Health · Mental health

My Spoonie Guide to Attending a Convention

I’m attending one of my favorite conferences this week! I’m super excited, but I figured I should make a post with my tips for getting through a convention as a spoonie.

I love going to conferences/conventions! However, my illnesses do not. It’s easy for my anxiety, OCD, and fibromyalgia to give me problems during the week–and I know I’m not the only one. Here’s my guide to attending a convention as a spoonie!

Have a ‘just-in-case’ bag

Those who’ve been to conferences and conventions know that it’s important to be prepared. This goes double if you’re a spoonie. My ‘just-in-case’ bag has anything I could need during the conference including, but not limited to:

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Pain relief (Aspirin, portable hot packs, KT tape, roll-on IcyHot, Salonpas, etc.)
  • Tissues
  • Mobility aid
  • Benadryl
  • Dramamine Naturals (or other anti-nausea medication)
  • Eye drops
  • Gum
  • Chapstick
  • Portable battery/External charger
  • Lotion
  • Snacks
  • 100% dry honey drops (or lozenges if you wish)
  • Hi-Chews (or something small that’s sweet for quick sugar pick-me-up)

All of these items end up being used at some point in time during the convention and are invaluable. The external charger is the best! There’s no anxiety in having to leave my devices to charge somewhere and it saves me from the physical pain that comes with having to sit on the floor during a session to be near an outlet. I recommend this one. It’s pricey (I only have mine thanks to gift cards), but it charges fast and stays charged for weeks. I do believe there’s a smaller one from the same company that works just as well.

Scope out quiet places

Between my fibro, my anxiety, and my highly sensitive nature, sensory overload is inevitable. At convention centers, I’ve found it’s important to locate quiet places where it’s safe to sit when I need a moment to collect myself or decompress. It’s easy to get peopled out, and migraines from the lights and action come out of nowhere. Plus, I think it’s part of Murphy’s law that flare-ups happen during large gatherings, at least in my experience. Find a quiet place where you can comfortably reenergize.

Also, while you’re doing that, you might find it helpful to locate additional bathrooms!

Stop–Or at least tell yourself it’s okay to stop

I’m prone to hyperfocus, and with hyperfocus comes doing too much and sending myself into a flare or fatigue. To minimize this, I tell myself to stop. It’s hard at conferences and conventions because there’s so much to do. However, I remind myself that it’s okay to not do so much. If everyone is in a session at 1:30 in the afternoon, it’s perfectly fine if I’m not. Remind yourself to stop more.

Rest before conference

I’m actually trying this for the first time. Usually, I’m doing a lot beforehand to prepare. I end up tiring myself out before the conference, which is bad news once the week arrives. I wondered if it was more beneficial to save my energy, or at least try to rack up an extra spoon or two, the week before. Last week, I made it a point to rest and do less wherever I could. My goal was to have enough spoons to take on this week.

Will it work? I’ll find out! Though, I have hope that it did the trick. Even though I know it might not last past Tuesday morning, I already feel a little less tired than I usually do right before conference.

What are some of your go-to methods for getting through conventions with chronic illness?