Sallie Cinnamon credit Jayden Byrne

Credits: Jayden Byrne (Photographer)

Sallie Cinnamon here, nice person with a lot to offer, and I'm here to teach you how to clean up glitter spills at home. How, you ask? Isn’t that impossible, you say?

It is. No one on this earth can effectively remove glitter from the various nooks and crannies it will get into. I am sorry to say the above is pure click bait. A lie. I’m talking about a mental, physical, emotional, spiritual phenomenon that affects performers of all types. You may see it referred to as a couple of things: post-comp blues, anxiety hangover (my friend’s very accurate term), adrenal fatigue (if you’re a NERD), but many people call it the Glitter Crash.

Glitter crash is essentially that feeling of absolute exhaustion after a Big Thing™. It’s typically a feeling of being tired or even hungover the following day. Or one of feeling like you are no longer on this earthly plane, seeking nothing but snacks, pet cuddles and the most unhinged episodes of your favourite reality TV series.

Experts may not be able to agree on whether it’s a ‘real’ condition, but the effects of glitter crash can certainly feel real. It can also be difficult to process. Big performances are typically something you work on over time, something you’ve planned well in advance and are part of a larger goal you’ve been aiming toward. You’ve worked hard on it, spent a lot of time and probably money on it, spent even more energy on it. And because time is an arbitrary effect of the human need to organise the chaos of existence, the time spent working on a performance is not proportionate to the amount of time spent doing the darn thing. Depending on what kind of performance you’re doing, this time, work, energy, and resources are being put toward something that’s about 5-10 minutes or less. I mean, unless you’re doing a tribute to Autobahn by Kraftwerk. Then it’s even.

What makes the Glitter Crash so difficult?

There are two main reasons for this: the first is physical and the second is mental/emotional.

The Physical

If you’re creating a performance for a specific event, you’re working harder than you might typically work. You’re exerting more physical energy and you’re probably doing more regular exercise to build stamina for this performance. You’re also spending a lot of time nervous, anxious and stressed so you’re no doubt very physically tense. On the day/night of the performance your adrenaline will absolutely take over, which is both good and bad. You'll do things you didn’t think you could do, but you’ll also be alternating between bouncing off walls and sitting very still and shaking. Think Marge Simpson keeping herself in a state of cat-like readiness and you get the idea. Once it’s over, your body tends to let you fully feel the effects of all this work and tension. It makes sense you’re going to feel like Alex Mack turning into pure liquid and trickling away. And yes, that is a very modern reference you all understand because I’m nothing if not young and having fun at festivals.

The mental/emotional

I have Depression and Anxiety and one of the things I struggle with (along with executive function, life admin and drinking water) is feeling like I have something to look forward to. Having a big performance in your calendar is something to look forward to. It creates meaning and makes it feel like you’re actively working toward something with purpose and meaning. And if in your performing life you receive accolades, validation and dare I say a certain amount of recognition, returning to ‘regular programming’ can feel like deflating, or even like a slap in the face. It can lead to so many feelings of sadness, disappointment and imposter syndrome. Don't get me started on imposter syndrome. Mostly because I already have started. Due to my mental condition and various aspects of my personal life, glitter crash has highlighted things in my life that need attention. I have finished competitions and performances feeling like I am worthless, with nothing to look forward to. I have felt like I have absolutely nothing meaningful to contribute. And while it is objectively untrue and no doubt a sign of my mental illness more than just glitter crash, it really shows how this can affect us as creative types.

So what the heck do we do about glitter crash?

Performing regularly and challenging myself with big performances has allowed me to put a few things in place to mitigate the effects of glitter crash, so let me share them with you. Maybe they’ll work for you, and maybe you’ll hate them all. Either way, you’ve read all of this and I love the attention, so thank you. 1. Acknowledge this is a common experience: remember it happens a lot, and it happens to a lot of performers. Remind yourself that this is as much a part of the process as all the preparation 2. Rest: absolutely give yourself nothing to do but rest following the performance, as much as you can. Take it easy or, as I’d go as far as to say sleazy, on yourself. 3. Stretch: as someone who never stretches enough, I recently incorporated it into my preparation for a huge performance and surprise, surprise – it helped a lot 4. Drink water, fool: that was a reminder to me, but you can also use it. As much as I do not do this I encourage you to drink water, especially on the day of the performance. Not relying on adrenaline alone to carry you through can definitely help. 5. Plan ahead: another one I am not very good at, but is worth working on. Think about your goals, what’s next and what you want to focus on now that this thing is done. You’ll find that you have so many things to turn your attention to, and you’ll start to feel more energised. And if anyone knows how to get glitter out of carpet, please, please, please let me know. I’ve, I’ve really messed up at home.

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