- Avoiding Con Crud: I take a Zinc supplement every day for a week before and also during the convention to give my immune system an extra defense against germs. In addition, I carry my own personal hand sanitizer to use after touching any demo games, and implement the fist bump as an alternative to hand-shakes when greeting people (which is a trick my friend Gil from Formal Ferret Games taught me). Since my voice tends to peace out around the second or third day of most cons, I’ve also started carrying Vitamin C drops that double as throat lozenges to use throughout the show.
- Meal Prep: Taking an hour or more to get lunch at Gen Con isn’t always an option with so many exciting things to see and play, and the food choices in the immediate area don’t always fit my dietary restrictions to begin with (vegetables and non-fried options can be hard to come by). That being said, skipping meals is a NOVICE mistake, and can be avoided easily by taking some extra time to prepare in advance.
Every year, when I arrive in Indianapolis, I take an hour or two to walk or uber to a nearby market and purchase some food to keep in my hotel room, and some to carry with me in my bag at the show. By ensuring that I have fruit/vegetable juice every morning before hitting the hall, I know I won’t be toast by noon, and I usually take about 30 minutes to run to my hotel to make a sandwich in the afternoon instead of waiting in long lines at one of the busy lunch spots near the convention center. I also pack protein bars, nuts, and clementines in my purse in case I start to feel peckish throughout the day. It might seem excessive, but it helps keep me functioning at a high level for days on end.
- Water: Hydration is just as important as nutrition, and if you’re doing it on a budget, bringing your own reusable water bottle is a smart way to ensure you stay hydrated. There are bubblers installed throughout the convention center, and I find that simply carrying my thermos with me and filling it up whenever I pass one prevents nasty headaches that I get when I don’t drink enough throughout the day. Plus, more bathroom breaks = more hand-washing, which never hurts.
- Sleep: I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but most people don’t realize that less than 7 hours of sleep a night is technically sleep deprivation. While it can be super tempting to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to party, game, or both in the company of friends you don’t see very often, your brain will absolutely turn to pudding if you don’t get enough recovery time in between all the fun. I FORCE myself to budget 6-8 hours a night, depending on my wake-up schedule, and in order to help me create a restful environment at the noisy hotel, I carry a portable sound machine with me when I travel (less than $20 online), and meditate before bed to help me unwind from the day’s activities.
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