Thanks to a good friend of the blog, Alison Griswold for her contribution today. We were both in attendance over the weekend at Steubenville Atlanta, a Catholic youth conference. We had a lot of fun, but oh are we feeling it today. Alison discusses how to deal with the unavoidable “Retreat Hangover” which comes after a crazy weekend of teens, lack of sleep and some amazing prayer time.

The Cure for Retreat Hangovers

It’s Monday afternoon and I’m muddling through the day after spending a great weekend at the Steubenville Atlanta Youth Conference with The Catholic Drinkie … and lots of other fabulous people.  Despite my pleas that The Catholic Drinkie would spike our coffee, it was a sober weekend.  However, Monday morning I woke up with a splitting headache, puffy eyes and awkward pictures tagged on Facebook.  How did this happen?

It has all the makings of a Katy Perry/ Ke$ha song…  But this time, the party didn’t start ‘til God walked in.  Yes my friend, I have a retreat hangover.  The culmination of great music, prayer and community leads to exhaustion that can take the inexperienced by surprise.  It doesn’t mean that you didn’t experience a deepening in your faith, and it doesn’t make you less “hard core” if you need a day or so to recover.  Here are some tips I’ve found helpful:

  1. Get some sleep!  The temptation when you get home can be to upload photos and comment on Facebook, call all your friends and tell them about it, spend three hours in the adoration chapel, read every book you bought.  These are all good things, but when you get in at 11:24 at night fight that temptation.  Unpack your toothbrush, make the sign of the cross and say “Jesus I trust in You” and then get some sleep!
  2. Re-hydrate.  You probably drank more coffee, coke or red bull than your body has consumed in a while.  You may not have been sweating much, but chances are you are dehydrated.  Drink some water along with the gallons of coffee you consume to stay awake the next day.  A salad probably wouldn’t be a bad idea either since a steady diet of pizza, tacos and chick-fil-a require some leafy greens on Monday.
  3. Pray!  It seems like a no-brainer, but after spending a weekend in constant prayer, we can sometimes be so quick to get back into the routine and catch up on what we missed that we forget to actually absorb what we learned over the weekend.  Spend some time in silence before the Blessed Sacrament just processing what you just experienced.  We can be so eager to jump into all the stuff we feel like we’re now being called to do—volunteer more, share our faith with our friends, reach out to those on the fringe, be a missionary to Africa—but the most important calling we have is to holiness.  And that, my friends, is not accomplished without prayer.  Also, keep in mind that with all the good that has happened in your relationship with God, there is an evil one who is going to try to thwart that.  Prayer—especially Mass and the Sacraments are the only way to combat this.
  4. If I’ve spent the weekend as an adult among teens, I also try to either take the next day off or keep my schedule very light.  Once I’ve found the energy to shower and changed out of my graphic tees, I also make plans to hang out with my peers.  Teenagers are a blast, but socializing with others your age is critical to keep it all in perspective.  Just be sure they’re friends who love you enough to just smile and nod when you’re too tired to make sense or forget that people in their 20’s typically don’t shoot straw wrappers at each other at dinner.

This is what I do.  What works for you?

Catch Alison online – she is one of my favorites. You can find her at:
http://twitter.com/alisongriz
http://www.teamcatholic.blogspot.com/