Self-Care During Industry Events

Self-Care During Industry Events

Protecting your own well-being and happiness is particularly important during periods of stress. Working in adult can certainly come with its own unique daily stressors — and pressures and expectations rarely get more intense than during industry events.

Whether it’s trade-only or a fan expo, public events require you to expend a lot of energy and be “on” all the time. This makes it extra important to stay aware of what is impacting your stress level, mental health and overall mind/body experience, and to take time to stop and ask yourself what you need.

With so much on your plate, you don’t want self-care to become yet one more complicated chore to add to the pile.

Below are some tips for safeguarding and optimizing your health and wellness before, during and after an event.

PEPSS and HALT: Self-Care Shortcuts

With so much on your plate, you don’t want self-care to become yet one more complicated chore to add to the pile. Fortunately, two acronyms can help streamline your self-care check-ins: PEPSS and HALT.

PEPSS stands for “Physical, Emotional, Practical, Spiritual, Social.” PEPSS is the “phone, wallet, keys” of self-care: It helps you run down a list of basic self-care needs to determine which is most important for you at any given moment.

• Physical: Physical self-care takes care of our body or releases bodily tension. That can include getting an adequate amount of sleep; taking a shower; consistent healthy eating/nutrition; staying hydrated, exercise and movement like workouts, yoga, stretching and massage; sex and masturbation; wearing comfy shoes; or simply feeling the sunshine on your face for 20 minutes.

• Emotional: Emotional self-care addresses mental and emotional needs. It might mean mindfulness work, box breathing, somatic relaxation exercises or meditation using apps like Calm or Headspace; journaling your feelings; talking to a friend or healer; therapy; reading a book; or exposing yourself to art and music that soothes you.

• Practical: Practical self-care is about accomplishing concrete tasks and crossing them off your to-do list to alleviate stress and anxiety. Whether it’s responding to emails and cleaning out your inbox, running errands, giving yourself extra time to prepare for tasks or cleaning your home, the important thing is to deal with each item on your plate one at a time while giving yourself grace and compassion, and understanding that we can’t do it all. Practical self-care can also mean giving yourself permission to not do something, and to feel OK about it.

• Spiritual: Spiritual self-care means getting in touch with your soul, spirit, beliefs and/or connection with a higher power. For many people, connecting to their spiritual self helps them feel more centered and empowered, with heightened self-worth. This can be experienced through prayer, astrology, connections to nature and animals, self-love and other self-care behaviors like meditation, yoga and mindfulness.

• Social: Social self-care involves our interpersonal connections with others, which make us feel less alone. We can reaffirm and reinforce these attachments and bonds through meetups with friends and loved ones, talking on the phone or texting, group chats, playing video games with others in person or online, interactions with pets or scheduling one-on-one time if crowds are overwhelming.

The other acronym to remember is HALT, which means “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.” HALT is like figuring out why your car won’t start! It can be especially beneficial in those particularly stressful moments when you really need a self check-in. Developing awareness of the factors that deplete us helps us strategize ways to address each potential issue.

• Hungry: Check in with your basic physiological needs. Are you hungry? Do you need a snack? Have you been drinking enough water? Do you need some caffeine to help you wake up?

• Angry: Check in emotionally. Are you mad, irritable, anxious or upset? Can you figure out where those feelings are coming from?

• Lonely: Check in socially. Most people are lonely, and big events can exacerbate this. Do you need to make an effort to be social and feel more connected to others? Or do you need more space?

• Tired: Check in on your sleep. It’s often hard to sleep in a new environment like a hotel, or wind down after long days of energetic socializing. Can you adjust your schedule or strategize ways to improve your sleep while attending an event?

Make a Contract With Yourself

Just like being accountable to others sometimes helps us stay on top of our external responsibilities, making a contract with yourself can help you turn that level of awareness inward. Ask yourself what you are okay with and not okay with during this trip and event.

For example: “I’m going to schedule breaks whenever I’m on my feet for more than X hours at a time. My breaks will incorporate drinking water, having a snack, taking deep breaths and getting off my feet for at least X number of minutes.” Or if you recognize that you need a good night’s sleep for better emotional regulation, set yourself a limit on how late you can stay out. Formulating healthy boundaries ahead of time can help with self-discipline.

Some folks write out their contract, and even set alarms throughout the day to reread it as a reminder to keep themselves accountable. Others incorporate friends or colleagues into their self-contracts for accountability, or join in a self-care experience together. You might invite a friend to hang out together quietly in the room instead of at a late-night party, and set that up in advance. Or if you do go to a party, have a buddy system where you both leave together.

Of course, you don’t want your self-care contract to become one more source of stress! So give yourself permission to be flexible. You might decide to stay up late because a networking opportunity is too good to pass up, but then allow yourself to sleep in the next day. If your goal was seven hours of sleep per night, it’s fine if you get those hours in from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. instead of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Be kind to yourself and make adjustments as needed.

Pack a Self-Care Bag

A self-care bag can contain anything that helps you feel more grounded and safe, or addresses specific stressors. Some examples are pictures and videos of animals or loved ones, calming essential oils, water and snacks, lotion, earplugs or headphones, something tactile like a stuffed animal or soft blanket, a portable massager, meds and other substances you deem supportive to your self-care, a book, a bath bomb, a fidget spinner, a battery pack or a charger for your phones so you can make calls for support, play video games, watch animal videos, etc.

Pineapple Support Relaxation Rooms

A wonderful place for some downtime is the Pineapple Support relaxation room at adult industry events. There you will find friendly faces who are happy to talk and lend support. You’ll also likely find scheduled mindfulness and relaxation activities such as meditation and yoga, or simply a quiet place to sit on the couch, grab something to hydrate and recharge. Check the event website to see what Pineapple Support is offering at the industry event you are attending.

Strategize Your Self-Care

Self-care looks different for each individual, so take some time to figure out what kind of self-care will help you relax and recharge before, during and after events. Do you tend to overextend yourself at events, and end up feeling depleted by the afternoon? Schedule breaks and ways to recharge your battery throughout the event. After events are over, do you experience severe “con drop” that leaves you feeling down and exhausted? Schedule post-event time with partners and friends, therapy sessions, and additional self-care.

We’re all human, so during busy times like events, when we give so much of ourselves and our energy to our work, fans and colleagues, most of us could use some relief, relaxation and recharging. Whether it’s packing your nightly melatonin, scheduling video calls with your partner at home, going outside for 10 minutes of deep breathing near the pool, or looking at the schedule and carving out breaks and downtime, we hope you will prioritize your needs to give yourself the health and wellness self-care that you deserve.

Hernando Chaves, MFT is a licensed sex therapist in Beverly Hills who has written and consulted on instructional sex education/therapy videos for Penthouse, Evolved and BaDoinkVR, and volunteered for Pineapple Support, FSC and APAC. Visit drhernandochaves.com. Nicoletta Heidegger, MFT is a licensed sex therapist in LA who hosts the “Sluts and Scholars” podcast, works as a Pineapple Support therapist and advocates for the adult industry. Visit nicolettavheidegger.com.

Copyright © 2024 Adnet Media. All Rights Reserved. XBIZ is a trademark of Adnet Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.

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