By: Andrea Baldwin
Conxiety: feeling nervous about attending a convention, conference, or any large gathering where there’ll be noise and bustle, and high levels of intellectual, emotional and social stimulation. If you struggle with conxiety, you’d probably be surprised how many others do too. It’s totally a thing. But it doesn’t have to be, especially at GenreCon. You probably already know these seven tips for transforming conxiety into concomfort, but please accept this as our permission to use them as much as you need.
- Getting there. Make it as easy as possible on yourself, whether that means asking for a lift, catching public transport, taking an Uber or driving. Allow plenty of time so you’re not stressed. If necessary, do a practice run ahead of time. It gets miraculously easier when you’ve done it once.
- Getting around. We’ll do our best with signage, and GenreCon will be littered with volunteers eager to help you get where you’re going. Don’t be shy, rock up and ask – that’s what we’re there for.
- Quiet space. GenreCon has a dedicated Quiet Space for when you need some time to sit, think, relax, rest and process. Also feel free to make use of the lovely green spaces around the State Library and along the riverbank.
- Other people. Sometimes they’re the stressor, but often they’re the support. Enlist a genre-curious friend to sign up for your events and come with you. Or connect with acquaintances ahead of time and arrange to meet up at the Con. Sometimes it’s nice just knowing a familiar face will be at the same event, even if you don’t hook up with them.
- Familiar things. There is nothing weird about lucky socks, your favourite water bottle/ notebook/ desk troll or whatever touchstone makes you feel at home. Actually weird is perfectly fine. It’s GenreCon — a celebration of creativity and imagination, especially yours. If you feel at your best in a Star Trek officer’s uniform, go for it.
- Grounding rituals. It’s amazing how comforting a simple ritual can be, whether it’s taking a sip of water or a slow breath, tensing and relaxing muscles in sequence, colouring in or counting backwards from threes. You know what calming strategies work for you. Have a secret weapon in mind, just in case things start to feel overwhelming.
- GenreCon is fun! Come along expecting to enjoy it and you will. Sure, there’ll be moments between venues with lots of people around, and some events (like the Night Market) will bustle with energy. Pick and choose what you want to see, hear and experience. Take care of yourself and remember the volunteers and organizers are keen to help with whatever you need. We’re all friends here and we want everyone to feel included and inspired.
Have a concomfortable GenreCon!