Guide To Health and Happiness on the Playa, Written by Little Woo –>For more visit her site!
1) Getting Sufficient Sleep At Burning Man (It is possible!) My basic sleep schedule on Mon-Tues at the event: – Go to bed around 1am and get up around 8am. – It’s a chance to enjoy the early morning activities at the Burn because later in the week, I will turn to my nighttime schedule to play under the stars! My basic sleep schedule from Wedn-Sunday: – Sleep right after dinner when it’s cooler (approx 9pm-1am = 4 hours) – Stay up for the nighttime fun (1am-8am) – Enjoy the gorgeous sunrise, one of my favorite times in the desert (6am) – Sleep again in the cooler morning hours (8am-11am = 3 hours) Though I don’t keep to this schedule on a rigid basis, it’s a guideline that may help you remain in good health during the week at Burning Man and even return home rested! Tips: Keep an alarm clock near your bed and use it to wake up at 1am, otherwise you may sleep through the night. Get a quiet battery-powered fan that you can use between 8am-11am – really keeps it cooler in your vehicle or tent. The one I found is about 10 inches high and quiet.
2) Pacing Yourself With the extreme temperature and constant stimuli, you will want to understand your body’s limits and needs! Here Are 6 Things To Observe And Honour: ~ How does your body tolerate heat/sun? Protect your skin & stay cool during the daytime. ~ How does your body respond to the dusty environment? Take care of your body. ~ Do you need more or less food than usual? ~ Do you need more or less sleep than usual? ~ You will need to drink more water/electrolytes than usual (always keep water and snacks with you) ~ If you enjoy substances ranging from alcohol to whatever, consider pacing yourself here too. When doing substances, ensure you are with friends you trust and ask for emotional support if you really need it. Tips: Be well-rested early in the week and choose specific nights to party hard. For example: I may play hardest on Wednesday and Saturday, with some more easy-going days in between to recover.
3) Releasing The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) With all the incredible art and activities going on 24-7 at Burning Man, FOMO is a mindset that many people can experience during the event. It causes anxiety and stress when you think you are going to miss out! Be it a piece of art, a workshop, a party or a person, you owe it to yourself to be fully present in the moment. If your heart calls you elsewhere, by all means follow it but if you cannot get settled, cannot focus or feel strangely restless, take a moment to breathe deeply and appreciate what is happening before you. My friend Erik Paulsson (who has shared his tips at previous Burner Schools) had a lovely suggestion for anxiety at Burning Man: Go to the deep playa (go past the Man, out towards the fence) and meditate. It is very peaceful out there and easier to calm oneself. You will be away from the mayhem of the “city”. Looking at the wide stretch of desert and mountain range, the deep playa is a truly beautiful and effective retreat, the one people also get when go for the Spirit Plant journeys. See related articles: Saying No With Love and Fear of Missing Affection
Connection: Enjoy the intimacy and humanity you will experience from being with old and new friends. Be it a mutual moment on the dance floor, watching the sunrise with someone or witnessing their tears at the Temple, each human has a story worth hearing and understanding. Our ability to connect with our heart is the greatest gift on the playa and beyond.
Community: If you’ve ever felt loneliness, experiencing community is beautiful medicine for the heart and soul. You’ll be witness to all the glorious forms of community at Burning Man. Soak it in. From small groups of friends to gigantic theme camps, you will traverse many bubbles of tribal bliss and blight. At times, you may feel socially embraced or you may feel oddly alone. Either way, celebrate the joint effort and shared resources that are visible everywhere. Trust that you do belong and that you are wanted on this cosmic voyage…
Gratitude: What we appreciate will appreciate in value! Take moments throughout the Burn to enjoy all that is offered… from the epic to the mundane. If you are having troubles, just remember all the beauty that is available to you. Even in that moment of pain, you can find something to appreciate and gain perspective. Gratitude is the quickest way to shift into a healthy mindset, no matter where you find yourself.
Presence: My greatest meditation each day is the moment by moment practice of Presence. Whether the experience is pleasant or painful, being present allows us to really receive the full experience. If it is a pleasant moment, we can really enjoy it fully and not take it for granted. If it is unpleasant, our conscious presence reduces the fear factor and even activates natural hormones/endorphins to assist us. There is something to learn from even the darkest moments if we don’t run from it.
Surrender: This is part of the practice of Presence. Wherever you find yourself, you can learn to surrender to the experience. It is about residing in a fine balance between effort (research, preparation, work, action) and surrender (trust, spontaneity, acceptance and presence). In every given moment, there is a duality of Effort (doing) and Surrender (being). Yes you can take action towards your goals or wishes, but the ability to release expectations and experience the now moment is the highest form of Surrender. Gentleness: On the playa, the drama of life plays in full 3D Technicolor, turned up to 11.
The desert may amplify your strengths AND your triggers. The heat, the dust, the wind, the dehydration, the sleep deprivation, the constant stimulation of noise, music, people, art and activity could push you over the edge if you are not gentle with yourself. I’ve seen really solid, grounded and normally easygoing people break down after the elements wore down their bodies and their patience. The true practice of gentleness is not the path of a weakling. It is the path of wisdom and compassion. It’s your ability to take stock of the bigger picture and choose the more loving action. It’s also a chance to recognize the impact of the environment and not take things personally. If you notice yourself getting frustrated, short-fused or anxious – give yourself a time-out. You may need a cold shower (heaven on the playa), some electrolytes or a nap.
If you notice someone else get agro or easily triggered, they too may simply need to rest and take care of themselves. In many cases, Dr.Jekyll becomes Mr.Hyde from dehydration, sunstroke or overwhelment. So don’t be hard on yourselves – be gentle. There are a lot of ambitious people and projects at Burning Man, but the most important thing we can share is kindness. So be kind and take care of each other. Make that your secret gift to yourself and others as you go play in the desert…
Thank you Little Woo!
More Burning Man pages:
Keeping Cool In Extreme Heat – Ideas From Burning Man