies. There are ways we can apply this strategy in our homes, especially when we sleep. Check out this short video where I talk about best practices for reducing EMF/ wireless exposure in the home.

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Although I love seeing the sunrises over the lake, perhaps my favorite time of the day is in the evening, after supper and the glorious sunsets, when we sit around the campfire resting from the day of physically using our bodies.   Simply gazing into the flickering reds, oranges and yellows in the flames takes me into a dreamy state before crawling into our tents for a deep sleep. The colors of the sunset and fire actually trigger the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone while the bright light of day is in the blue range and this signals the brain to turn melatonin down. Deep restorative sleep is essential for building resilience.  Ask anyone who struggles with it, when you don’t get good sleep it is brutal in how it affects everything else. Check out this biohack where I show you how my family recreates a healthy end to our day all year long, for better sleep and greater resilience.

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Even here in Vermont, our modern world has been engineered to be so unnaturally stressful that it is perfectly designed to create chronic illness and energy depletion. Stress takes its toll on our bodies and health. The experience of mental stress creates tension in the body.  Sedentary living and poor posture coupled with worry, chaos, disorganization and deadlines leaves patterns of muscle tension and spasm. Chronic stress pulls vertebrae and other bones out of proper alignment causing vertebral subluxations. This can put pressure on the delicate nerves that exit from between the vertebrae that carry the vital messages from the brain to every tissue cell in the body.  Malfunctioning of the nervous system over time can result in:  nerve pain, tissue and organ malfunction (dis-ease), suppressed immune gland activity and ultimately our adaptability. If you want resilience then you need a healthy nervous system. If you want a healthy nervous system, then you need a healthy spine. Chiropractic adjustments correct the vertebral subluxations caused by the accumulation of stress.

Living in sync with the rhythms of nature while camping, allows me to decompress from the stresses of our modern world. Taking a break doesn’t mean we stop doing all the healthy wellness protocols we have installed in our regular busy life, it just means we need to be mindful about incorporating them into vacation time. Getting our spines checked and adjusted is one of those things that we just need to be creative with while camping. My portable adjusting table although useful in so many circumstances, just doesn’t fit into the car for our camping trips. We don’t let that stop us! We clear the picnic table and use that! Check out this video from a trip we did a few years ago.

Camping wisdom for building Resilience:

  1. Prioritize the big rocks in your life and schedule the minor things around that.
  2. Build physical resilience with weight training. No excuses.
  3. Reduce EMF exposure
  4. Get in tune with the natural light cycles of the day for better sleep.

Bring your chiropractor with you when you go camping! Make sure you have a chiropractor on your health care team to be the wellness expert who is always watching your spine and nervous system to maximize energy efficiency and adaptability, i.e. resilience!


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Wellspring Chiropractic Lifestyle Center
4076 Shelburne Road #5
Shelburne, VT 05482
(802) 985-9850