Dude, Are You Dehydrated?

When we’re at the convention we’ve been looking forward to all year, we want to feel our best. We want to be in fighting form to be able to squeeze every drop of fun out of our weekend! Much like training to run a race, we’ve got to take extra good care of ourselves to be able to withstand the feats of daring-do! If we’re going to walk 5 times as far as customary, sleep ½ as much as usual, and perhaps enjoy some adult beverages, we’ve got to check under the hood and make sure to top off the oil!

What if I told you there was something you could do to support your brain, muscles, and internal organs that was free and doesn’t have to take up any precious convention time? DRINK WATER. Most conventions have water stations conveniently located throughout the event venue. Use them! Quaff a glass of water with your favorite anime, and if you’re at a dance, make sure you’re drinking enough to keep up with your sweating.

Hydrate!

How do you know if you’re drinking enough water? Well, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. But if you need a more concrete indicator, take a look at the color of your pee. Ideally, your urine is mostly colorless and transparent (except in the mornings when it will be more concentrated). If it’s bright yellow, or heaven forbid, cola-colored, DUDE, you’re dehydrated! Drink water now!

Handy-dandy urine color chart.

What are the consequences of pretending you’re a camel and not keeping hydrated? The most common thing folks notice, something that sends them to first aid in droves at conventions, is headaches. Sure, the bright lights, noise, and crush of fellow fan-folk doesn’t help, but if you’re dehydrated, you’re going to have the Lord Orc of all Headaches. Along with your headache, you’ll be tired and cranky, have bad breath, and you’re likely to crave sweets that are going to make you feel worse when you get that sugar crash. Ignore those warning shots across your bow, and you’re looking at dizziness and muscle cramps. Keep that up, and you risk falling down a dangerous dehydration cliff that can end in rhabdomyolysis, which is even less fun that it sounds. Then you have to go to the hospital, which means you miss that late-night panel you had your eye on.

So, keep an eye on your pee, and drink enough water to stay out of the yellow zone. It’s a free and easy way to help ensure that your convention is the most fun it can be!

Mind Your Mind

This post is authored by By Jennifer Clark, LMSW and Mickey Desai.

In Usagi Medical Group’s ongoing series to help you maximize your con-going experience, we’ve compiled a short list of tips and resources that you may find useful if you or someone you know is suffering from some variety of mental-health issues during your con.  These issues are not always easy to identify, and may range from anxiety attacks to self-esteem problems, addictions to body-image issues, or even just good old-fashioned depression.  

A quick reminder that the UsagiMed room(s) are always available as Safe Spaces to anyone who needs them.  UsagiMed provides non-judgmental service and support and welcomes anyone who feels they need a safe, quiet place to rest at any time during the con.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed-out, isolated (yes, it happens in crowds), just need to chill out, or need someone to talk to, visit the UsagiMed people at your con.

Your con may have additional spaces: At Anime Weekend Atlanta, Safe Spaces are designated with a teal ribbon (which is the ribbon for anxiety and ptsd awareness) and the words “Safe Space” on them. Hospitality Services offers space to both crew and con goers. Accessibility Services has designated areas as well. Check with your convention to see what resources are available.

If you or someone you know is struggling, here are some quick tips and coping strategies:

  1. Get connected.  In the world of mental-health, even tiny moments of connection and understanding can have a tremendous impact for someone who might be struggling.  It is too easy to suffer silently.  It may seem preferable to isolate.  Instead, reach out to your friends–the people you trust.  There’s no harm in saying, “I’m having a hard time with this.  I think I need a minute.”
  2. Similarly, let your friends know you care.  If you should happen to see someone struggling, don’t try to fix them.  Ask them if they’re okay.  If they want to talk about it, just listen.  Don’t offer solutions.  Don’t try to diagnose.  Don’t try to fix anything.  Simply listen to your friend.  Let them know you care for them, and that you will support them in their journey towards being emotionally healthy.
  3. Remember your boundaries with other people. In your day to day life, you have developed coping skills to help you deal with other people and stressors. These don’t have to fall away simply because you are at con. Remember what your triggers and warning signs look like. Avoid the drama llamas who you know might be triggering. Don’t be afraid to share your boundaries with your con buddies, so they can help you enforce them as well.
  4. Know your healthy patterns, keep to them as much as you can at con. How much sleep do you usually need to keep your mental health on track? How much daily caffeine do you normally take? When and how much do you eat on a daily basis to keep healthy? When you’re at con, it’s too easy to deviate from “normal,” and you will crash, which brings an end to your fun. Stick to your routine as much as you are able.
  5. If you can’t stick to your regular routine, please Eat Healthy and  Take Rest.  Give your body the resources it needs to be healthy.  If you eat poorly, don’t get enough water, and run yourself into the ground, your body will find ways to make you stop and rest even if you don’t want to.  Or worse, you might become a grumpy bastard if you don’t get enough sleep and try to compensate with too much caffeine. (Trust us, nothing good comes of this.) So plan accordingly, employ the 5-2-1 rule, and treat yourself right.
  6. TAKE YOUR MEDS! Do we really need to tell you this? You know what happens when you don’t take your meds?  Bad things.  Bad things happen.  Take your freakin’ meds, already.  Sheesh.

If you need some extra help, UsagiMed will support you in finding it. Help may not be that far away. Please follow this link for a list of nationally available resources.

The quest to mental health begins with you, but remember that you are not alone in that journey.

Heading to MTAC Lunar

We’re heading back to Nashville, Tennessee for the 2019 Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (MTAC)! We will be on-site providing our Walk-In Clinic and Emergency Medical Response services.  

As you’re getting ready for MTAC, remember to break in your shoes. Blisters suck. Remember the 5-2-1 Rule. (Especially the 1 part.) And remember to STAY HYDRATED. We want to see you, and we want to see you having as much fun as possible.

We’re looking forward to seeing some old friends and making new ones while we’re there. Stop by to say hi and get a cool sticker!

Oh yeah! I’m sure you don’t need the reminder to bring your meds. And if you’re sick, consider protecting others. See you soon!