I’ve just had a read of this article on “Self care comes first” and while it’s inspired by different kinds of LARP games to Empire it still full of sensible ideas about how to look after yourself on the field.
What kind of things have you learned to do to look after yourself better at Empire?
You never have enough socks, eat and drink regular!
That it’s OK to take time out. My big breakthrough for self care was getting my IC tent, which meant I had a space that was all mine, where I could go an be ‘off screen’ for half an hour if I needed to, rather than having to head back to an OC tent or bother a friend to use theirs.
It made it so much easier to give myself permission to go and nap, or read and re-settle myself as and when things got a bit much.
Food and drink, time is always a bit wierd with me so I go by big meetings, if I haven’t eaten by conclave starting for example I know to go grab food.
Otherwise post event I make it a point to crawl into my tent and collapse for a few hours to de-stress and relax a bit before I have to do post event packing and stuff
I carry water and snacks on me at all times. I have a habit of getting very involved in meetings and not returning to base.
I also crew, so my food game has upped itself considerably since I started helping out.
Cardio if you are active on the main battle and skirmishes. So now i do a bit of training, just to keep my stamina levels up there with the younger players.
I make time to eat properly and drink water or tea.
Event drop is not an illness. So on mondays i take a relaxed work approach.
Play a more relaxed character.
Legends dont die you know that right?
I mean there is all the obvious stuff too - having snacks handy, having a way to make warm drinks in cold weather, extra socks, bed set up for optimum sleep. But my biggest help is being able to just nope out for a bit if I need to, and realising it’s OK to do that - it’s a game, it’s fun, not an endurance challenge.
For me it was hotels. No need to pack camping stuff, no worries about set up and take down, more privacy, better facilities, and the weather cant ruin my living space.
In addition knowing your limitations and accepting you can’t get to every virtue assembly meeting, princes meeting, and have time to still skirmish, battle cat rituals and vote.
The more you involve yourself the more demands there are on your time and emotional effort. For every person who turns up just for the battles a sirmish or two and som duelling and has lots of downtime theres another person with not enough hours of time in. So prioritise and know that you wont always get it all done FoMO is definitely a thing but sometimes its not possible or not good for you (the player) to do everything.
If you know or find out that you are bad at remembering to eat, drink or take a breather, find a friend who will remind you, pay them in whatever their personal favourite is (good coffee, nice chocolate, tent pitching help) and then ask them to remind you and don’t bite their head off when they do.
Make sure your sleeping situation is the best you can afford or carry, get that right and everything else is a little easier.
Share the load! Delegate stuff!
I have only recently realised I was taking too much on by myself, and this was leading to burnout and stress at events. I’ve started to try and delegate tasks to the rest of my group, and so far it’s working.
Off the top of my head from the last few years:
Naps are king.
Don’t try to do too much.
Drink more water than you think you’re drinking.
Eat some salt.
Eat proper meals.
Don’t get too drunk.
More socks. More socks. More socks.
Waterproof, insulated boots.
It’s absolutely fine to take time out from the game.
There is a lot of good advice above, but here’s a bit from me:
Remember to sleep.
Time-out at Empire is 01:00 to 10:00. Get to bed when you feel you need to (so it can be before midnight if you like…) and plan to get as much sleep as you need. Note that you may be exhausted or drunk or whatever, but you might also be kept up by drumming/singing/snoring.
And note that camping, you may wake up early. So don’t count on sleeping in till 9:30 as an excuse for staying up till 3:30…
Eat (something hot and nutritious and filling).
Drink (water. Not more beer).
Sleep (enough. This is up to you).
Moments of solitude (as noted above. Time to breath is as important as time to shout).
There are many LARP events that end with a pile of wrecked characters. Do not end them in a pile of wrecked players…
If you have carry space a set of clean, dry, normal clothes that stay in your car, or wrapped in waterproof plastic at the bottom of your bag are great if the event ends up being dusty, muddy, wet or similar. Change after you have loaded, or even in the first services and the rest of the journey home will seem better. Consider everything from the skin out, including if they suit wet wipes for a quick wash, or a flannel you can wet down with your water bottle. Also a good reminder to remove war paint, lineage markings and other stuff that will get you funny looks back in the real world.
(Have driven home with my characters forehead circlet still on more than once.)
Taking your medication(s) on time is more important than anything else that is happening in the field.
Playing a grandma of a chr, who can legit complain about aching back, poor feet, I can’t fight like I used to, not like it was in my day, and why don’t you whippersnappers go do the thing, I’ll cheer from this comfy chair over here.
It means a lot of my game is facilitating other people’s plot, but I like it like that. Vizier is my favorite spot.
The advice part of this is - Plan you chr around what you are capable of. eg Mighty heros don’t mesh with hangovers. War wounds are an option. Make the selfcare an IC thing, and you can remember whilst being more IC not less.
OR camp OC as you can completely drop out of the game. IF you camp IC, have a notice by your tent door, explaining while you are inside you are ‘timing out’ (sort of Do Not Disturb) and you are still IC! and let your group know you are timing out