MUN conferences tend to be very emotionally demanding: we meet new people, chat a lot, and do a lot of public speaking and negotiating. Those of us in crisis cabinets know the feeling of adrenaline rushing as the fast-paced events occur and await our quick response. We work hard but we also tend to let loose Saturday night at the delegate social. We are sleep-deprived and sometimes skip the lunch in order to sort out that last amendment. Those all are the realities of the MUN life we all know and love!
All of the above are stresses our body has to experience and ultimately pay for after the conference. In this article, I will try to get together some pieces of advice on how to relax and recover after an MUN conference.
Tip 1: Drink plenty of fluids
Regardless of whether you are a big party-person or prefer to sit in the quiet of your hotel room and do some politics research, you probably were too busy to worry about your hydration. Although the research provides no evidence that caffeine causes body dehydration, there is a direct link between hydration and stress reduction as all of our organs, including brains that we exploit so much during the conferences. We ultimately need water to work well. If you’re dehydrated, your body cannot function well which is a stress.
Tip 2: Let it go
You need to stop thinking about the events in the conference, whether they are your best memories or worst nightmares. You need to let those thoughts go and focus on your studies and normal routine. Otherwise you could suffer from post-MUN blues where you (depending on your MUN role) either want to call the people around you to order, or appeal to your groupmates as “fellow delegates”. The best way to stop thinking about the conference’s events is to speak to people who have done Model UN. Ideally, speak to a fellow MUNer who knows the meaning of the word “caucus” and would share your shame when the nasty chair reminded you to stop referring to yourself in first person singular. You will benefit from a private conversation more, as a group discussion will turn into a sub-conscious completion where everyone is eager to share but no one bothers to listen.
Speak, reflect on your feelings, consider all “I wish I did that instead!” and make a note of it for the future (in your MUN diary if you keep one), but then let it go.
Tip 3: Unpack your suitcase, do your laundry and sort out your conference notes.
Don’t delay with unpacking and sending your clothes to where they belong after a conference, namely to the laundry. I tend to forget what I was wearing in the conference, so unless I unpack and wash clothes straight away, I then face a big dilemma of whether the blouse is actually clean or just spent a while in the wardrobe?
Same importantly, sort out your notes, those little diplomatic messages and hand-written draft resolutions. If you don’t do it straight away, you will forget what it all about! Annotate if necessary what you are going to keep and throw away the rest.
Tip 4: Have a warm herbal bath
Even if you had a proper access to washing facilities, nothing compares to a feeling of relaxation you enjoy when having a lovely bath. Herbal additives or bath salts of your choice can help you to unwind.
Tip 5: Praise yourself!
Last but not the least: you worked very hard during the conference, and you spent a lot of time preparing. It does not matter if you got an award or not, but you did a great job. Say thank you to yourself and praise yourself in a way you deserve. For some it would catching up on their favorite TV shows while wearing their favorite pajamas and having a delicious takeaway, while others would like to catch up with friends over a pint of ice cream. Find a way that suits you and enjoy!
Tip 6: Catch up on sleep
It is inevitable that you are getting sleep-deprived during the conference. You need to catch up on sleep and come back to your normal sleeping pattern. So put on your loveliest pajamas and jump in your own cozy bed!
Tip 7: Say hello to your loved ones
If you live with your family or on your own, you probably have not had much contact with your loved ones and your friends during the conference. It is time to say hello and catch up with them.
Enjoy your well-deserved rest, relax and get prepared for the next conferences!