Staying healthy is often an overlooked part of a successful Burning Man experience. With Black Rock City bumping 24/7, the temptation is to go as hard as you can until you leave and pick up the pieces off-playa. But a bit of planning and self-care can make a tremendous difference in your quality of life during Burning Man and in the weeks that follow.
Many people get sick when they return home from Burning Man, so many that it has a name, “playa flu.” Some folks also suffer bouts of depression upon returning. The common refrain is don’t make any major life changes immediately after the event. Adding to this advice, here are some things we’ve learned about staying healthy during and after Burning Man.
Get Some Sleep
We can’t emphasize this enough. If you don’t get much sleep for a week while partying really hard, your immune system is going to get run down, and you’re going to get sick. Build some time in every day to get sleep. Put some thought into your sleep environment to make sure it has what you need for you to get quality rest.
Wash Your Hands
70,000 people in one place without easy access to water means there’s far too little hand-washing going on, especially after using the port-o-potties. Bring some hand sanitizer with you. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water as often as you can.
Protect Against Dust
Getting a lot of dust in your sinuses can lead to upper respiratory infections that take a long time to heal. Use your dust mask, even when it’s not exactly a white out and you’re not sure you need it. Some people swear by neti pots, but you must be very careful to use sterile water with these to avoid infection, something that isn’t always easy to do on playa.
Drink More Water
Very few people drink anywhere near the amount of water they need to stay properly hydrated in the desert, in the sun, at altitude. Always keep water with you. Always be drinking. Keep an eye on your urine color as a guide. (You’re shooting for very light yellow.) Don’t forget to mix in some electrolytes as well through things like Gatorade and salty snacks.
Eat Something Healthy
Mix in some vegetables and leafy greens with what you’re eating. Take some vitamins. Try to up the nutritional content of what you’re consuming whenever you can.
Wear Sturdy Footwear
Some of the worst preventable accidents at Burning Man come from people stepping on sharp things on the playa like rebar. Don’t let this be you! Wear sturdy boots.
Also, the playa contains basic, corrosive alkaline dust that will dry and crack your feet. Take those flip flops off and put on your boots. When needed, mix some acidic vinegar and water into a bucket and wash the dust off your feet.
Bring A Bit of Burning Man Home With You
A fair number of people attending Burning Man get the blues for a while when they get back home. Work and home life seems to miss some of the magic that’s found on the playa.
To combat this, spend some time thinking about what you really miss from Burning Man. Is it connecting with people? It is being spontaneous? Is it dressing up in costumes? Whatever you’re missing after some self-reflection, see if you can find some of these things at home. Many burners try to live the lifestyle year-round. Connect with Us and join us for fun activities and projects off the playa.
We’ve talked a lot about what to do at Burning Man, let now turn to Common Mistakes new burners make in our next article.
(Background photo courtesy of Burners.me)