WordCamps are amazing events, whether they are huge or small. They all take energy and time. They fill us with good feelings. They add to our knowledge base. They add to our network. They give us opportunities. They build friendships. They even help some of us secure jobs.
And they are incredibly draining – physically and emotionally. Sure, the amount of drain for any particular person varies, but at the end of a camp, it feels like you’ve been to the mountaintop, and there’s nowhere to go from there but down. And being down doesn’t always feel good.
If you’ve attended a WordCamp, you may experience any of the following in the hours, days, or even weeks after it’s ended.
Events that we look forward to, plan for, and that require/use a lot of energy are sometimes called “Mountaintop Events” in that they raise you up, energize you, and get you excited about the future. The only challenge with mountaintop events, is that you have to come down from the mountaintop when they’re over.
When I was in high school I first started experiencing what we called “let down.” I acted and sang in many performances of plays and musicals. We would study and rehearse our lines for weeks, build the sets, create the costumes, and block out our movements, until we were ready for dress rehearsal and then the final performance. The culmination of all that work and time was an amazing performance on the stage creating characters and portraying them to the audience. The applause and ovations were amazing.
Then Monday came.
After the performance, there was no more rehearsing, no more designing and creating, and the accolades died out. The let down was devastating. It was exhausting. It was even depressing. We had to find ways to not be dispirited, to re-engage, to take what we had done and “store it” within ourselves.
WordCamps are much the same.
If you find yourself with physical, emotional, or mental feelings after WordCamp, you’re not alone. Many of us experience any number of them, and at varying degrees depending on our involvement and how much energy we expend while we’re there.
But we can take precautions and do some post-event self-work to help us navigate the many ways we react once we get home and back to work.
My post-WordCamp “ritual” varies depending on how involved with WordCamp I was, how many days the camp consisted of, and how much/what type of travel was involved.
For a smaller local camp. I can usually recover over Sunday and be back to my version of normal by Monday. For a larger camp, or if I was speaking or organizing (like WCUS, or if there was a lot of travel involved), I sometimes need a day or two off from work to restabilize myself physically and mentally in order to be productive at work. Whatever you need to do to return to homeostasis, you should find a way to do it.
Be comforted that everyone who attends a WordCamp also experiences various levels of effort to return to work after the event. No one experiences it the same. No one recovers from it the same, but we’re all in it together.
As always, if you experience feelings that are outside of what you can handle, reach out for professional help. You’re worth it.
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