Tips & Tools for Attending Conferences
Conferences are known for their long days, but don’t let that deter you from attending conferences about topics you are excited about! It might be somewhat hard on your body, but you’ll get to hear about a topic you love and meet people that you already know have at least one common interest with you. For people living with fibromyalgia and other chronic illness that last one can sometimes be a challenge. I recently attended Bloggy Bootcamp and was there for 11 hours straight.
My top tip is something that I SO wish I had done – make sure to take it easy the full week before you attend a conference! This includes making sure that you get as good of sleep as possible the night before. This will allow you the best chance of starting the conference feeling decently! I had done 3 hours of yard work (way more than I normally would do) 7 days before my conference. Shortly after arriving at the conference, my back was hurting so badly that I had to take pain killers. Of course, I wanted to stay mentally sharp, so I couldn’t take strong enough pain killers to actually get rid of my pain. I could only make it barely bearable.
This brings me to my next tip – make sure that you bring any medicines with you that you need to take or that you might need to take, should you start feeling badly. Include a small snack if you need to eat food with your pills. Pack the items you need to bring the night before, so you don’t have to think about it in the morning and so you don’t forget something. Besides the items I mention in this post, consider bringing something to take notes (notebook & pen, netbook, iPad), cell phone, business cards, gum/mints and a water bottle.
There is no way to predict what temperature conference rooms and restaurants will be, so be sure to dress in layers. I know that parts of the days I was really hot and other parts I was fairly cold. Speaking of what you wear, comfortable shoes are key! You don’t want to be standing around networking, listening to a person talk, while trying to ignore the fact that your feet are killing you. Choose which “extra” networking events you want to attend. For me, I chose to skip the breakfast networking so that I didn’t have to get up an hour earlier or run the risk of that extra morning time wearing me out sooner. I did attend the evening cocktail hour, because it gave me a chance to talk with new friends longer and I could leave whenever my pain was too much to handle.
What are your tips for someone with fibromyalgia/chronic illness attending a conference?