The struggle is real. We have all been there after a great weekend: suddenly alone, wanting to grin and cry in equal measure. Post-festival depression is the worst part of loving live music.
You’re mentally exhausted from the sheer amount of fun you’ve had. At best you’re a hungover, sunburned mosquito-feast, at worst you’ve sustained an actual injury. You’re bruised and broken from the physical exertion of a ‘holiday’: mosh pits, human pyramids, sleeping on floors.
You’ve showered but you can’t cleanse your insides; sitting in the office on Monday morning feeling like a ragdoll stuffed with shit spaghetti, desperately hoping none of your colleagues notice your mental state.
In the weekend punk-bubble it’s completely appropriate to curl up in a ball on the floor if you need to, to joke about your hands shaking or your jaw aching. You can show off your pit bruises and laugh about all the stupid things you did when you were peak drunk.
Suddenly, Monday comes and you’re crash landing into the reality of your day job, forced to keep schtum about this ‘other life’ you’re living. When your colleagues have innocently spent the weekend ferrying their kids to swimming lessons, doing a spot of gardening and redecorating their kitchens, you can’t exactly counter it with tales of gincidents, Class A’s and a complete disregard for your own physical well-being. When you’re enduring this inevitable dip, the worst part is that you have to keep quiet and pretend you’re totally fine.
Having experienced the crushing loneliness of post-festival depression umpteenth times now, I wanted to share my advice on overcoming it.
Reach out to your friends
There’s a good chance that they’re feeling just as shit as you are, so reach out to your mates and make sure they’re okay. Share the pain. The post-fest depression hits us all at different times; for me it’s usually about half an hour after I say goodbye to the last person I see, when it’s had a little time to sink in. It might vary a bit depending on the strength of your bangover, how long your journey home is or who you’re going home to.
Book in the next event
Having something to look forward to is essential to surviving the post-festival crash, but actually booking tickets makes you feel like you’re doing something productive to aid your recovery. Check out the other festivals that are going on, so that you can do it all over again, if your wallet can handle it. Even if you can’t book in another festival just yet, find something else fun to get into your calendar – a new gig, a trip to the pub, a mate-date with someone you’ve not seen in a while.
Treat yourself to some new music
Hopefully you discovered some decent new bands over the weekend – why not spend that extra couple of quid and pick up a new album to lose yourself in? Take some proper time, pick out an album and give it a decent listen. Not just a once-over on a streaming service, a proper sit-down-and-absorb-it listen like people used to have before MP3s happened. Nothing fixes a bad mood the way new music does. Alternatively, if you’re feeling frugal, dig out one of your favourite albums of all time and absolutely blast it. Fuck the neighbours.
Make some notes
You’re bubbling with stories and in-jokes but suddenly there’s no one to share them with; your nonplussed housemate won’t understand why ‘ladder crab’ or ‘Rossi’ is so hilarious right now. There are so many little moments over a long weekend that could easily be forgotten in a wave of debauchery, so a good way to relive and remember them is to write them down, good or bad. Whether it’s catching Propagandhi’s plectrum in your cleavage, drinking Aldi-sourced DIY bucks fizz for breakfast, or laughing at your mate falling asleep in the venue toilets, recording those little moments will always lift your mood. Fancy going the whole-hog and writing a festival review? Send it our way.
Make sure you’ve got real food in the house
I recently returned home from Belgium to discover that the only thing in my fridge was a case of lager. It would have been all too easy to eat yet another beige pasta dish, but after a weekend fuelled solely by crisp-sandwiches, alcohol and relentless enthusiasm, I was seriously in need of something green. I used to order a delivery from Sainsbury’s to arrive shortly after I was due home, or to make sure I had a pizza in the freezer ready to go. Having a proper, healthy meal will have you feeling human again in no time – plan ahead.
Have a beer
This sounds counterintuitive, but I find it really helps. I don’t want to encourage anyone to day-drink, but after a heavy weekend I find that a beer or a gin-tin on the train really helps me to feel sane for a few minutes. Yes, I’m aware this is probably a warning sign of alcohol dependency but, fuck it, treat yo’self.
Focus on the good things
It’s important to have something to be grateful for, to give you the hope to keep going. That’s easier said than done when you’ve just hit rock bottom, having to lie on the floor of a toilet cubicle in Salzburg airport for an hour, with vomit pathetically falling out of your face. Still, on Monday morning I managed to find some joy in the sunshine, driving to work with the windows down, skate-punk blaring at full volume into Manchester’s dreary side-streets. Appreciate the minute miracles in your day; find something to be grateful for.
When you’re crashing down to earth, remember that you’re not alone and that every second of it is worth it. You’re part of a beautiful community of like-minded music lovers who are suffering this Monday just as you are.
Explore our #MentallySound series for more articles about mental health in music.
Article by Sarah Williams.