It’s that time of year again: January and the season of adult industry events all over the US. And while trade shows can be awesome — a time to see old friends and make new ones — we can experience a real drop-off once we get home. If you’ve ever found yourself crashing back to earth after a big social event, you’re not alone. The post-event blues are a very real thing.
Psychologists have come up with several fancy terms for this phenomenon: post-event let-down, post-project depression (PPD) or post-adrenaline blues. A friend of mine in the movie business calls the inevitable crash once a film has wrapped, after months of hectic schedules and no sleep, “post-‘art’-um” — a play on “postpartum depression.”
Whatever you call it, it makes sense that if you’ve been anticipating a special occasion — preparing to speaking in front of a group or getting the chance to meet someone you admire or wearing that smokin’ hot outfit you’ve been planning for weeks (or months) — you’ll be revved up in the days and weeks beforehand. Then, you might experience an adrenaline spike during the event, followed by a bottoming out afterwards. That low might be described as a few days of low-level emptiness or apathy. Or, it might blossom into a full-on sad spell.
Let’s take a look at some ways to care for ourselves once we’ve gotten back to real life.
Short Term Self-Care
Realizing that both your brain and your body have just been through a lot, as soon as you get back home, take time to invest in the Three Rs: rest, relaxation and routine. The kindest thing for your wired-tired body and brain are to get back to the things that feel familiar and supportive: regular healthy meals, moderate exercise and plenty of sleep.
If your head is popping with all the connections and opportunities the event afforded, on the plane ride back or right before bed soon after you’re home, make a list of all the ways you want to follow up. Then, first thing the next morning, break those into small manageable tasks that you can tackle, perhaps one per day. That way, you’re not faced with changing your whole life right at once. Better instead making the commitment to daily progress one step at a time.
Last, if you’re experiencing feelings of loneliness or letdown, make yourself a playlist with songs inspired by the event. Music can keep you in touch with your happy memories.
The comedown after a trade show is also a good time to identify what you enjoy most about big events and to look for ways to get more of whatever that is in your daily routine.
So, say what you love best is meeting industry people or connecting with old friends. Then, your goal throughout the year may be to socialize more. Maybe it’s having the opportunity to shine — to dress up and strut or share your expertise. I encourage you to find ways to put yourself out there more by teaching classes, or perhaps starting a reading circle or support group. Boosting your satisfaction in real life alleviates the pressure to get certain needs met only through special occasions.
The biological component of an adrenaline crash is important for understanding how we react as we do after big events, but post-event blues can also be a reaction to our expectations — whether we accomplished what we hoped. Before a show, we might fantasize about making a bunch of important connections, or sitting in on every panel that relates to our business, or saying something clever to someone we admire. The reality might fall short of our hopes, contributing to feelings of missed opportunities and disappointment.
The key, in that case, is to manage realistic expectations. There are only so many hours in a day, and these events pull our attention in every direction. It might be helpful, before you set out to a trade show or right afterwards while everything is still fresh in your mind, to jot down a few notes about what your goals are for the next event: “Next year, I’m going to go, but do less. I’ll do dinner and drinks with three sets of people, and catch up with everyone else after I get home.” Over time, by understanding your limits, you’ll learn what a successful trade show looks and feels like for you.
Just because the post-event blahs are normal, it doesn’t mean they’re inevitable. After the party’s over, basic self-care brings us back to regular life.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, a self-help book for sex workers available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and wherever else ebooks are sold. Get the audiobook version here. Contact Davina at Lola.Davina@ynotcam.com and visit her on Twitter at @Lola_Davina, as well as on Facebook.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.