The Morning After: The Art of Surviving Workshops, Retreats and Conferences

REBOOT!I’m leaving my home at 4am on Saturday morning to fly out to DC for Computers in Libraries 2013. So, as I prepare of the trip I’m once again thinking about just how I’ll survive the experience. Then this came across my screen this afternoon.  There have been many many blog post about how to survive a conference. This one on the ReidAboutSex blog however, not only addresses common issues such as keeping yourself hydrated but also offers advice when it comes to the impact of conference attendance on your relationship with your significant other.

Multi-day workshops, retreats and conferences can be life-changing. They can also be life-draining. While multiple-day experiences allow attendees to put on their “workshop wetsuits” and dive deep into the waters of transformation, they can also stress our nervous and immune systems, and strain relationships in counterproductive ways.

Properly preparing for your “dive” and good self-care during your experience can help you stave off a cold, absorb more knowledge, and avoid capsizing your relationships. Knowing how to “resurface” after deep, intense, social and learning experiences is a skill set worth its weight in gold!  Ye who ascends to the surface of day to day living too quickly after a conference or retreat has primed thyself for a wicked case of the “Conference Bends!” (Commonly known as “Con-Drop.”)

As a Jacques Cousteau of the sex ed world, I’ve attended, spoken at, or organized over one hundred conferences and immersive workshop learning experiences. I’ve learned the hard way what I need to recuperate quickly after such adventures. And as someone who also teaches other educators, workshop leaders, and “Muggles” (people who aren’t teachers/educators/professionals in the sex ed realm) how to navigate powerful experiences, here are some super useful tips, tricks and approaches that can help you midwife yourself from life-changing experiences back into the “default world.”

What follows below are some quick tips, explanations and exercises I’ve found invaluable. May they serve you well!

If you’re a first time conference attendee you should definitely read the full article. Even if you’re a long-time attendee I can say that there was some great advice that I’ll be trying out this time around.

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