How to Recover from Conference Burnout

The threat is real.

Burn out it strikes the strongest of writers. Taking them out one by one. I’ve seen it first-hand. Authorsthey plug into their computer for a writing marathon. Or a writers’ conference knocks them with the mother of all writers block.

“Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story, but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.” —John Green

With a summer packed with writers’ conferences and events across the nation, we are spreading awareness. Be on the alert for mental exhaustion from overstimulation, feeling overwhelmed, or even a little depressed.

Don’t let it be you.

Speaking of recovery…

Take time to yourself

Know when it’s time to leave. Conferences can run for days, beginning in the early hours of the morning with a breakfast and leading all the way into the night. Make a plan of attack so that you will still be able to meet with important people, but that you can save enough of yourself to actually make a good impression. It’s never good to make the impression that you hate all humans.

NBC
NBC

When you get home, say hi to your family, and then take some time to yourself. It’s not selfish to need some time to recuperate and recharge. Relax and read a book that you picked up or journal some of the ideas that you received at the conference. Just don’t feel rushed to act upon them right away.

Sleep

Staying up late and getting up early is a recipe for the grumpies. Go to bed a little earlier than you usually would. Turn off your phone before you tuck in to tune into your natural circadian rhythms. Or just spend part of the day hidden under a blanket or a blanket fort.

creative commons

Go outside

Remember the sun? It’s been there all the time you were stuck inside a conference room. Enjoy some nature and take a walk. Get some all-natural vitamin D. Breathe the clean air. Hug a tree. Give a moose a cookie…

Pamper Yourself

You just survived two, three, maybe even four days surrounded by people?! Treat yo’self. Celebrate with a small gift to commemorate your conference survival. Buy yourself that new journal you’ve been wanting or make a scrumptious dinner to celebrate the moment.

NBC
NBC

Take time to shut off

After a conference, it can be tempting to get right to work. Creativity is  a-flowin’ and  channeling your energy into action seems like a natural progression. Instead, make a commitment not to get to work right away. Take a day to mull over ideas and work at them at your own pace. There’s nothing worse than getting hyped up about a new project and getting stuck halfway through. Pace yourself and avoid burning out.


Katelyn S. BoldsKatelyn S. Bolds balances work as Web Editor, Author Services Extraordinaire, and freelance writer. She is married to coffee; also her husband. At times this DIY life might get a little crazy, but she takes it one day at a time. A little yoga, a lot of organization, and a holistic approach make for a Bold Life. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

21 thoughts on “How to Recover from Conference Burnout”

  1. Great information here. I’ve been away from conference-going for several years, and I’m getting ready to jump back in the pool this summer for ACFW. Thanks for sharing at the perfect time.

  2. Great suggestions. I would also encourage attendees to take some time at conferences to get into worship. It can be at the event, or alone in your room. That spiritual “plug in” sometimes can make all the difference in how we feel!

  3. Loved these encouraging ideas. Someone I admire blocks off the week after a major conference to prevent burnout on re-entry like a space capsule turning to ashes as it enters the earth’s atmosphere if not protected. She limits email and social media activity, reconnects with her family, naps, and processes what she learned and the contacts made. Her to-do list waits patiently, a guide, not a swarmy dictator. I’m working on managing to block of one full day. Or two. Baby steps to the elevator.

  4. Rats. Typo. Block OFF one full day. And I might have even put a semi-colon between patiently and a guide. But alas, my to-do list is starting to tap her foot.

    1. That’s quite an admirable goal! It is hard to take time and pause for reflection and rest. However, I encourage you to make the time. To roughly quote Parkinson’s Law, the To-Do list will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. She will always be lurking… waiting for you…

  5. Love these pointers! Particularly the blanket fort. 😉 I just returned from Mt. Hermon this spring and had to take a bit of a detour on the way back due to road conditions. It turned into the most unexpectedly beautiful country drive; such a perfect way to process and unwind!

    1. An unexpectedly beautiful country drive… sounds like the beginning of a romance novel to me! There’s nothing better than stumbling upon the stunning peace and quiet of nature. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Home from conference meant after a wedding, then home. So the temptation to “catch up” on work today is strong. Instead, I watered my flowers, checked to see if any blueberries were ripe, and may take a nap. 🙂 (And reconnected on Facebook.) I took care of a few small things and a couple of very important things, but have stilled my pace to a crawl compared to normal. Big victory? I really needed to go to town to get groceries. Told myself, “Nah.”

  7. Great tips! I’m an “outgoing introvert,” which means that I love people, but they totally drain my emotional batteries. I speak at ten or more conferences a year, so I have started skipping the evening sessions to get my daily alone time. It seems to work better than going full throttle at the conference and then collapsing for a week. I actually came back from the last conference feeling energized. (I direct a conference and encourage people to have that time alone there. So, yes, you are allowed to skip sessions!)

    1. Thanks Jim! It’s great to hear perspectives from all the different kinds of writers. It’s okay to skip sessions as long as they aren’t yours, right?!

  8. Thank you, Katelyn, for this! (…As my unpacked suitcase still sits by our bedroom window seat. *blush*) Loved your suggestions and tips.

    I spent this week readying my September newsletter to make sure it went out on time, and I have post-conference brain fog to boot.

    I was already a little exhausted emotionally as I prepped for conference this year — just 10 days before we took our last baby bird to college. Gah! We officially became semi- “empty-nesters.” How’d THAT happen?

    I’m giving myself permission to unwind and recharge over the next few weeks. 🙂

    Happy Weekend to you!

  9. Oh, Katelyn. You are speaking my language, girl. I just returned from ACFW and I have been feeling ALL OF THESE THINGS. Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone or weird or in the wrong profession. 🙂 HUGS!

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