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How to look after yourself this party season, according to 7 Australian creatives

IMAGE VIA @CHRISTINALKARRAS/INSTAGRAM
WORDS By Ruby Staley

’Tis the season to thrive, not just survive.

On a recent night out, six vodkas deep on the dancefloor, I realised all too late that I was burning myself out. A wave of pure exhaustion washed over me and panic ensued. Had I pushed myself too hard?

After a year or two of socialising being drastically reduced, there’s no way I’m the only one burning the candle from both ends – going out every chance we can get and forgetting the meaning of the word ‘no’.


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As a seasoned party and event goer and notorious extrovert, social gatherings were what I was most looking forward to post-lockdown. But having jumped straight in the deep end, booking myself most nights of the week and weekends, I’m staring down the barrel at an imminent mental breakdown if I don’t start looking after myself. 

I’m already finding it hard to focus on work and other responsibilities and am constantly clouded by a shocking hangover or thinking about an event on that night, and it’s just not going to work in the long term.

Although there’s a fear in the back of my mind (as I’m sure many others have too) that all this partying could be short-lived due to the threat of another strain, I need to learn how to balance my life a little better. To help me out, I turned to some of my favourite on-stage talents, personas and creatives to give me some tips on how they try to avoid party burnout at this time of year. 

Ebony Boadu, DJ and radio presenter

 

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How do you avoid end of year burnout either from performing or partying?

Outside of DJing I also host breakfast radio which means I’m up at 4am on weekdays. If you’re tired, everything else tends to go downhill pretty quickly so I’ve learnt to take my sleep schedule pretty seriously and how to power nap almost anywhere. If you’ve got back to back plans, figure out which ones you really wanna kick on to and which ones to bail on early.

Since the end of lockdown, have you found you’ve been partying/performing more than usual?

Definitely! While I was locked down I agreed to just about every DJ set that was brought to me because I missed being out so much. Now that everything’s back I’ve been going out and working non-stop. I honestly thought I’d be more anxious getting back into the world but it’s been really nice to see people out together and dancing again. 

Any tips for putting yourself first or looking after yourself this silly season?

One of my favourite things about myself is that I can say no to things pretty easily. I think I’ve grown into it but it’s so important to be able to assess how much you actually want to or need to do something and how much is just coming from a fear of missing out. There’s always more parties, more dinners, more whatever, if you need a night of doing absolutely nothing, you’re entitled to it without having to come up with an elaborate excuse as to why.

@ebonyboadu

Sally Tabart, writer, editor and one half of DJ duo So Much So Much

 

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How do you avoid end of year burnout either from performing or partying?

I don’t! I think it’s kind of impossible, to be honest. When work life and social life are both in turbo mode there’s not much you can really do but hold on for dear life! I guess it’s more about managing it than avoiding it.
Work-wise, around the start of December I usually write out a massive to-do list of things that need wrapping up before the end of the year. I try to be detailed and break the tasks down, and then every day I choose a bunch of things from that list to cross off… 

In terms of social life, I try not to do too much stuff during the week where possible and save the silly stuff for the weekends. If I am catching up with people on multiple weeknights I do my best to only have one drink and drive so that I’m not tempted to blow out, Uber home and rack up a big bill in a time that’s already very exxy. I used to feel pressure to bring the party vibe everywhere I went but now I’m more content being a bit more low key. The last couple of years I’ve also made a big effort to eat as healthily as I can when I can control it at this time of year and exercise three times a week (well aim to lol). It helps stabilise my mental health so much. 

Since the end of lockdown, have you found you’ve been partying/performing more than usual?

Lol yes. Pretty much since the day lockdown ended I’ve had something on every Friday and Saturday night. I’m in the year of 30ths and so many people missed out on celebrating theirs, they’re all catching up for lost time now! Sometimes I get anxious about all the socialising but after so much time locked down, I’m just enjoying being around my friends, getting silly, and not feeling guilty about it. I think the after-effects of lockdown have made it easier for me to be more present which is something I’ve always struggled with. 

Any tips for putting yourself first or looking after yourself this silly season?

This year my version of putting myself first is trying to have as much fun as possible. I’m finishing up my job, which I love, at the end of the year, and I’ve also had so many parties and celebrations on the schedule. Usually, I would be really stressed about getting it all done, but right now I’m just trying to get the most I can out of every day rather than willing them to fly by.

Practically, I’m looking after myself by drinking heaps of water, making sure I get a good soak in the bath once a week, moisturising, looking after my skin, watching heaps of reality TV and exercising. Emotionally, I’m keeping in mind that this could all get taken away at any moment, and to just celebrate being around people I love (and having so many reasons to wear cute outfits). I’m tired and am so looking forward to a chill beach break soon, but in the meantime, I’m having a bloody good time! 

@sallytabs

Cookii, hyperpop artist

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A post shared by cookii (@cookii.mp3)

How do you avoid end of year burnout either from performing or partying?

The end of this year has felt especially go, go, go since coming out of lockdown. Not necessarily from performing or partying, more just general Christmas craziness. But with lockdown being so insanely long, I kind of appreciate the opportunity to even be burnt out in the first place.

Since the end of lockdown, have you found you’ve been partying/performing more than usual?

A little more than usual for sure. Seeing friends again for dinners is a luxury I really missed. Playing our first gig for Melbourne Music Week was probably the highlight of my life. It’s been really nice to feel some normalcy after so long being cooped up.

Any tips for putting yourself first or looking after yourself this silly season?

Watch terrible Christmas movies whenever you can. Find time to relax and just take a breather. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I chuck my headphones in and listen to music really loud, helps every time.

@cookii.mp3

Keely B, disabled and chronically ill content creator and advocate

How do you avoid end of year burnout either from performing or partying?

I think I’m still learning to find that balance after lockdown again! I feel a little burnt out already! Being chronically ill, I’m really good though at telling myself to stop and rest when I need, it’s essential for me to rest, but finding that happy medium again has been hard. So, having me time, doing things I enjoy… [that] make me happy, and saying no to things is really important for me. I try to connect with people in different ways to protect myself.

I know I can go out when I feel better, and I’ll enjoy myself more knowing I’m going out and can truly enjoy myself, without feeling horrible, having anxiety and feeling overwhelmed after. It’s hard to remind myself that when I say no, but I always thank myself later. I also am making sure to have time away in my happy place; by the beach. That’s super important and I always feel so recharged for the new year. I’ll spend some time in the beginning of the new year down there too, so it’s a lovely way to bring the year in.

Since the end of lockdown, have you found you’ve been partying/performing more than usual?

I don’t think so! I go out less. Got that Miss Rona anxiety still. I don’t feel guilty saying no to people now too! I’ve definitely been putting myself first more and trying to protect my mental health as I try to work out lockdown ending and getting back into things, while trying to juggle burnout and chronic illness.

I’ve felt a little overwhelmed with work, life, health, personal and social life, so I’ve really been trying to just do things I truly enjoy to switch off, like spending time with family, having quality time that isn’t forced from lockdown with people I love, and doing simple things I missed. I think I did too much too soon [and] overstepped boundaries I had for myself about going out and making myself feel unsafe.

Any tips for putting yourself first or looking after yourself this silly season?

You can say no. I get that we were locked down for so long, but one thing I learnt in lockdown is how important and relieved we all felt when we knew we would have some time off. Proper self-care is really important! Don’t forget it! 

Having time to switch off, and get away from people too I think is important. This time of year is hard for me, I have happy memories attached to this time of year, but that is why it’s hard, so I’m really big on putting myself first and protecting myself and my mental health, which is exactly why I’m huge on time alone and saying no! It’s what makes it easier for me.

@k__eelz

Reggie Banks, musician

 

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How do you avoid end of year burnout either from performing or partying?

I’ve really focused on treating the end of year as a slice of respite from the early [months of the] year. I’ve made sure to separate myself from the normal day to day at home by spending time in a new environment. This could mean writing music at a cafe versus my home studio. The year is generally filled with agendas, goals [and] sticking to schedules so I think it’s important to also balance that with spontaneity, and being open to experiences. Not being so quick to jump to a ‘no’ response. 

Since the end of lockdown, have you found you’ve been partying/performing more than usual?

I may be a rare case in regards to the lockdowns – I’m from Sydney and was fortunate enough to be asked to relocate to London for two months at the peak of the Sydney lockdown. Basically, I skipped Sydney lockdown and then left before London winter. I landed in a wide-open city with basically zero restrictions or lockdowns. I definitely took full advantage of this and went HAM on the nightlife in London. Definitely no drought of events or pubs in the UK. 

Any tips for putting yourself first or looking after yourself this silly season?

I tend to have a good balance between going out and keeping healthy. I like to keep militant Monday to Friday on eating good food, not drinking (much), training etc, then on [the] weekend let the hair down and not be so strict. I think coming to the end of year it’s nice to have that ‘weekend mentality’ for the full period so you can treat yourself. Everything in moderation is what they say, and I tend to stick by that (unless you’re referring to negronis, don’t let anyone tell you enough is enough).

@reggiebanksmusic

Christina Karras, freelance writer

 

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How do you avoid end of year burnout either from performing or partying?

Something I’m starting to learn is the power of saying no. It’s so easy to feel that pang of FOMO when you decline an invite but I find thinking big picture helps. If I go to this dinner tonight will I have enough energy for that big Christmas party tomorrow? Sometimes staying in (and staying off my phone so I’m blissfully unaware of the fun everyone else might be having without me) can be the recharge my battery needs. I do love a treat yourself moment, so doing something personal and just for fun like getting my nails done, or a massage also helps bring me back to life! 

Since the end of lockdown, have you found you’ve been partying/performing more than usual? 

Yes! I’m a Gemini and an extrovert through and through and have kept myself booked and busy trying to keep up with everyone and all the post-lockdown reunions. I have really been missing all of the fun social stuff but I can feel I’ve overdone it by how exhausted I am. 

Any tips for putting yourself first or looking after yourself this silly season? 

I’m honestly not the best person to dish out advice here as I’m very prone to letting my self-care fall off my to-do list when things get busy, but do as I say, not as I do. Getting enough sleep really is key. And good quality sleep too! Everything just feels so much harder when you’re exhausted. Don’t overextend yourself and try to be everywhere at once. Write lots of lists and cancel plans if you aren’t feeling it. There will be other events and parties and even though it feels like it, people won’t forget you exist if you don’t show up.

@christinalkarras

Laura Woods, writer and founder of Bad Habkits: Kits for All Nighters

 

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How do you avoid end of year burnout either from performing or partying?

I am definitely feeling end of year burnout, mainly in the form of irrational tearfulness and sensitivity. Whenever I feel like this, I get really disillusioned and search for things to be sad about in order to justify my emotional state. I think it’s super important to not feel this need to ‘push through’ work or socialising at this time of year.  

When you run a business and work as a freelancer it can be difficult to slow down and cut back on work, because every hour is more money in the bank. I’ve learnt to not ignore the warning signs because once I hit that brick wall where everything feels like a slog, there’s really no way out except for taking some much-needed R&R. No amount of motivational mantra-chanting and vision boarding can resurrect me once I hit that burnt-out state. 

 Since the end of lockdown, have you found you’ve been partying/performing more than usual?

Actually a lot less! I actually really enjoyed the energy, money and time I saved from not going out. I felt more productive and happier not partying multiple times a week and have found myself enjoying night outs a lot less. Is this from lockdown or growing up? Who knows. 

Any tips for putting yourself first or looking after yourself this silly season?

I think people feel this need to make up for lost time, especially post-lockdown and because it is ‘silly season’. So many times I go out just because I feel like I should, or because I feel like I have to make the most of our newfound freedom. In reality though, so much has changed and we’ve all just lived through a challenging few months (years even!) so it’s important to not feel shame… in wanting to stay in or lay low. 

@laurawoods0

For more tips on avoiding burnout these holidays, try this.

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