[Hooping.org columnist Bonnie MacDougall shares her post-hoop gathering recovery tips.]
Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself immersed in the HoopPath: Open Air stop in Detroit. I had anticipated it for months and was ready to dive in with my fellow hoopers when it was time for the workshops to begin. Over the course of the weekend, a bond began to form between the community in attendance. We were all sweaty and we ached together, ate some meals together, laughed and even cried together. Sunday night came and my cup was so full. There is nothing better for me than to truly immerse myself inside the hoop with people who understand and support not only my love for this magic circle, but support me being the very best me that I can be. Driving home I was basking in the afterglow of a weekend so well spent.
Then Monday hit, what we had been warned about. Yes, the “Melancholy Monday” syndrome had arrived – the less than magic time when the realities of real life return. Where are all my hooping pals? You recognize you are no longer in a hooper heaven setting and the non-hoopers you encounter on a daily basis have little idea how this experience could be so idyllic. They stare at you blankly as you share your joy which only seems to make it worse. As hoopers we are in the midst of gathering season and whether you’re coming home from Return to Roots or landing after Spark Fire and Flow Retreat or any of a myriad of festivals that have occurred lately. Maybe you are preparing for Circumference, Hoopcamp, Burning Man or another late summer or fall gathering. Or perhaps you aren’t going to a festival, but have or will be taking a weekend long intensive hoop workshop, like I just did. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you will most likely encounter your very own afterglow and your own Melancholy Monday of sorts. How can we best re-integrate into our daily lives after spinning up so much awesomeness? Here are six simple tips to help you land again smoothly upon your re-entry.
1. Allow time to process. One of the best ways to navigate your re-entry experience is to talk to others who also attended the event or may have insight because of past attendance at these type of gatherings. Share your experiences! Take time to journal, hoop, meditate, or just allow yourself some plain old solitude, taking the time you need to process. How do you know if it is helping? You will feel better after, not worse.
2. Pick up your hoop. You’ve surely learned a lot over the course of the event you’ve attended. Pick up that hoop and practice what you have learned. Don’t let all that knowledge go to waste. If you aren’t feeling it, then just love on your hoop and fall into a nice flow, allowing your hoop to embrace you as you bring those feelings of joy created back into your life at home.
3. Drink Plenty of Water. Hydration is key to life. Your body is most likely exhausted and a “hooper hangover” is unpleasant. Fluids will prevent this. One of the best ways to nurture yourself is to drink water, and a lot of it. Even if you stayed well-hydrated throughout the event, continue this hydration after you return home as your muscles and body continue the healing process. You’ve probably hooped more than you normally do and possibly ever have. Drink up. Your body will thank you for it.
4. Get Plenty of Rest. Go to bed earlier than usual if possible. Your body is your temple, allow it to be healthy, rested and restored. You have most likely put more physical and emotional (yes, even positive emotional) stress on it than it has seen in awhile. Give yourself an extra hour of sleep or a delicious nap whenever you can squeeze it in. Again, remember your body needs time to rebuild and restore itself, physically and emotionally.
5. Stay connected. Most of us are on Facebook and Hooping.org. Stay connected with the new friends you’ve just made. Take time to watch the videos from the weekend, look at the pictures that are being posted, post your own and bask in the memories created. It really helps to ease the transition back into your daily life.
6.Plan your next event. Knowing that you have something else up your sleeve, even if is months away, can help take the edge off. It doesn’t have to be a full blown hoop gathering either. Perhaps it is just a road trip to meet a new friend that you connected with at this past event, or a trip to a city an hour away to learn from that teacher you’ve been hearing about. If you are able to dream up something big or small it can really help give you some excitement for the future.
Leaving a festival or any hooping event can be a big transition and self care afterwards is warranted and necessary. These are just a few guidelines to help and we would love to hear your comments and ideas that have worked for you in your transitions from hoop gatherings back to everyday life. It remains thrilling for me each time I attend a hoop gathering, whether it be as an organizer, teacher, or attendee and no matter how many times I attend a hoop event, I always seem to walk away with my mind blown. We are so lucky to be a part of such an incredible community.