Gtalked about the day after phenomenon from the outside perspective – I thought I’d add mine and how it feels to be in it.
The day after – in non-medical terms obviously, in medical terms it’s called post fatigue or post exercise malaise. A combination of words that always invokes the image of a fragile women in a regency dress lying on a chaiselongue with a damp cloth over her eyes. (something like that, plus the damp cloth, don’t ask about the visual…)
The day after always hits after an exiting day, no matter what you do, whether you did well or not, whether you wasted time or energy or used it well. Specifics don’t matter. You did something that drains your energy levels way below the allowed level, so you will pay for it. There is no escape, no bargain you can strike. Obviously, you will feel a lot better (mentally and emotionally) if you did something you feel was worthwhile rather than not.
My pre-day-after-strategy always involves trying to bring G along, who will guide me through the day, and now also Micro, who helps with lovely distraction when I get too tense. G said Micro snored loudly at the start of our conference talk… which sounds funny, but it’s his mechanism to calm us down.
For this talk, the accumulation of pre-conference stress was a little extreme (lots of travel, because of parents’ health, moths disaster at home, etc.). This means it takes me a lot longer to ‘bounce back’ afterwards. (If healthy people take a weekend to recover, it will take me 2 weeks). I already knew at the end of June that it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. With accumulated stress, I also have increasing problems with my left side (arm and leg) as I get muscle spasms and/or difficulties to control the leg, put on weight it or lift it up. This means I want to do a little check-in about potential traps (stairs can be tricky), and if I have to stand up for a longer period of time (without a concert dress, where you can hide your legs anyway) – I try to wedge my left leg behind a table or something similar. And then, of course, I choose whether to eat or work. It has always been like that… I don’t have enough energy to both eat and get work done on such days. That means that the day after I’m also constantly sick and hungry at the same time…
In a nutshell, the day after feels like your worst day of flu (flu not cold, cold can be bad, flu is always worse): headaches, fever, everything hurts, cramps everywhere, and concentrating is difficult (understatement). And you know it’s coming, no matter what you do. Well, you can avoid it, if you don’t do anything… at all… for – I don’t know how long. So then there isn’t a day after, since there wasn’t THE day. But somehow not my idea of life. I don’t want you to get a wrong idea: it’s not that I like the day after. I really don’t, and there are moments when I ask myself if it’s worth doing a particular thing that will trigger ‘the day after’. Sometimes it’s not worth it, and sometimes it’s still necessary even if it doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. You’ve got to plan for the day and the day after, and then days after that. Life crawls back to a certain normal after some time. Usually, when the headache lifts and you stop asking yourself if you were completely insane, and you stop telling yourself that you will never (ever!) do whatever it was ever again (in your life). This is the day after. We all have it. We all deal with it in different ways.