Many who are well acquainted with BDSM are familiar with "sub-drop" - the emotional and physical fatigue experienced by submissives after play, especially when they have played long and hard. Here I want to share some self care pointers to help you navigate through the drop comfortably.
Before you play:
Eat and hydrate. Your body will thank you after hours of play and sweating. Eat foods that make you feel alert and give you energy, avoiding coffee and fast food. One of my favorite meals before a long scene is a bit of fish, like tilapia or a tuna steak with fresh cooked green beans and a salad. Your meal doesn't have to be elaborate, just good for you.
Stretch, whether you will be kneeling, bound or standing at attention spend an hour or two stretching out, not only will you limber up you will feel good and be ready to move exactly as you're told. I often say " If you didn't stretch first, you're doing it wrong." when it comes to anything from getting out of bed in the morning to bondage. There is no need to rush or push yourself hard, listen to your body and use the this time to get in touch and become more aware of your senses.
You should also avoid taking non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen for several hours beforehand, which can thin your blood and make you more susceptible to bruising, even from low impact activities like crawling or kneeling. If you need to take medication beforehand, always alert your dominant so you can set proper expectations concerning any side effects you may experience while in thier care. Get some sleep, go to bed early the night before or set aside some time for a power nap a few hours before you play so you can be alert and ready to play.
After you play:
Even with excellent aftercare, subdrop may take some time to set in. While you come down from the excitement of your scene, take the time to set yourself up to be comfortable both physically and emotionally. Ice any inflammation, if you took a sound spanking or spent much time on your knees, you'll undoubtedly be sore. Again, hydration and a meal are important to feeling well and maintaining your energy which can affect your mood. Having something prepared ahead of time that you can warm up or eat immediately can help if you feel too drained to cook. Relax with a shower or bath and use some lotion after. Not only will it help soothe skin that has been dried out by play and sweat, rubbing lotion in will stimulate circulation which can ease any stiffness or soreness.
Have a planned activity that leaves you feeling uplifted or comforted, such as reading a favorite book, playing with your pets, cuddling with your dominant or significant other, or watch a movie with some close friends. Sometimes intense scenes can bring up some emotions you are tempted to examine immediately after play, especially anything that made you feel uncertain, embarrassed or vulnerable. You don't have to figure out your feelings as soon as you're out of the shower. If you still need some time to clear your head you can instead take some notes before your relaxing routine and return to it later in a journal or find some time to talk with your dominant, a close friend or your significant other about the feelings you experienced in scene. Give yourself time to process and come back to the physical and emotional level you started on. This can lay the groundwork for negotiating your next scene and keeping your dominant informed of your limits.
Listen to your body, don't push yourself when it comes to physical activities like daily exercise routines, you might consider some scenes as good as an extra work out. When you feel the need to sleep go ahead and have a nap or got to bed early, your body does it's best work healing itself while you sleep. Self care and learning how you react to sub-drop when you play is what it all comes down to in the end. Having a plan to make the end of your playday as relaxing and restful as possible can change your entire view of the play you participate in and how you approach your next scene by helping you get in tune with your body, learn and pay attention to your feelings and boundaries as well as encourage open communication and connection with your dominant.