The scene is a familiar one. You worked for months to prepare for your big event - you sweated, obsessed, planned, rehearsed and then, in the blink of an eye, it is over. It is common to feel a sense of let-down after the completion of something into which you have put a lot of energy, emotion and time. We all experience a multitude of different kinds of these big events all through our lives, as do our kids, our colleagues, and our loved ones. These big events might be a significant social occasion that has been a long time in the making (eg/ a wedding), a personal milestone that you worked toward and completed (eg/ running a marathon), the opening of a concert, a production or a store opening in which you were involved, a big product launch for your company, or perhaps the big event is simply that holiday you had planned for so long.
And then, all too soon, it is over. The thing you busted your butt for, focused your energies on, obsessed about, talked about and the thing that you put everything off until "after" ....is over. "Post-Event-Depression" sets in. So how do you handle that? How do you get re-juiced? How do you recover?
The stages below are critical to be able to properly "conclude" your big event, give props to the journey that got you there, and then to help you get into the beautiful, exciting, and exhilarating stage of looking forward and building for the future. These three stages do not necessarily happen in a linear fashion and can frequently overlap, or you may move back and forth between them. And, most important for all you high-achievers reading this, is to remember that there is no timeline on moving through these stages! So relax, and enjoy each peak and valley of this wonderful life - for they are all important pieces of the pie.
Three Stages of Post-Event Recovery
Reflect and Rest:
Notice any feelings that you or others that were involved in your event may be experiencing. Are you disappointed? Exhausted? Happy? Elated? Just "Blah"? Accept that you may have conflicting feelings of elation, exhaustion and letdown that rise up at different times of the day or week and that is perfectly okay. You might feel hyper, and you might feel like crashing. Just notice...and acknowledge those feelings. Discuss the feelings with someone close to you. If you are the leader of a group, share how you are feeling with the group. Allow yourself and your group to feel whatever it is you feel and don't be alarmed if the emotions are widely varied and shift on a dime.
Recognize that you need to regenerate and allow and give yourself adequate nurturing time and space to replenish your energy and revive.
Remember and Revel:
Think about your event, your achievement, your "party." Recognize the highlights, talk about the event, look at the photos, laugh and debrief. Keep the positive memories flowing around that event. Create a visible reminder for yourself - a framed photo? A new screensaver? A month anniversary to celebrate? No, this is not "living in the past", it is simply giving the proper credit to a significant time in your life. Continue to celebrate your achievement. Revisit your achievement, your big event. You deserve this.
Revive and Re-ignite:
Start thinking about what you want to create for the future. What exciting event do you imagine in your future? How will you build on your past success? Be sure to keep your thoughts and discussions very firmly in the: What you WANT for the future rather than what you DON'T want. Re-ignite your and your group's passion by dreaming of the future possibilities. What is your future vision? What are you dreaming about? What feels connected and aligned with your personal vision? And yes, get excited again.
"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls butterfly" - Lao Tzu
photo credit: Eleanor Rosenberg & Noah Drew