As human beings, we desire freedom, and music festivals provide it. But just like everything else in life, this freedom comes with consequences. Going to EDM festivals and experiencing long hours dancing, standing and releasing all that positive energy can result in a “low” the following hours, days, or in some cases, weeks. Usually, every avid attendee knows well about the post-rave blues or what is also called the “let-down” after experiencing such an incredible and intense experience over a number of consecutive days.
The Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat mantra is all too real. After a few days of music festival sensory overload, our adaptive bodies will eventually start feeling the effects of full days of intense partying. Post-festival depression or PFD is the slow onset that creeps up on festival-goers after the music is over and bright lights have faded into obscurity. This usually affects newbie festival-goers in the scene, but has been known to also affect veterans from time to time. What most people don’t understand is that these life-changing events can also be life-changing to your physical and mental health.
Recovering from a festival is all about restoring the natural chemical and physical balance of your body. Exercising and stretching your muscles is key to toning your body and soothing sore muscles. Massage will also help relax over-stressed muscles and tissues. Eating well and hydrating will bring essential nutrients to your body and restore it’s natural balance.
After up to four days at a music festival, your mental and physical health can be permanently damaged if certain recovery initiatives aren’t taken. Nobody thinks about the stress they’re putting on their bodies as they dance and scream the weekend away. But after the party’s over, your mind and body will need an intense period of recovery. The side effects of a long festival weekend are inevitable, however, there are ways to help your mind and body get back to normal without causing permanent damage to your mental and physical health.
Below, we discuss in more details the essential tips to rest, nourish and restore the much-needed equilibrium of your body and get ready for your next festival experience.
Post-Rave Depression is Real
Hangovers are inevitable and they are awful. Sometimes it’s not only that, coming down from a full weekend of partying and drugs can feel like losing your parents in a car crash. Almost everyone will experience this at some point after a big festival, it will almost certainly be worse if you’ve taken drugs throughout the event. But with the right preparations and a little bit of self-care, the post-rave blues can fly by nearly unnoticed.
Raves are a mix of a lot of strenuous physical activity, eating many different kinds of foods, most of which are quick sandwiches and quite unhealthy, and also the alcohol, dehydration from not drinking enough water, you get the drift. Below are proven tips that will help you get past the blues quickly and efficiently. Keep in mind that the first tip is to know that what you’re going through are festival blues and it’s a normal consequence of your festival experience.
(please make sure it’s not something serious and see a doctor if your conditions worsen and things persist abnormally)
Exercise, Stretching & Massage
This first time might sound crazy, especially knowing that you’re coming back from a festival of relentlessly dancing and moving for days on end, but a good cardio exercise is recommended. Exercise will help sweat out toxins and toughen your body up. The day after you return from a long festival weekend, you are likely to experience muscle soreness and pain. This is because your muscle fibers are experiencing small tears, which causes inflammation and soreness in the surrounding area. With exercise, your muscles will have more stamina, will stretch better and tear less the next time, avoiding any soreness and pain from the stress you put it under during your next EDM music festival experience.
The repairing process might take a week or sometimes longer but your can accelerate it by stretching and getting a much needed massage. Stretching after a music festival will loosen up any tight muscle areas and help alleviate the pain caused from continuous exercise during the long festival weekend. It will also help in eliminating tension in your body, and will allow it to return to its normal state. On the other hand, massaging your sore muscles with a foam roller will spread the muscle cells forcing inflammation spots to diffuse.
A large number of people complain about their feet when they come back from an EDM festival. It’s normal, as every festival attendee will have walked miles and miles during the weekend, and dance for consecutive long hours. A lot of stress is put on the foot muscles and bones. To alleviate the soreness from all this activity, we recommend a foot-massaging machine, or a roller specifically made for the feet. In addition to the rest, massaging the feet will help them regain strength and restore the muscles to a better condition, avoiding any foot pain while walking or standing.
Take some time to Rest & Sleep
This tip is an obvious one. Muscles will need enough rest in addition to the above tips in order to recover quickly. Just like working out or running, your body needs time to recuperate. Not recuperating correctly can cause permanent or long-lasting damage to your body. The couch (and some Netflix) will be your best friend when you’re back from the festival. Couch time, sleep, and sitting down outside are the three activities that are the best for muscle recovery after a festival. Regardless of your ability to stay wide awake for four consecutive night, it is highly recommended to give your body the down-time it needs and to catch some Zs. For those who will be in a hotel room right after the event, it is recommended that you request a late checkout, shut those blinders off and give your body the much-needed rest it needs.
It is recommended to in bed early enough to where you get at least nine to ten hours of sleep the next few days after your return from the festival grounds. This will allow your body to return to its normal sleep patterns and will help out in recovering the damaged cells.
Hydrate & Help Your Liver
Water is the lifeblood of the planet and yourself. It will be the first thing you will need to get a lot of once you’re back from the festival. Although we do recommend dividing your water intake all day throughout the festival time, taking water before the event and of course after is highly important. And when you think you’ve had enough? Drink another glass, the water will help flush out the toxins that affect your liver and will allow your body to begin the reparation process. A lot of amazing products have been created to help give your body the hydration boost it needs. Liquid I.V. is one of them. is a great-tasting, Non-GMO electrolyte drink mix that utilizes the breakthrough science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) to deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. They are on a mission to help people live better lives everywhere, with each purchase you make, they donate a serving of their product to someone in need! (very cool initiative).
People believe that when they are young, they can handle long hours of insane partying and that they will eventually settle down in life and let their bodies recuperate. They think that later in life is when their bodies will repair themselves from those early party years. That can’t be further from the truth, these crazy party-life activities can have permanent effects on the liver.
Eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, or lettuce will supply your liver with key nutrients and vitamins that helps in it’s regeneration. On another hand, we recommend avoiding caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Caffeine is considered a diuretic and can actually lead to greater dehydration. Avoid the Monster drink or your favorite Starbucks Grande. Greater dehydration means increased chances of a longer hangover, unwanted headaches and more sleepless nights, which are the exact opposite of what you would want during your process of recovery. Staying away from the alcohol as well will will give your liver a break from any trauma it went through during your crazy four-day festival weekend.
Another way to help your liver and body is to avoid soda drinks. These are filled with sugar, which is normally not absorbed by your liver. This will help your liver by keeping it away from what usually slows its regeneration.
The morning after the festival, your brain might be unable to produce Serotonin in normal levels. “Serotonin is a chemical nerve cells produce, it has a popular image as a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, though its actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes”.
New scientific findings have found that there are certain foods and supplements you can eat and activities you can participate in directly after the festival in order for your serotonin to return to normal and protect yourself from being permanently damaged.
There has been a lot of studies that eventually discovered how eating certain foods will increase serotonin production in the body and help eliminate depression. The initial studies revolved around the idea that you can eat certain foods that are high in tryptophan. But soon after, scientists discovered that the tryptophan had a hard time traveling to the brain after being digested, which rendered it useless to serotonin production.
New studies have found that if you pair these high-tryptophan foods with high-carbohydrate foods, they will spike your insulin levels and your body can move a greater amount of the tryptophan to the brain, allowing for a greater effect on the production of serotonin. High levels of tryptophan can be found in foods like chicken, turkey, nut butter, green peas, salmon, popcorn, sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, pineapples and eggs.
Combining these foods will bring you additional chances of directly affecting your brain’s production of serotonin. An example of a serotonin-boosting meal is Chicken Fettuccine Pasta with a side of Green Peas. We recommend trying to include a few of these foods into your diet the week following your return from a music festival. They’re delicious anyways, filled with protein which will help your muscles regain some much-needed strength and without you making much effort, they’ll make sure your body’s producing all the necessary to make you feel a lot better.
Restore Balance with Supplements
Most of the below chemicals are naturally produced inside our bodies, and can be found in most health food stores. So when needed you can consume an extra amount of them they shown to have a greater effect on serotonin production.
Five supplements you can try are:
- 5-HTTP: According to medical sources like Healthline.com, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that your body naturally produces. It can aid may increase feelings of fullness, causing you to eat less and lose weight. 5-HTP primarily inhibited the intake of calories from carbohydrates, which was associated with better blood sugar control. Several small studies have found that 5-HTP reduced symptoms of depression. Supplementing with 5-HTP may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by muscle and bone pain, as well as general weakness. 5-HTP is also said to help with migraines, which are throbbing headaches that are often accompanied by nausea or disturbed vision.
- Saffron: In a 2014 study published in Journal of Affective Disorders, for instance, adults with mild-to-moderate depression took either a saffron supplement or fluoxetine daily for six weeks. At the study’s end, saffron extract was found to be as effective as fluoxetine (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug, or SSRI, commonly used for depression). a review published in the Human Psychopharmacology in 2014 concluded that “research conducted so far provides initial support for the use of saffron for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression.”
- Folate: Folic acid supplementation has not been suggested as a treatment in itself for depression, but it may be helpful in improving response to antidepressants such as fluoxetine, especially in women. Low folate status has been linked to an increased risk of depression and poor response to antidepressant treatment.
- L-Tryptophan: According to University Health News, A large meta-analysis study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that people with low concentrations of L-tryptophan in their blood were more apt to developing major depressive disorder. This makes sense when you understand that a deficiency of the brain chemical serotonin is one of the main causes of depression. L-tryptophan converts into serotonin through a multi-step process using enzymes called tryptophan hydroxylase and aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase. This complex chemical process is not what’s important–what is important are the end results. Sufficient levels of L-tryptophan in the body can reduce depression and anxiety. Furthermore, another in-depth study about L-tryptophan published in the journal Nutrients in 2016 showed the link between L-tryptophan depletion and mood. According to the researchers, it was clear that improved L-tryptophan levels were consistently associated with better mood.
- Vitamins B6 & B12: Some studies suggest that B-complex vitamins can lift your spirits and improve your cognitive performance. A 33-day study in 215 healthy men found that treatment with a high-dose B-complex and mineral supplement improved general mental health and stress and enhanced performance on cognitive tests. Another study in young adults showed that supplementing with a multivitamin containing high levels of B-complex vitamins for 90 days reduced stress and mental fatigue. One study found that supplementing patients with a vitamin containing B12, B6 and folic acid led to a more enhanced and sustained antidepressant response over one year, compared to a placebo.
On another hand, sunlight is a key proponent in the production of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain that deal with happiness. Areas like Alaska or Northern Canada deal with a high number of suicide rates, which are also areas, which receive lower amounts of sunlight. When you return home from a long festival weekend, we recommend not staying in the darkness of your room, but get outside. At least one or two hours should be spent outside during those recovery days – and you don’t even have to be doing anything; just sitting or standing in the sunlight will be enough.
Personal Hygiene Care
After leaving a festival, many people fall asleep before showering. Sleep kind of trumps hygiene when you’ve spent so long on your feet, and there will always be time to have a thorough shower in the following day right? As soon as you can, take a long hot shower and wash all the accumulated dirt from your hair and body. And if you’re looking for a little extra pampering, take a good long bubble bath and add some anti-stress bath oils in there too. Your skin and your relaxed body will thank you for it.
Plan Your Next Festival
Quite the unusual last tip here, but once you’ve experienced an EDM festival you know this works. Coming back from a festival is never easy, it can get gloomy and depressive. You will miss all the people you’ve met during your stay there, and you’ll feel disappointed in yourself for missing a set, and hate that you have to return to the real world. However, it’s always nice to have something to look forward to. Think of all the sets you will see and all the people you will meet, and this may just be the perfect way to get by until the next experience. Taking time to rest and eventually plan the next EDM festival experience will get you thinking and looking forward to your next adventure.
The key point to keep in mind is to never underestimate the powerful effects a music festival can have on your body. You can be the healthiest person on the planet but a four-day experience will take it’s toll on your body. The idea of a music festival is to promote happiness, health, and a connection to your surroundings. To prevent permanent damage to your body, follow the simple advice provided in this article and help your body recover quickly and efficiently. The above tips will help you experience the festival happiness and fun for as long as you can!
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