Health Tips to Live by this Festival Season from a Naturopathic Doctor
Festival season is officially upon us! While we love all of the music, food, art, and other festivities, it is also common for people to get pretty worn out, or even sick.
So, whether you are heading to one of the biggies, like Coachella, Stagecoach, or Burning Man (not to mention Warped Tour’s 25th Anniversary), or merely going to a local festival, I intend to arm you with some useful natural strategies to keep you healthy and energized both at the event and when you return to daily life! These are tips that I have found helpful for myself as a seasoned reveler, and for my friends and patients, but always check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns to make sure some of the specific recommendations are right for you.
On the surface, the strategies for being a healthy festival goer are parallel to living a healthy life: rest, hydration, balanced diet, all that good stuff. So, when you are not getting much sleep, dancing all night, traveling, straying from your regular diet, and likely drinking more alcohol than usual, your body requires a particular set of strategies to stay healthy.
Before the Festival
Preparation is key! Both in what you bring and your state of health before you arrive.
Be rested. You are going to be much better off if you are well rested ahead of time vs. flying in on a redeye or going straight from a stressful work week and then jumping straight into your party weekend.
Be nourished. We all know festival food isn’t always the healthiest. So, eat your greens ahead of time! Make sure to bring nutritious snacks like your your favorite bars, some nuts, or other foods that travel well and don’t melt. No one want to be hangry during festivals, especially with those food lines! Pro tip: Lightly salted snacks help you stay hydrated.
Be supplemented. Take a good multivitamin-mineral formula. Consider some adrenal support adaptogens like Ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng or Rhodiola, and nutrients like magnesium, Vitamin C and B-5. Your adrenals are your stress buffers and the late nights, constant standing, and dance parties can take a toll on these little glands. So, take your favorite immune support formula ahead of time. Get ahead of it since you’re going to be around lots of people and pushing your body.
Be preventative. Consider getting a Vitamin B-12 shot or even a Vitamin IV ahead of time. These bypass the digestive system and get the nutrients right into your system. They can be helpful before, during or after the event for recovery. The IV will also help with hydration!
Be hydrated. Drink plenty of water ahead of time and don’t forget your reusable water bottle. Bring electrolytes to put in your water. Coconut water is also a fantastic option, and it comes in powder as well, which is easy to carry. Alternately, you can use a pinch of Himalayan or sea salt!
Bring a good, non-toxic sunscreen with zinc. Don’t forget lip balm, preferably one with SPF.
Bring your favorite hat. Big rimmed, floppy hats provide lots of protection and always look great.
Refillable water bottle!
Dust Mask or Bandana. Especially at the especially dusty ones like Coachella, Stagecoach and Burning Man. Lots of people tend to leave those festivals with lung infections due to all the wind and dust!
Common Festival Ailments + Remedies
Indigestion: if you tend to have a sensitive tummy: take probiotics daily before hitting the festival and while you are there. Consider taking digestive enzymes if you tend to get stomach aches or indigestion. Mint, chamomile or licorice tea would also be handy!
Diarrhea: Use a hand sanitizer (a non-toxic one, of course) after using the porta-potty. Consider bringing charcoal capsules. In a pinch, eat some burnt toast or carob.
Constipation: This can be common when you don’t have your usual amenities. Take 250-500mg of extra magnesium daily. Hydrate! Also, 1,000-2,000mg of Vitamin C can also help.
Coughs + Lung Ailments: Especially if you’re sensitive to dust or burning! Bring your favorite mint or licorice teas. Invest in a liver detox support for both during and after your trip. Take an herbal cough elixir with soothing herbs like marshmallow and licorice; this is especially important if you have asthma. If you’re going to Burning Man, make sure you wear your dust mask after burns.
Dry Nose: Rub a small amount of sesame or coconut oil on the inside of each nostril a few times a day. Use unrefined, preferably organic oil, which you can get at the health food store or from an Ayurvedic company.
Dry Hoarse or Sore throat: Use a natural throat spray with soothing herbs several times a day. Stock up on natural throat lozenges and throat coat tea.
Colds/Flus/Infections: Bring a basic all-purpose immune support formula like Wellness Formula or something else with zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and immune supporting herbs.
Dry Irritated Eyes: homeopathic eye drops with Euphrasia. Wear sunglasses.
Bumps/Bruises/Sprains/Strains: A great alternative to pain killers are homeopathic anti-inflammatory creams with Arnica in them, like Traumeel. For topical lesions, use a gel or salve with calendula and other antiseptic and anti-microbial herbs in it. These are all available at your local health food store.
Energy: Support your stamina with more than just caffeine! Consider taking maca, ginseng, licorice or other adrenal support, multivitamins, or greens. And of course, sleep as much as you can!
Staying healthy at music festivals (and life) means planning ahead to have key elements on hand, eating and sleeping and hydrating as best you can, implementing the principles of harm reduction, and using nutritional, herbal and lifestyle hacks so you can have your fun and return to your daily life healthy, happy and energized.
Hydration: Carry water at all times. Use electrolytes, a pinch of sea salt, or coconut water.
Food: Eat lightly and as healthy as you can. Snack regularly, including salty foods.
Gear: Sunscreen, lip balm, hat, and a dust mask or bandana.
Basic Supplements: multivitamin, essential fatty acids, adrenal support, and greens, like a combo of green veggies, chlorella/spirulina, and wheat grass.
Stock up on remedies for your common ailment(s).
Party Pax: Protect your body and mind from conditions of extreme fun!
I make Party Pax: highly effective party recovery nutrients for alcohol and harm reduction for mind-altering substances, as well as for daily maintenance. Even if you aren’t necessarily partying, but you are staying up late, doing much physical activity, traveling, and more, these are a great option for you. I also have an assortment of kits to address common festival ailments and keep you healthy!
Dr. Cory Reddish has been a practicing licensed Naturopathic Doctor since 1998 and is a purveyor of all things good, healthy and fun. She returned to her hometown of Venice, CA to open the Feel Better HQ, a Naturopathic Health Boutique + ApotheCory that offers naturopathic consultations, high-quality supplements, Vitamin B-12 injections, nutrient IV's and functional testing. It is also the headquarters of Dr. Cory's Party Pax, her signature line of highly effective party recovery nutrients. By synthesizing her naturopathic medical education, 30+ years in the natural products industry, studies of yoga, Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, passion for healing foods and a deep commitment to helping people feel better, she has helped thousands of people through her private practice, leading cleanse programs, party pax and providing vitamin injections to people at festivals and events.