Self-Care: 8 top tips for looking after yourself on summer camps & programmes

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. That's why the Movement Team is using the opportunity to share some advice to help chanichim, madrichim, rakazim and even medics thrive during their FZY Summer.

As a youth movement, our members are some of the boldest, brightest young people in the world. They are an inspiring collective, full of passion and laughter. During the summer, these incredible young people are bursting with energy: chanichim, madrichim, even rakazim! They are all non-stop chock-a-block, full of go-go-go enthusiasm! What's more, our programmes are so busy: when you only have a few weeks to enjoy, you jam it full of content...

A bundle of excitable teens in pink t-shirts
Some very enthusiastic chanichim (Tour 3, 2018)

But for everyone, from chanichim on Ofek right the way through to rakazim on Netina in Ghana, a youth-movement summer can also present some challenging moments. We find ourselves in new environments and surrounded by new people. With less 'me-time' than usual, summer with FZY has the incredible ability to energize and exhaust us at the same time!

So with our summer programmes just around the corner, we've spoken to a number of former participants at all levels, and we're happy to present our eight top tips for looking after yourself on summer camps & programmes!

# 1 - Breakfast, breakfast, breakfast

This might not be what you expected us to say, but one of the most important things to do in the summer is make sure that you come early for breakfast. Once the days get going, it's really tricky to find a quiet space again until free time, or until your Tour/camp has some down time before bed.

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but people forget how relaxing it can be. On Israel Tour, grab yourself a steaming hot lemon tea and a plate of fresh salads. It's so much better than arriving late and hurriedly eating a bureka before the coach has to leave!

And on that note, a snack from home can sometimes be all you need if you're in Ghana and missing your own bed.

# 2 - Leave the bubble once each day!

Okay. So you can't actually leave the bubble of Kesher UK or of Israel Tour. You live and breathe in that bubble, all day, every day. And sometimes, that can be a bit stressful for people.

Back in the good ole' days, nobody had mobile phones on summer programmes. Today, it's not quite like that. But one of the amazing advantages of the 21st century is that you're never too far from your friends and family. If you can find a few minutes each day to check in with a friend or sibling from outside of camp, it's a nice refreshing moment to remember that there's a whole world out there!

# 3 - Sleep

This one seems so obvious that it shouldn't really even be considered self-care. But it's definitely worth repeating: sleep, sleep & sleep.

We know that the days are busy and that it's important to wind down in the evenings. Every year, some chanichim take this too far, though. They sit up all night whispering and chatting. We love that people make such amazing friends on our summer programmes, but it's important to shut your eyes and let your body catch up with itself. One Harvard study even found that sleeping more helps us avoid dehydration! Talk about self care!

# 4 - Get into the Shabbatmosphere

Anyone who has ever been on an FZY programme, will know that Shabbat is always a highlight. With its rowdy ruach and its shiny white tablecloths, Shabbat is a chance to pause time and check in with ourselves.