Self-care for DevRel teams at conferences


Cup of coffee next to a notebook that reads, "Don't forget to take care of yourself"

Conference season 2023 is well underway and self-care is important! While conferences are such a wonderful chance to share knowledge and build relationships with others, regardless of the industry, they can often take a toll on those taking part, leading to exhaustion or even a sense of feeling overwhelmed. 

Conference participants are out of their usual routine. There may be long travel schedules, very early starts, back-to-back appointments, informative sessions and social events that last until late at night. All those involved in conferences, whether organisers or attendees, can often find their sleep disrupted and stress levels sky-high. There is a sense of ‘living on your nerves’, whether that be positive or negative energy. Not eating properly, combined with the fast-paced, busy atmosphere of a conference can have consequences on the immune system and cognitive function. This can all leave a person emotionally and mentally drained, without proper self-care. 

For these reasons, it is crucial to take care of yourself physically and mentally when attending or organising a conference. There is nothing more important than this. Conference self-care is key to being able to take advantage of everything on offer at the event and make the most of the whole experience.

Tips on self-care at a conference

Always keep in mind that if you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be engaged with others to the level that you could be. You will not give the best of yourself nor learn all you can at the event. Practice self-care at a conference with these simple steps and you will reap the rewards.


When attending or organising a conference, it is all too easy to fall into the habit of not eating properly, or grabbing a small bite of something unhealthy on the way to somewhere else. Eating regularly and healthy whenever possible is going to give you the energy that you need to get through the taxing days of a conference. Pack something as simple as an energy bar to tide you over until the next meal. Try to eat a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep energy crashes at bay. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water as that will keep you hydrated, alert and will ward off any stress headaches.

Stay active

Exercise can be the best way to combat stress. It boosts energy levels, brain function and generally keeps you in a good mood. It can be very difficult to do a workout when you are attending a conference, but you could always try to go for a relaxing walk outside, even if it is only for five minutes a day. Short bursts of energy are better than nothing, and you will feel better for it. If you fancy a good workout to burn off the stress of the conference, find a nearby gym or work out to a routine online in your hotel room. It all helps.

Rest whenever you can

It’s likely if you are staying overnight at a conference that your sleep pattern will be erratic. Promoting restful sleep will help you rest after a long day at a conference, and prepare you for round two the next day. Keep your room cool and dark. A melatonin supplement will help you get into a stable sleep cycle if you are travelling across time zones. But when it comes to supplements and travel, check what is legal in the country you’re visiting.

Take time to recharge

Listen to your body. If you feel tired or unwell, don’t ignore the signs. You need to avoid burnout in conference situations, so take time out and have a break. Don’t feel guilty about this – it’s entirely normal to feel tired and overwhelmed after a long day of meeting people and making conversation. Even moreso, if travel is involved too. It is normal to feel you need time alone when you’ve been surrounded by others in an enclosed space for long periods of time. 

Schedule your own breaks with colleagues for quieter times in the conference schedule. Whether it’s a walk outside, a few moments in a quiet room, or an impromptu yoga session, taking time out is essential to your health. Remember that slowing down is part of the self-care process. Don’t feel pressured to schedule as many meetings as you can or network with as many people as possible. The quality of the connections you make is what matters, not the quantity.

Moderate your caffeine intake

Coffee flows freely at most conferences and it can be tempting to refuel throughout the day. However, too much caffeine can lead to irritability, dizziness, increased thirst, and insomnia, which isn’t a great combination with jetlag, early starts, and other reasons for depleted sleep.

Celebrate your successes

Tiredness can get to us all, especially when jet lag is involved. Remember that fatigue can make it easier for negative thoughts to take over. Mindfulness techniques can help to handle intrusive and negative thoughts, as can acknowledging that those thoughts come from tiredness and stress. Celebrating your successes can also be an excellent way to shift your focus to the positive, whether it’s a great conversation, excitement in the demo you ran, or the new people you’ve met.

Don’t forget to check out our DevRel Roundtable podcast on conference season:

Looking ahead to conference season |

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