Music and Mood

Camp was full of singing. From silly cafeteria songs and dance parties to evenings singing Stand By Me with arms around each other or worship sessions that moved me to tears, my camp experience is highlighted by the songs I sang. For me, both student council camp and church camp helped mold me with music.

STUCO camp taught me to laugh, relax, and hold on to the people I love. The days were full of silly songs and sing-alongs and the evenings with dance parties or group singing with everyone’s arm around the next person. This helped me to learn to let go, have fun, and do it with total strangers who become best friends.

Church camp was also full of dance parties and silly songs in the cafeteria. But the evenings were filled with incredible worship sessions that brought up emotions you never realized were there. Worship caused some reflection, which helped me grow. Doing it with some of my best friends by my side made for growth in incredible relationships as well.

I still love to use music to amp up my mood or put me in a state for reflection. My Spotify account is one thing I could not live without. I currently have 32 playlists on my account, a number almost to be ashamed of. I have put hours and hours into creating playlists for every stage of life and every mood swing. From Latin pop to classical cello concertos, my playlists keep me going.

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My Happy Heart playlist is probably the most listened to playlist on my Spotify. This is what I listen to when I’m in a good mood, or need to get in a good mood. It’s full of a type of Indie-bluegrass-pop that reminds me of sunny days and people I love.

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For Adventuring is absolutely for what its title says. I put this on when I’m heading out to the trails or taking a long drive. It’s light and airy alternative music that makes me want to hop on a boat or in a van and just go until I can’t anymore. It also makes killer study music when I need something light to focus with.

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This playlist is for days where I’m just not feeling upbeat. It’s ballad type alternative pieces that you might hear in a coffee-house. The mood of the playlist matches my mood when I just haven’t had a good day. I also frequently study to this one because it brings a sense of peace.

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This is absolutely one of my favorite playlists. It is full of Christian worship music that is “off the beaten path.” Hipster Christianity is a real thing, and this playlist embodies it (I have a separate mainstream Christian music playlist). This music is peace and hope in busy world. It helps me slow down and focus while also finding joy in The Lord.

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Here is my reflection playlist. This is what I put on while I do my quiet time. It brings me right back to the middle of worship at church camp and the moments I grew.

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Collaborative playlists are my favorite. I share this one with my sister and we both add new songs we love. It’s a way to share something with her when I am far away. I play it when I miss her or when I need a fun random mix to listen to.

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I also love Spotify because I can see what people I love are listening to. It lets me see what moods they’re in and also discover new music for my playlists. It’s a great way to get to know someone in a different way.

I use Spotify playlists to walk me through life. Camp taught me that there is music for the highs and the lows. Music can put you in different moods and bring different thoughts of reflection. I aim to keep that in my life daily.

Here’s my current favorite song:

 

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Journaling My Way to Peace

One of my favorite habits camp helped me to develop is journaling. Camp always encourages a time of reflection, and writing down thoughts is the best way to do this. I love being able to look back at reflections/journals from past years of camp and see how I have grown and changed as a person. A few years ago I decided to take journaling beyond camp. I started journaling a few days a week with reflections of the day and things that were on my mind. It became a great way to get some things out that I tended to bottle up. It also helped me remember the things I was celebrating that day and defining moments of growth. It also forces me to reflect rather than moving on and forgetting, which sometimes it what triggers growth.

Buying new journals is my guilty pleasure. The empty pages just scream to be filled with life and memories. It’s a very uncomplicated way to document a life. I am currently working out of three journals. I have one that I write about the things I mentioned above in and one where I journal a type of notes from sermons at my church and campus ministry. My newest endeavor is my absolute favorite journal.

Bullet journaling is the busy person’s best friend. There are some incredible blogs about bullet journaling (Tiny Ray of Sunshine, Boho Berry and Pretty Prints and Paper are my favorites right now). The goal is to encourage mindfulness and reflection while staying organized. It’s a place to keep goals, gratitude, and memories while also keeping track of lists, schedules, and habits.

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I just started my first bullet journal at the beginning of the month and I am already in love. I tend to scribble things different places and lose track of things, but also keep meticulous lists of things I need to get done. Bullet journaling has helped me have fewer stresses in my day and reflect on how well I’m doing at getting tasks done. It is healing my terrible procrastination. It also helps me see where I have time in the day to fit in tasks I don’t have scheduled in yet, which is something I was terrible at. I am not using my bullet journal as thoroughly as some people do. Yet. I am excited to see how it changes with me through the year. So, here is a look inside:

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My bullet journal of choice is the Leuchtturm1917 medium dot grid journal.The grid allows me to set it up however I like but also keep it organized. At the front there is a table of contents so I can easily find what I need. All of the pages are numbered, which makes that even easier. There are two bookmarks, so I keep those on the current month and the current day.

The beginning of any good bullet journal starts with pages for the year. Above is the first set of pages in mine. I have the calendar for each month drawn out. I have the first half of 2016 filled in with events and holidays and add to it as my schedule fills up. These are big events mainly, like concerts and trips. I also have a 2016 bucket list following December where I list fun things I want to do this year.

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Next are my “Level 10 Life” and “Level 10 Goals” pages. Boho Berry explains this well and I made mine look a lot like hers. Basically, I have rated where I think I am on a scale of 1-10 in each of the areas in my life on the “Level 10 Life” page. On the “Level 10 Goals” page I write goals for each category that will help me work towards reaching a perfect 10. This was an interesting point of reflection. I am sure it will be even more interesting when I look at it when the year comes to a close and see how far I have come, or if I moved backwards in any area.

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The next page contains a “bookshelf” of things I want to read this year. So far I only have books listed that are already on my shelf waiting to be read. I will color them in as I go (you can see one is already colored halfway as I work on it). The page next to it has my 2016 goals. I stress easily, so they are mainly goals to find more joy in my life daily and stress a whole lot less. It’s a good grounding reminder when I am having a bad day.

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Finally, the month by month pages begin. I have a fun little heading for the month of March with a few little goals under it (check off blog at least once). Then I have a place to list memories from the month. I have the Rend Collective concert I attended with my sister on there right now. It’s a place I can go back and smile at later in the year.

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My March calendar is where I keep a more detailed version of the calendar at the front. I have more meetings and appointments listed here as well as sorority events. I refer to this daily so I don’t miss anything as I plan each day. Next to the calendar is my habit tracker.

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This is a fun way to keep track of things I do daily. I like to keep track of my sleep schedule, hydration, medication, and exercise here. These are things I aim to do most days. I also keep track of things I do randomly just to see how often I do them. It is a really cool way to evaluate how I spend my time. March has been busy, so a lot of things haven’t been on the top of my list.

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The next two pages are dedicated to gratitude. I find it very important to find things I am thankful for in each day, so here I list just that. It makes me realize there is no purely bad day. Some days it’s hard to find things, but the reflection helps pull me out of bad moods.

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I also keep track of wins and lessons learned for each week. This is just another reflection method I have to evaluate my weeks and where I need to work on things to take on the next.

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Finally, I have a list where I keep track of things I am waiting to receive. Right now I just have packages listed, but I hope to expand it to keep track of phone calls and emails I am waiting on to be returned. That’s it for the beginning of the month. After that, my day to day planning begins.

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I love doodling and hand lettering, so I love doing this daily. I have a time tracker at the top which is color coded with things I have scheduled for the day. Sleep, meals, class, and extracurriculars make up most of it. It shows me where I have free time. The list below shows tasks I need to fit into that free time. Circles denote events and appointments and dots are tasks. I check them off as I complete them, or turn it into an arrow to push it to the next day. I also have the weather listed for fun. So far, this set up is really working for me.

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Sitting down at the end of each day and planning out the next has been extremely beneficial to me. It lets me refocus and recenter myself to take on what comes next. It is also a huge motivator to get things done. I look forward to seeing how my entries change month by month and to see what types of pages I add. There are so many fun ideas on Pinterest and blogs that I hope to work in once I get the main journaling goals down. This is the ultimate stress relief technique for me, and I plan to update the blog as it grows and changes with me.

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Basis for Blogging

I want to start off by explaining the name for my blog. Life is Like Camp is kind of a metaphor for how I like to view life. I live my life summer camp to summer camp and all the time in between is filled with thoughts of returning. I have been a camp kid since elementary school, and I still return as a college kid to be a counselor. What I have learned from all the years of camp is that the week or two away really grows you as a person. So, why shouldn’t every day be like that?

At camp, you spend a week unplugged from everything and everyone. My favorite camps were actually the ones where I wasn’t allowed to have any electronics with me. That gave me the opportunity to focus on me and relationships with fellow campers. I made some of my best friends in these environments. The time away is a time to grow. Whether it’s an adventure camp, a church camp, or even a student council leadership institute, the goal is to leave camp a different person. There are lessons taught and learned and time for reflection. The point of camp is really to leave with goals for yourself. Summed up: you recharge, learn about yourself, build meaningful relationships, set goals for the future, and have fun all the while.

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No, you can’t have the mountaintop experience of camp every day (this would be the kind of  motivated “high” you get from being away). But, since I like to think about camp all the time I tend to try and apply little habits of reflection and mindfulness throughout the year in order to continue growth. No one likes the valley that comes after the mountaintop experience.

I am a stress case. I have terrible anxiety and let little things ruin my day. I focus too hard on the small things and things that are out of my control. Thinking about camp and those memories tend to help me bring a little stress control and relaxation to my daily routine. So that’s what I intend to blog about. I want to share my stress coping habits and the things I reflect on. Kind of a look into my head and how I get through my day. I like to call them habits of mindfulness.

Through elementary school and part of middle school I would attend day camp near my house. These alway shad themes about books (like Harry Potter) or were solely for art and adventure. This camp taught me to love creativity and imagination. It fueled my love for literature and playing in the woods.

Starting in middle school I joined student council. For six years I attended the Missouri Association of Student Councils Summer Leadership Institute. It was a fancy name for a camp where we did team building on steroids, shared ideas with STUCO kids from across the state, and had a whole lot of fun. This grew me in my leadership skills and organization. It also taught me how to build excellent relationships, many of which I have been reunited with in college and get to continue growing.

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The camps that shaped me most were through my church. We called it Summerfest because it was a week of close friends, time on Lake of the Ozarks, crazy activities (picture epic food fights and tie-dye with the clothes already on your body), and a lot of time growing spiritually. These were the camps where I really reflected on myself and where I was at in life. It recharged me for the year and set goals for how I should continue growing. It was the kind of place that broke down all the walls I had put up and grew me from scratch again. I continue to go back as a leader and work with younger girls to do the same for them. I will be working at a Christian camp called Kanakuk for a month this summer. These camps taught me how to reflect, set goals, create clean habits for growth, and build meaningful relationships. They are largely why I am who I am today.

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So, that’s kind of a premise of the camps I went to and things I picked up from them. I have developed a lot of these lessons learned into habits I try and do regularly. Things like journaling, organization tools, quality time with friends, etc. I also learned to sit and reflect a lot because looking back is often how you move forward. So, those are the things I am going to share with you: my reflections and my habits I have to aim for growth.

Growth and reflection should be a daily thing, and this is why I like to think life is like camp.