Festivals like Lollapalooza and Osheaga scream fun for most people. However, for those of us who live with mental illnesses like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, festival season can be more problematic than playful. Whether you struggle with your mental health or not, this list is a friendly reminder to practice self-care even while enjoying your favourite concerts this summer.
1. Drink Lots of Water
It's easy to forget the basics when your favourite bands are right in front of you, playing that song that totally touched your soul, but staying hydrated is essential to having a good time on your festival weekend. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness and in severe cases, loss of consciousness. Which will most definitely spoil your fun!
2. Enjoy the Moment as It Is
All of your favourite bands. Performing at the same time. On stages completely opposite one another. It's so easy to get wrapped up in hectic schedules and anxiety about what lies ahead in your festival future but take a deep breath, it's all going to be okay. The exact moment that you are in right now will never be the same again, so take it all in and soak as much of it up as you can.
3. Apply Sunscreen
Your mom probably yelled this at you as you drove away for every trip you've ever been on, but it's actually so important. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, on average, your risk for melanoma doubles if you have had more than five sunburns. So lather up that lotion and take care of your self!
Never underestimate the power of a good food truck. The combination of the hot sun and shaking your booty all day long can lead to some serious need for nourishment. Most festivals have food trucks or pop-ups onsite that offer a wide variety of amazing foods. It's a great chance to give your body what it needs and try something new!
5. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
When anxiety ensues sometimes your first reaction may be to grab a drink but hold off on that thought. Both alcohol and caffeine can be triggers for those who suffer from anxiety. They can put you on edge and can make you more susceptible to panic attacks. Know your limit and trust that you can enjoy yourself without it.
6. Focus On You
Many people who suffer from social anxiety may have difficulties being in big crowds. It is important to remember that you came here for yourself, so do whatever it is that makes you feel good. Even if that means a change of scenery. This could be removing yourself from the crowd, moving to a more mellow performance or taking some time to just sit in the grass to cloud watch. You do you.
7. Hugs Not Drugs
Festivals are known to be places where recreational drugs are easily accessible. Hallucinogenic drugs like MDMA can cause anxiety and panic attacks, and may cause paranoia or even psychosis. Anyone who takes these drugs may become susceptible to these symptoms but those who have mental illnesses are even more so. But there is absolutely no downside to hugging! Try hugs instead.
8. But do take your prescription drugs
Take your medicine - it's important. Set an alarm, write it on the back of your hand, tell a friend. Doctor's orders!
When the festival is in full swing the last thing you want to think about is crawling into bed. But remember- your body needs it. You have most likely been dancing/running around/crowd surfing all day long and it can take a toll on your body. Keep track of your time and set aside a practical amount of time to rest your mind, body and soul. You're worth it.
10. Be an Ally
Being in such close quarters can be a great environment to make friends, but it can also be a very scary place to someone with anxiety. It can be hard to ask for help when panicking so keep an eye out for those who may not seem comfortable and help when you can. And don't forget always ask for consent before touching someone- not everyone is a hugger!
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at our shoot!
Photos: Kelsey Schroeder
Hair & Make-Up by Posh Beauty Bar
Video Footage by Alix Surette