Hey guys, Kay with MCA Studios here, bringing you a topic that usually doesn’t get discussed in the lead up to conventions.
Post con depression (or post con blues).
I talk about this now, because I’ve just had a dose of it, and wanted to share how I got myself through it, but first a little back story.
Do you remember what it was like planning for the convention you’ve just attended? Remember how you planned for weeks, if not months. All the set-up and planning you did for printing, crafting, deliveries and whether or not you’d make sales? How we are all “go go go”, creating stress and anxiety, feeding off the boost we get from completing a task?
And so after the event, if we haven’t planned for it, we get the post con blues. We feel down, we miss our con family. We miss being around like minded people and getting that inside praise when someone buys our stuff. We love being around so many people who just love what we do. We miss that high of being around other creatives and feeding off each others’ energy. We get so full on, and then….nothing.
If we have planned for it, which I will help you do for next time, the fallout will be minimal, and we’ll go about our days just as we would have if it were any other day, instead of being unable to complete much of anything let alone get a cup of coffee.
So how do we plan for post-con blues?
We eat healthy, take our vitamins and drink plenty of water.
We make sure that we get enough sleep for at least a week leading up to the event .
We keep to a routine for at least two weeks before the event so we can easily follow that routine afterwards.
We make sure that we go outside for a little while each day to change the scenery we are looking at, get some fresh air and some sunshine, maybe even go for a walk.
We keep in contact with our con family from time to time, to see how they’re going, and we also go to events we know other creatives will be at.
Hit the gym (or park) – exercise is a great depression beater, and a great excuse to get out of the art studio.
At the convention:
Being stuck behind a table at a convention is no excuse to eat junk. Yes, a lot of cons will have a lunch order bag, but most of the time, it’s old, cold and fatty food that really doesn’t do any favours for us. Make sure you have some snacks and water on hand, and source the closest sandwich shop or Subway for the day. Coffee can be good, but can be dehydrating if you’re not drinking water along side it, and like chocolate or sugar, will give you a quick energy boost, but you’ll fall into a slump.
See if someone will come and help you during the day, or ask a neighbour to watch your table for a few minutes – this will allow you to go for a wander and see what else is around, have a chat with your con family and stretch your legs. A change of scenery is as good as a holiday.
Take Berocca or vitamins (My favourite is either Hairy Lemon of Voost) with you for a midday pick up. Take your pain medication at the first sign of a headache niggle, and don’t be afraid to have them for sore legs, feet, or back. Every bit helps.
What you do on the weekend will affect how you come out of the con.
After the con:
If you have had a routine in place, get back on it. If you haven’t had a routine in place, start with small achievable goals like ‘draw for 10 minutes’, or ‘sketch a hand’, or even ‘put the kettle on and make a coffee’.
Keep up with your vitamins, water and healthy food, but allow yourself some comfort food every now and then. (My comfort food is either Laksa, KFC or chicken curry). If you haven’t kept up with healthy food, vitamins and water, now is the time to start.
Keep up with the early nights if you can, and don’t play games on your phone before bed – the light can keep our wake cycle going. If you’re a night owl, like me, plan to go to bed 15 minutes earlier than the night before.
Get outside and breathe, go for a walk around the block and reacquaint yourself with nature – after all, you’ve been planning for weeks and have just spent the weekend inside talking with all sorts of people.
Soak in the sun. Vitamin D is great for post con blues. (Take your phone out and get some pictures of interesting things to pass the time).
Take yourself out for a coffee. Not a drive-thru coffee – a proper order and sit down until you’ve finished coffee.
Go to a drawing group or life drawing class. Go to the library and read a book you’ve never read before.
Do something nice for yourself. You have worked very hard, you deserve it.
If you are having problems getting back to yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14. People will help if they know you need it. You are allowed to reach out to the community to ask for help – a lot of us go through this time to time.
But most importantly, allow yourself to just wind down. You’ve done the artist equivalent of a 2 day marathon, so you need to let yourself rest. I am lucky enough to work 2 days a week, and from home the rest of the time, so I’m able to go out here and there as long as my work is complete. I give myself small, manageable tasks to complete, and before I know it, I’ve written an entire blog post, or illustrated a picture ready to take to the next step. It can be done, and I know you can get through it.
Thankyou for reading, if you have other ideas or tips that have worked for yourself, please comment below.