Eva Moore’s Conference Self-Care Tips
(Angelina’s note: When I asked about conference self-care tips for authors, Eva Moore wrote this incredibly thoughtful response. Because I can’t link to it directly in Facebook, I’m putting it here. I plan on pulling it up right before I leave for every conference!)
Okay, I've got my laptop out of bags and I've had a nap. Here are my thoughts. Things I do to make conferences work for me:
1.) If it is longer than 2-3 days I get my own room.
I have learned that I need that quiet decompression space. Unless my roommate is Jasmine Silvera, who we have determined is my long lost twin sister and who functions very much the same way I do. We can talk or not talk with no hurt feelings, we make decisions the same way, we are flexible and savvy travelers, and this makes her my ideal roommate. If you are an introvert who is extroverting hard, that quiet space becomes even more crucial.
2.) The fact that it was in Times Square was particularly hard.
Just trying to get in and out of the hotel for a meal or an event felt herculean. Thank God for the subway, and that I know how to ride one.
3.) I bought the recordings to the panels up front and was realistic about my goals.
Panels are great, but honestly, I'm going to absorb more from those sitting in my quiet car a month from now waiting to pick my kids up from school, than I am in an exhausted and overstimulated state at conference. I made it to 1 panel. My big goal for conference was meeting people, both friends off Facebook (like you lovely lady!) and industry professionals to help inform my next steps for my career. I did both of these because I wasn't sitting at a panel. Which leads me to...
4.) Go in with clear goals and realistic expectations.
I can't do everything. And I don't want to. I knew who I needed to see, reached out ahead of time to plan, and kept my schedule open enough around the big things to have a drink in the bar or a coffee in the hallway. The off-site events I signed up for were great for meeting a lot of particular people in one go instead of trying to track people down one-by-one.
5.) Kind bars, apples, tea and wine.
All things my lovely roommate Jasmine (did I mention I love her?) helped stock our room with. I also packed instant oatmeal packs in my bag and made them with the hot water from the water dispensers, although when I'm not traveling this light, I do pack my go-kettle, because tea is one thing that saves my voice at conferences. Damon Suede recommended a great collapsible silicon one a few years ago and I love it. Having portable food is a must because I rarely sit down for meals unless they are planned. Having wine in the room for me is a budget essential because I can only pay $15 a glass for my seat at the bar so many times, and sometimes I need a little help getting sleepy. Not ideal, I know, but true.
6.) Extra days.
I like to travel and visit new cities. I hate going somewhere and then feeling like I haven't gotten to see anything. So I try and build in a little time before or after to get out of the hotel by myself to explore. This time I hit the ground running, but I had a day and a half after the conference to eat the good food and see some sights. This helped me reset a bit too. My next few weeks sound like yours. I'll be spending the next week theme parking with my three kids, and then the next at a beach house with 5 other families. So tonight I'm curled up in my hotel room waiting for them all to get here, reading, napping, feeding myself, and soaking in the quiet.
7.) I think the best thing you can do for self care is reflect before you go.
What kind of person am I? What part of all this is going to take the most out of me? And then try to be aware of those needs and limitations while you're doing all the things. It's okay to say I need to not do this right now. It's okay to say, I need to meet this person, but the bar isn't going to let me focus on our conversation. Maybe I'll invite her to meet me somewhere else. It's okay to say, I didn't get everything done on my to do list, but I'm inspired and reinvigorated by what I DID get accomplished,...or at least I will be after another nap.