Thursday, October 22, 2015

Event Drop

While I'm writing this post under my belly dance blog, this phenomenon can happen after any kind of event: convention, weekend camping, vacation. etc. Essentially, anything that takes you out of your normal routine has the likelihood of bringing event drop... and the more different from your usual routine and the more fun you have, the greater the drop. And how long the event was will also factor into the amount of drop.

So what are some of the symptoms of the drop:
  • Lethargy
  • Tiredness/sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Getting teary-eyed easily to downright crying your eyes out
  • Sense of loss for your friends who aren't there and feeling lost in general
  • Sleeping for long hours or not being able to sleep at all. Or sleeping at odd hours. (Especially if there was a time zone difference.)
  • Loss of interest for normal stuff
  • Having issues talking to regular people correctly (i.e., having issues readjusting your filters for the regular environment and/or talking about things that other people have no idea what they are)
  • Wanting to go back to that happy place
  • Feeling like your life sucks right now
  • How can you go on living like this?
And the list could go on.

When that happens: don't panic!!!! It's actually normal! That's event drop. It will get better. I promise.

Really, time is what will "cure" the event drop. You'll settle back into your routine and normal life and it will be all fine. You will remember the fun times and miss it but it will be with fondness and not the sense of loss that you're feeling right after the event. So the below are not so much 'treatments' of course as they are tips to handle this time.
  • Be kind to yourself! This is so very important b/c you may end up having some thoughts pop through your head like you're stupid or childish for feeling this way. No, you're not. And everything will seem hard. It's normal. It takes time. 
  • Drink water. That sounds corny, doesn't it? But chances are, you will have neglected to drink enough water and are dehydrated. So drink up.
  • Be careful with alcohol intake. See the bullet above about dehydration. But also remember that alcohol tends to make people more depressed so it will only enhance the symptoms instead of dulling them.
  • Eat well. You likely ate whatever was available at the event, which may or may not have been healthy for you. So try to eat some actual good food that will help restore your body. And you may not feel hungry b/c of the symptoms so you may need to force feed yourself.
  • Indulge... in moderation. Sure, if you want ice cream b/c it will make you feel better, go ahead. But be careful as this can be a slippery slope as emotional eating can be a tricky thing. But if it makes you feel a bit better to indulge, go ahead. Just keep an eye out for whether it's creeping in for too long.
  • Snuggle up and watch a movie. Chances are you'll be brain dead to a certain extent. Snuggle up on the couch under blankies with your significant other and/or your pets and watch something mindless. 
  • Plan for it. If you can, plan for the fact that all you'll want to do will be vegging on the couch when getting back from the event and whatever that entails. For example, don't push out doing something until when you get back b/c you likely won't do it. I will actually often will make sure that I have good food in the house for when I get back home b/c I won't want to go to the store that night... and maybe not even the next day after I get back.
  • Get back to your routine as quickly as you can. Your routine anchors things for you and trigger that you are back to what you normally do... which is excruciating when you have event drop but you do need to prompt your brain that it's back to routine now. And it's really hard on the sleeping schedule, especially if there was a time zone shift. But try to eat when you normally do, go to sleep when you normally do, and if you have a bed time routine (or waking time routine), just do that too.
  • Be kind to yourself. It bears repeating so here... I repeated it. :) And it's fine also to say to people you encounter that you just came back from an event and it was so much fun but you're a little out of it now. People will understand. And then you don't have to put on a front so much.
Again, time will make it better... just do what you need to do to take care of yourself in the meantime.

Con crud
As if the drop was not enough, there is such a thing as "con crud", aka getting sick after an event. If you've traveled by plane or have been around lots of people (for example, Gen Con or Dragon Con), you may actually get sick and have a fever, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headache, etc. Rest is what you need when you suspect you might be coming down with con crud. Well, essentially treat it like when you're coming down with a cold b/c it's very similar, so rest, fluids, chicken soup, etc.

In conclusion...
Hopefully these tips will help. I know firsthand how weird it feels to be so energized for things when you're at the event, only to go home and just not want to do anything anymore. It's jarring and a WTF moment... but it's normal... and it will pass.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to deal with the weird crowd?

This is long overdue for some students who have asked about this. So, what do you do when the crowd's not really into belly dance?

Well, first off, let's analyze the setting. Though I will experience the weird crowd in a setting like the Greek restaurant where I dance (example, when the Jehova's Witness convention was in town), usually, the phenomenon will happen at a not so conventional place for belly dance like a fundraiser of sorts or some weird show night at a bar or whatnot. Or the setting could be perfectly fine but you just so happen to be THE dark fusion dancer in a sea of happy, shiny cabaret people (that has happened to me, actually).

It can be really hard to keep your composure and keep pushing through... but you have to. Remember what you're there for: to entertain (whether it's a fundraiser or a weird show night at a bar). Someone booked you to do that and believed that you can do it and add to their event: believe in yourself as well.

This is when I think to myself that I should have the courage of my conviction. My conviction here could be just being a belly dancer or my specific genre of belly dance or my specific piece. Just remember what your intent is with your dance. I know that it can be easier said than done but do take a moment to breathe and ground, if you can. Now if you realize that you're in a weird situation as you're dancing, it's the same principle: keep holding onto the intent of the piece, of your dancing, and try to ground yourself if you can.

What it boils down to is that you should keep focused on what you are delivering: some awesome belly dance. It's fine to be a different kind of belly dancer. It's fine to be a belly dancer when people didn't expect one. Just try and relax.

One important thing is to not close yourself off. That will be a natural tendency as you are bound to feel vulnerable. If you've ever worked with techniques to project energy (for example, opening your chest), do use those. I've managed to swing a whole crowd around by projecting energy.

You also will generally be able to find at least one person who will be into watching you dance and your energy will connect with theirs. Or you may even be able to make eye contact with that person. And that will help you carry on. (And oftentimes the person will find you afterwards and tell you how they appreciated you connecting with them.)

Now if you're in a noisy setting like a bar and there's ruckus, I will handle in the following manner (and it's easier for me to adapt as I mostly do improv): I will first direct energy and my attention towards the ruckus. It is incredible how much people will pick up on someone watching them. Generally, one person in the group will tell the rest of the group that they should quiet down and pay attention. If that doesn't happen, then I'll just generally ignore that area and focus on those who ARE paying attention.

And if all else fails and you can't find a good groove or anyone you can connect with, just try to connect with the Universe and Dance. It sounds woo woo but connecting to the joy of dance will help you power through a difficult setting.

The other thing to remember is that these unpleasant instances are what makes you into a better performer. The more you encounter them, deal with them, and come out on the other side unscathed, the better you get at handling them. You can view it as just earning experience under your belt. And those usually make for some good stories to tell later on.

So go forth and do your thing!