We’ve all been there. Riding back home from a long festival weekend you think, “Wow, I don’t think I will ever be the same.” Music Festivals can be life changing. You create lifelong memories with old friends and new friends alike, all while realizing you're only here on this earth for a set amount of time so you need to enjoy every second of it.
Music festivals are a big party. One reason they're so much fun is because you feel like you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s a whole other world unlike anywhere else. As human beings, we desire freedom, and music festivals provide it. But just like everything else in life, this freedom comes with consequences.
What most festivalgoers don’t realize is that these life-changing events can also be life-changing to your physical and mental health.
Think of other events that occur during the year: holidays, school breaks, birthdays, etc. Yes, they might involve one or two crazy nights out on the town, but rarely are there ever three or four days and nights full of nonstop partying. The day after your friend’s birthday might have you feeling down in the dumps, but chances are you probably aren’t going to permanently damage your mental or physical health.
After four days at a music festival, your mental and physical health can be permanently damaged if certain recovery initiatives aren’t taken. Seldom during that time do you think about the stress that you're putting on your body, because it’s all in good fun, right?
Yes, it is all in good fun, until you are on the way back home and you begin to feel the after-effects of all the fun you had the past four days. What you don’t realize is that your mind and body are about to go undergo a period of intense recovery.
The come down and 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.
Re-balancing Your Brain Chemicals
The morning after the festival ends, there’s a chance your brain seems to have forgotten how to produce serotonin on its own. It takes a few days for the brain to start producing serotonin at its normal levels. During these few days, life can be depressing and difficult to manage.
However, with new scientific findings, you can speed up the process by which the brain returns to normal serotonin production. 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 are a few natural supplements that you can take that have been shown to have an effect on serotonin production. These are all natural and can be found at most health food stores. Here are five that you can try:
- Vitamins B6 & B12
Most of these are chemicals produced naturally inside of our bodies already, so when you consume an extra amount of them, they have been shown to have a greater effect on serotonin production.
Foods to Eat
There have been plenty of studies that have played around with the idea that if you eat certain foods that are high in tryptophan then you can increase the serotonin production in your brain and eliminate depression. However, scientists have found that the tryptophan has a hard time traveling to the brain after being digested, which renders it useless to serotonin production.
New studies have found that if you pair these high-tryptophan foods with high-carbohydrate foods that spike your insulin levels, you can move a greater amount of the tryptophan to the brain, allowing for a greater effect on the production of serotonin.
Foods that are high in tryptophan:
- nut butter
- green peas
Foods that are high in carbohydrates:
- sweet potatoes
When you combine these foods, you have a greater chance 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. Try to include a few of these foods into your diet the week following your return from a music festival.
There is one major key to replenishing brain chemicals which is seldom talked about but has a significant impact: the amount of sunlight you receive during the day.
Sunlight is a key proponent in the production of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain that deal with happiness. There is a strong correlation between regions with high suicide rates and regions that receive lower amounts of sunlight (such as Alaska or Northern Canada).
When you return home from a long festival weekend, you don’t need to cower in the comfort of your dark room, but get outside rather. 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 suffice.
Rehydrating Your Body
Your body is made up of around 70% water. Water is the medium in which essential vitamins and minerals travel around your body to the parts that need them.
After three to four days of continuous dancing, your body is going to lose a good percentage of its retained water. Even if you are drinking water throughout the festival, odds are it’s not enough. Being dehydrated for long periods of time can cause permanent damage to your kidneys. If your body does not have the fluids it needs, it won’t be able to flush out bodily waste and toxins that are stored in these vital organs. If you don’t re-hydrate yourself completely within a few days of the festival, you will start to feel pain in your kidneys and urine discoloration.
This can all be prevented by drinking plenty of water during and after the festival, more than you think you need. You can never tell how dehydrated your body is, until it is too late. So just remember: water, water, water, and more water. If you don’t, that one day festival hangover will turn into a lifetime of permanent damage.
Muscle Soreness and Inflammation
During a music festival weekend, you participate in a lot of physical activity. Walking from stage to stage, shuffling to some house, or even headbanging to dubstep are all activities that put a great deal of stress on your muscles. A four-day music festival is similar to a four-day aerobic exercise session. You move for most of the day and get little to no rest.
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. This is not a bad thing, it just means your body needs to repair itself and become stronger.
This repairing process can take a week or longer, but there are ways that you can accelerate this process in order to get back to your normal daily routine without that constant nagging pain.
One way to alleviate this post-festival soreness is to stretch. 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. Stretching will aid in eliminating tension in the body, allowing your body to return to its normal state.
Massaging the sore muscles is another great way to alleviate soreness and inflammation. Using a foam roller on the sore muscle areas spreads out the muscle cells and forces the inflammation spots to disperse.
One major problem area people are always complaining about after a festival is their feet. This makes sense because you will walk several miles during the weekend, and dance even more miles than you walk (if dancing was measured in miles). This continuous activity puts a lot of stress on your foot muscles and bones.
One great way to alleviate the soreness from this stress is to buy a roller specifically made for your feet, or even get a foot massaging machine. Along with rest, massaging your feet will allow you to return to your normal life after a festival without it hurting to stand up or walk.
Rest is the best way to recover your muscles after a music festival. Just like working out or running, your body needs time to recuperate. If you don’t recuperate correctly, you can cause permanent or long-lasting damage to your body.
When you return home from a festival, you need to participate in as little physical activity as possible. The couch is your best friend in these times. Even when you’re standing, your foot muscles are put under stress and unable to recover as fast as possible.
Yes, you will have to walk and stand during your day, but the less you do, the faster your muscles are going to recover. Couch time, sleep, and sitting down outside are the three activities that are the best for muscle recovery after a festival.
Repairing Your Liver
People believe that when they are young, they can party all they want and it will have little to no effect on their health. The youthful mind set is that you can do whatever you want now, because you will eventually settle down, and allow your body to repair itself from your adolescent years.
What most people don’t understand is that these activities can have a permanent effect on your liver.
Certain behaviors can cause damage to your liver cells, leaving some parts of your liver unable to be repaired. In addition, you will have a much higher chance of getting liver disease, or experiencing liver failure.
However, there are ways to help your liver recover after one of these four-day festival weekends.
Drink lots of water.
Since you should be drinking tons of water to rehydrate your body anyways, this should not be a problem. Water helps flush out the toxins that affect the liver and allows your body to begin the reparation process.
Eat leafy green vegetables.
Adding leafy green vegetables to your diet (such as spinach, kale, or lettuce) will supply several key minerals and nutrients to your liver to aid in regeneration.
Do not drink alcohol.
Lay off the alcohol for a couple weeks after you return. This will give your liver a break from any trauma it went through during your crazy four-day festival weekend.
Do not drink soda.
Lay off the sugary sodas for a couple weeks if you have a habit of drinking them regularly. Your liver does not process the sugar and additives that are contained in soda which will lead to slower regeneration.
Take milk thistle.
Milk thistle contains the active ingredient sylmarin, which has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. When taken daily, it is possible milk thistle can improve the health of your liver.
At BassFit.com, we do not mean to discourage you from having fun during a festival. Just be prepared to take the steps to properly recover your body. If you follow this actionable advice, you run less chance of acquiring liver disease or experiencing fatal liver failure.
Catching Up on Sleep
If you’ve ever been to a music festival, you would know that you only get a few hours of sleep each night. You stay up until 5:00 AM and wake up at 10:00 AM. You could lose up to 12 hours of sleep over the entire weekend.
Sleep is the body’s most powerful recovery method. During sleep, your body slows down its waking processes (breathing/brain activity) and focuses on rebuilding your cells for the next day. When you do not get enough sleep, your body is not able to fully recover for the next day’s activities. After a long weekend, your body is craving this recovery time, and if you don’t give it to your body, it will not perform at its highest levels.
When you return home from the festival, you need to catch up on as much sleep as you can. Sleep on the car ride home, sleep on the plane, catch it wherever you can.
You need to be in bed early enough to where you get at least nine to ten hours of sleep the next few days after you return. This will allow your body to return to its normal sleep patterns and will help out in recovering the damaged cells.
If you want to return to normal bodily/brain functions, you must catch up on your sleep after you return and allow your body to maximize its recovery efforts.
One thing is key. Do not think that your body is in too good of shape to feel the after-effects of a long festival weekend. You can be the healthiest person on the planet, but a 4-day festival will still take a toll on your body.
To prevent permanent damage to your body, follow the actionable advice I have provided in this article. These are all very simple ways you can help your body recover from all the stress you have put it through over the festival weekend.
The idea of a music festival is to promote happiness, health, and a connection to your surroundings. If you follow the steps mentioned in this article, you will be able to experience this happiness and health for the duration of your time on earth.
If you want to learn more about keeping your body in the best shape for the upcoming festival season, visit www.bassfit.com, where you can find nutrition and training articles related to EDM, as well as workout playlists and mixes to help you achieve your goals.