Haunt season is a grueling two months of long nights, sometimes out in the cold & rain. It’s not an easy job, and it takes a really strong person to be able to handle the hard work.
You’ve no doubt spent a lot of time taking care of other people this season, whether that’s your guests or your staff. We bet there hasn’t been a moment when you felt like you could take care of yourself. Now that the season is winding down, we wanted to share a few ideas for incorporating self care into your week. After all, you deserve to be healthy & happy (and a little bit scary…) too!
1. Get some sleep
The most common thing we hear from haunters is that they don’t get enough sleep during haunt season (and often in the weeks or months leading up to it). Those long nights and weekends really add up. It’s tough, if not impossible, to get a full night’s rest during the season.
Make it a priority this week to get a full night’s Zzzzs as many nights as you can (even if that’s just one!). You’ll actually be more productive at work if you get a full night’s sleep. Plus, sleep helps improve your mood and boost your immune system – both key in recovering from haunt season.
2. Move your body
At the end of the night — after hours of lifting things that are too heavy, rushing back and forth from the ticket booth to backstage and back again 10,000 times, climbing over and under set pieces, and generally running yourself ragged — your body feels stiff, tired, and sore in a way that makes you never want to move again. We feel you.
Gentle recovery activities can actually help sore muscles repair themselves and improve circulation overall. Find one easy, lightweight activity you can do this week, whether that’s a walk around the block, some gentle stretching, or putting on your favorite playlist and doing the Time Warp again.
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3. Do something that makes you laugh
Laughter has a ton of short- and long-term benefits, including:
- Relieve pain. Laughter produces endorphins, a natural analgesic (the same chemical found in many extra-strength prescription medications). So a good laugh can literally help your aches and pains feel better temporarily.
- Reduce stress. Laughing helps to decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, and can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression over time.
- Soothe tension. Laughter stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation. If you’re feeling the physical effects of stress on your body at the end of the season, laughing can help your tired bod to recover.
Watch a funny movie or TV show, or even just a YouTube video. Get together with a fellow haunter or two (even virtually!) and share some of your strangest or most surprising moments from the season. Whatever tickles your funny bone!
4. Express gratitude
Maybe this sounds lame, but hear us out. We know that haunt season is filled with unpredictable things that go wrong: props break down, the weather never cooperates, and difficult guests make your life miserable.
But we bet a lot of really great things happened, too! Focusing on the things you’re grateful for can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Research has shown that people who consciously count their blessings tend to feel happier and less depressed overall.
You don’t have to sit down and write a long list of things you’re grateful for to reap the benefits of gratitude. Start or end your day by thinking of just one thing that you’re grateful for: a team member who went above and beyond to help out this week, a guest who gave everyone a good laugh when they wet their pants from fear, or just being able to work on your craft.
5. Eat your favorite meal
There’s just no time during haunt season to stop and sit down for dinner (lol who has time to eat at all by 7 p.m. on a Saturday??). We’re often reaching for something that’s quick & easy rather than something we truly enjoy eating. Energy bars, cold pizza, and trail mix help us power through the late nights but they get old after a while.
After the season is over, treat yourself to one good meal, whether that means going out to eat or enjoying something home cooked.
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6. Just breathe
We know that there’s still a lot of wrap-up work to do even after guests have gone for the season. You might feel like you still don’t really have time to care for yourself. Take 5 minutes to turn off notifications, sit somewhere quiet, and just breathe. With no guests coming through the haunt, there’s almost nothing that can’t wait for five minutes. So give yourself that time, even if you can’t do anything else.
Sit outside and sip your favorite beverage. Stare at a photo or painting you enjoy. Close your eyes and visualize something peaceful. Even a short break can do wonders for your mental and emotional wellbeing.
7. Be kind to yourself
We do whatever it takes to get through the season. And sometimes that means we don’t eat right, we don’t get enough sleep, and we indulge in our vices more than we know we should. And you know what? That’s ok! You made it through the season.
It’s easy to beat ourselves up for not being perfect. Try to give yourself a break and know that you don’t have to be perfect. You did what it took to get the job done. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished.
If you want to take it a step further, say something nice to yourself when you get up in the morning, before going to bed at night, or anytime throughout your day. Congratulate yourself for building an amazing prop, designing a fantastic costume, diligently keeping track of the books, or just managing to put on matching socks today. You deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated.
This has been a crazy year and a season filled with unpredictability. We’re proud of you for making it this far! Remember to practice some self care in the next few weeks to help yourself recover so you can keep delivering incredible scares for years to come.
What are your best tips for recovering after haunt season? Let your fellow haunters know by sharing them in the comments!
Want to reduce headaches and enjoy simpler ticketing & payments at your haunted attraction? We’d love to help! Schedule a demo to see how HauntPay helps thousands of haunters like you reach more fans and sell more tickets.