Festivals are supposed to be a celebration of music and art and culture and everything that makes a particular scene absolutely fucking excellent. They’re fun whirlwind days (or entire weekends) where everyone is on the sauce, some one’s on the special sauce (if you know what I mean: durrrrgs), and no one is sleeping much.
That lack of sleep coupled with an oversaturation of alcohol and some music fans’ inherent existential angst can be heaps stressful. There’s a few particular stresses I reckon all of us have experienced that can be managed with a slight realignment of our mental health chakras (by making small changes to our festival routines and ways of thinking, and by becoming a little more invested in our overall sense of wellness).
Let’s show some festival stressors whose boss (it me).
Finding a cute af outfit.
Okay, you may dismiss how much anxiety this brings someone ahead of a festival, but you have never been a slave to style. You’ve gotta find something that works in case it rains, in case it’s super hot, and in case you need to heave yourself through fields of mud. On top of being adaptable, the dream is that you could be one of those people snapped for a Street Style column.
How to combat this style emergency? Plan ahead. Hop on ASOS a few months out so you don’t end up moaning about how your package didn’t arrive in time, and choose something cute and weather-ready. Think dresses with gumboots, dark coloured jeans with a short-sleeved button-up, and carry a jacket with you for good measure. Sorted.
Being pushed and shoved in the moshpit.
You may cry, ‘If you don’t like it, get out!’ but I hustled my way to the front to see my fave act here and you will not move me. This is a particularly unpleasant stressor, in that there’s a definite invasion of personal space at play here, but that shouldn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
Try to let yourself loose, really fully throw yourself into it and sing at the top of your lungs and dance like you’re one of those wacky inflatable arm men. Just try to practice mindfulness – being entirely in the present and letting the experience wash over you. And if that doesn’t work and you’re still feeling claustrophobic, just skidaddle out and watch from further back. It’ll be better for you in the long run.
Feeling exhausted after extricating yourself from that situation? Rest and recuperate. Mental health organisation headspace have a dedicated festival chill out zone at Groovin The Moos, for example.
Waiting in the hideously long bathroom line.
People start coming out in pairs, but the line’s not getting any shorter, and your bladder feels like it’s getting smaller. This is not only hideously frustrating but very very uncomfortable – and there’s nothing sure to make you feel more stressed out than the ever-present fear that you are about to wet yourself at a music festival. Sure, some dudes are taking their chances and peeing behind trees, but that’s gross and you will not be punted outta here before the headliners.
How to get through it? Reciting poetry, counting to ten repeatedly, anything that’ll keep your mind occupied. This could be a good time to open a sudoku app on your phone and try to challenge your brain with something that’s going to make you forget the downward pressure on your bladder.
Getting the hell outta there.
You may just want to get home and into your comfy jammies as soon as the event is over – but so does everyone else. So the queues for the buses and the extra fees on Ubers are ginormous.
The only way to get past this one is just to stay calm and composed. There’s no point pushing past all these jerk-offs because you’ll just find yourself in another queue half a metre on. You’ve just gotta be patient. Use this time to meditate or some shit. You’ve got a mantra don’t ya? How about “This too shall pass” or “It is okay to be where you are.” Or you could channel your parents’ good sense and leave at the start of the encore. Yeah, it’s a bummer, but you’ll be first out, and you’ll still be able to hear the revelry by the gates.
Stewing in the juices of the next day’s hangover/comedown.
If you decided to partake in booze or drugs, heaven help you. Jks, you’re fine. Remember that sickly feeling in the bottom of your stomach, the one that makes you vow to never ever do this again? You will get through this. You’ll shake the headache with some Panadol, at some point you will stop throwing up and be able to eat something solid.
Arm yourself with a hot water bottle, or better yet some squeeze to heat up some soup for you and make sure you’re rehydrating. Another idea: we like to solve literally all our ills by taking a bath – a must-do during this tough period. Take a bath, light a vanilla-scented candle, keep up your fluid intake, remember that you are resilient and strong, and tomorrow will be a better day.
Learn how to ensure every tomorrow is a better day – and that you don’t let any ol’ stresses overwhelm you – with coping and wellness strategies from our pals at headspace HERE.