Nerd conventions are definitely not like Vegas. What happens at con does not stay at con. You’ll come home with eternal desire to sleep, con crud, intense game of catch up, and Post Con Depression.
I’ve been going to Dragon Con for 5 years now, and I only came back energized with no illness in sight once. Here are some ways I successfully recovered after a con.
Schedule Long Post-Con Nap
Duh, that’s obvious. Getting sleep at a con can be such a challenge. I have never had a con where I got more than a total of 8 hours of sleep for the whole weekend. There is an art to post-con napping actually. It’s the same technique as when you get jet lag. Your body will try to make up for the hours you missed out on.
So take in account your usual sleep schedule, what type of sleeper you are, and your schedule for the next day. For me, I usually try to stay up long enough that, if I slept for 9+ hours, I wouldn’t be waking up at 1 am feeling energized (which is rare). The wait for a nap can be hard, but worth it when you don’t have the afternoon crash in the morning that stays with you the rest of the day.
Hydrate and Vitamins!
Con crud is the common plague of any con. It usually happens because of the intense exposure too many people with germy hands, lack of sleep, and possibly bad changes in diet (more alcohol and eating out than usual). For pre-con prep, you should always drink a lot of water before hand, and make sure to stay on top of your vitamins and allergy medicine.
For post-con prep, it is pretty much the same. Get rest, drink lots of water and try to detox your system. I always recommend drinking hot green tea/throat coat tea (if you like the taste of licorice you’ll love this tea. Personally I hate it but it does wonders as a singer.), with a little lemon and honey. Because not only do people tend to get sick after cons but they also tend to lose their voices.
People will tell you it’s a myth that drinking Emergen-c packets will help you. Well It’s your daily dose of vitamin C and electrolytes, so I can say it’s helped me plenty times. It’s only counterproductive to drink more than one pack per day, unless you’re drinking ALOT of water. Since vitamin C is a water salable vitamin, you can take more than the 1,000 mg dosage, just as long as you’re drinking a ton of water.
Work flow catch up
This is something I’m going to have to deal with big time this year. Smart people will try to overwork to make sure they are well prepared when they get back from con. Smart and lucky people will do that, and find a way to take the next day after con off. I am neither of those.
If you’re like me, do not make yourself overwhelmed. Try to make small to-do lists. Figure out the top priority work things to be taken care of. It’s going to be hard trying to make up work while trying to be in a sleep coma, believe me I know. You might have to get that caffeine fix, whether it’s too many shots of espresso or 5 hour energy. Not only that, you might have to just completely forget you were at a con for the weekend. That can be hard when all you want to do is reflect on awesome things, or you’re stuck with con depression. Which leads me to my next tip.
Post-Con Depression. It’s very real. All you’re going to want to do is check out of reality for a bit, and try to relive the weekend, possibly eat tubs of Ben ‘n Jerry’s, and do the most unproductive things. In these moments you almost have to stop thinking “back to reality I go!” Instead of thinking it’s some nerdy homeland where you’re constantly getting homesick, find ways to make it a part of your reality.
Yeah you got to go to work, and do adult things, but decorate your office with your new celeb autographs and selfies. Showcase your new vendor hall steals. Go ahead and start planning next year’s possible cosplays. You don’t have to be full on nerd only once a year. Try and find your local nerdy friends, or even discover nerdy coworkers, and just plan game nights, or hang out time. Bring your nerd home into things and make it part of your reality. It’s like moving into a new place, and making it yours.
For an introverted extrovert, I can get extremely drained from big crowds or any social situations honestly. So almost being social with 50,000-70,000 people can be overkill for anyone. Especially if you’re someone who does more alone time than friend time. You’ll need some social decompression.
It’s totally ok to not talk to your con roommates and friends for the day, or even for a few days. Come home, and just don’t talk to anyone except to let people know you got home safe and had a great experience. You might want to talk about every thing you experienced to someone, but just let it all soak in for a day, and give yourself a social interaction rest.
I promise it will prevent unexpected grouchiness towards people during the week ahead. You know that type of grouchiness where the person could just be chewing their food or make a cough noise and you just have that odd thought of “Ugh could they be any more inconsiderate right now?” Take the time, whether you think you need it or not.
There have been multiple big cons going on this weekend, and I hope they have been wonderful in every way possible. Share and comment about some of your post-con remedies!