For many people, the Calgary Stampede is a 10-day event full of deep-fried foods, alcoholic beverages and late nights that leave some feeling sluggish once the festivities are over.
There are many options on the market that seem like quick fixes for the post-Stampede lull, but it can be hard to know what really works to detox after the celebrations.
Registered dietitian Jessica Begg said her top tip for clients is to keep stress to a minimum and make sure to keep some structure to your day.
“As best you can, stay on some basic fundamentals of healthy eating so that the transition from Stampede to after Stampede isn’t such a stark difference and that will make it a little bit easier,” Begg said.
“It doesn’t have to be hardcore eating kale all day and then bringing your kale to the grounds.”
She said Stampede should be treated like a holiday even if people might still be working during the week. On a holiday, many people focus on enjoying themselves rather than counting calories, but when the time comes to go back to reality, they get stuck in a rut.
Begg said it’s important to limit the relaxed Stampede celebrations to the 10 days and not let it continue past that timeframe.
For some people, a juice cleanse or yoga class is the perfect way to restart their health goals but for others, they need a different approach.
Begg suggests taking time to meal plan to get back into regular eating habits, or to have what she calls ’emergency meals’ in the freezer for days when cooking isn’t an option. If you’re new to meal prepping, Begg suggests researching meal plan services that provide tips, recipes and sometimes ingredients.
Beyond nutrition, coming down off a Stampede high can have mental health impacts as well.
Ria Meronek, a counsellor at Mount Royal University, said the best way to make sure you finish Stampede feeling recharged is to know your limits.
“It’s great to have a holiday but you want to come back and say, ‘I’m relaxed and restored,’ and not, ‘Oh god, I’m tired, exhausted and ashamed,'” said Meronek.
For people who struggle with mental health, eating, drinking and gambling within a comfortable limit is the best way to remain emotionally as well as physically healthy, she said.
According to Meronek, a good rule of thumb to follow before taking part in risky behaviour is to think, “Would I be comfortable telling my grandma about this?”
For people who need extra help bouncing back after Stampede or are looking to reach out for the first time, Meronek recommends reaching out to Albert Health Services through the 24/7 addictions helpline or mental health helpline.
Everyone can enjoy Stampede but both Beggs and Meronek stress the importance of knowing your limits and setting boundaries for yourself to ensure you end the celebrations feeling healthy.