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Post-Festival Self-Care: The Blues, The Blahs, And How To Stop ‘Em

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of Dance Music Northwest or its leadership.

THERE IT IS! Best summer ever right? Summer 2017 was full of some of the most beautiful memories, unbelievable festivals, amazing performances, and for some, an incredible strain on their mental state. Festival season is all well and good, but for those of us with different cognitive states, it can create a mental strain that can last well into the fall.

For those who don’t socialize often, it’s a lot of extroversion that we’re not quite used too. Lack of sleep, proper food, and substance use can combine into a cocktail that can make your autumn even darker than it usually is.

So, in the vein of my previous article on mental health, I would like to give ya my tips and tricks, as a neurodivergent human, to help crush those blahs. These tips are of course good for anyone, either with mental illness or not. I am not touting any of this as fact, but simply hoping there is at least one more person out there who copes like me and I can help them in that journey!

1. Decompress!

Don’t jump head first back into real life, or else you’ll get a culture shock! No seriously, it sounds like a joke, but the environment is entirely different at festivals. You experience emotions not generally felt, a sense of liberation you just don’t find at home, and so much more. At times, going back to the real world can be super taxing, especially for ND folks.

I know some people have time constraints when coming back from festivals, be it real life responsibilities like work or kids, or even just the need to get home, but I strongly urge that you take some time before heading back into society. Find yourself a hot spring or some sort of body of water, and soak the festival out of you.

Over the last 3-5 days you probably amassed pounds of dust, glitter, smoke, and who knows what else deep within your pores, lungs, and nasal passages, so get that all cleared out. Guaranteed you’ll feel about a million times better. If you’re on the west coast, Ainsworth is the hot spring of choice post Shambhala. Harrison Hot Springs is also a widely known and loved place, especially for post festival relaxation.

Next, find yourself a hotel. If you weren’t tired before, you will be after a soak. Trying to drive home right now would just be irresponsible. Go, rent a hotel, or find a campground closeby (hey, you’re already all packed up!), and just chill. Search for food, hop into bed, and start swapping stories with your adventure partners. That’s the best part anyways! I guarantee that you will have a much more enjoyable drive home after sleep, a hot shower, a hot meal, and some chill time. Society sucks anyways, and your body will thank you for an extra day of rest.

BIG NOTE. Maybe don’t listen to electronic music, if you can help it. I know it’s probably pretty tempting to relive the festival, but your body needs the switch. Try making some playlists before the festival with some trip hop, ambient, classic rock, and old school funk. It’s the perfect mixture to head back to the real world.

2. Hit the Health Train When You Get Home!

There’s no need to go full balls to the wall health nut, but after depleting your body of nutrients and being a little rough on it, be sure to give it some TLC whenever needed. Fruits, veggies, vitamins and lots of sleep,  and ensure not to strain yourself too much. A dance party may seem like it’s gonna be the best idea to shake those blues, but be nice to your poor limbs, they’ve been through a lot!

Personally, I feel creatively charged whenever I get home from that festi life, so cooking helps me release some of that. Some of my best meals have taken place after festival season; sometimes the energy just flows! Just keep safe and happy!

3. Don’t Be Alone!

You have just spent 5 days surrounded by happy, smiling, vivacious humans who had nothing but love, hugs, and alcohol to share with you. You spent your week in paradise in the midst of the most shiny, sparkly people you can find, and now you’re home.

Hugging strangers is usually met with derision and not happiness, so have a festival tribe near ya for those moments when you’re feeling down. It’s a pretty big shock to go back to a place where an abundance of love isn’t waiting for you around every corner, so make sure to keep your fellow sparkly people near ya to give you that boost you’re missing!

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