In Japan they call it May Sickness: Gigatsu byou. After the pleasures of Golden Week are over, it’s back to everyday life. Many of us have experienced those post-vacation blues, whether we’ve been away for weeks, or are returning from a small but perfectly formed weekender. Stress not. We’ve got suggestions on how to minimise those post-vacation blues. And advice on how to put them to good use.
Them Old Post-Vacation Blues
Back to life. Back to reality. Whether the realisation hits you a couple of days before your return, or at the moment you put your key in your front door, there’s no doubt that returning home can feel strange. For many days – or even a couple if you’ve just achieved one of those perfect weekenders – you’ve been living a different and carefree life. And now you’re back.
Want to avoid the post-vacation blues? Why not pin this for your return?
Post-Vacation Blues: Practical Help
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the impact of the post-vacation blues.
Be Ready To Return Before You Go
Ever come back to a looming mountain of laundry and an empty cupboard? Us too, but less often since we worked out just how depressing it is. Give yourself time to get things organised before you leave, and it will make for a better return. Order your groceries up front. Pay your bills. Ask a colleague to send you a short email with important things you need to know before you get back to the office, so you don’t feel you need to read several hundred emails at once. Think what you can do to make it easier for yourself.
“Vacationers cease to be used to stress and thus react more strongly when confronted [with it] again.” Dr Gerhard Strauss Blasche, Department of Psychology, University of Vienna
Manage Your Expectations
A vacation won’t magically heal a rocky relationship. WebMD counsels that your problems go with you wherever you go. Spending more time together, whether with a partner, family or friends, can be challenging. So make a pact to give one another downtime. Don’t expect a dream destination to make everything else a dream too. Heading out mentally prepared for that can really help when you’re having difficult times on the road.
Have space Before You Go Back To Work If Possible
We all try to make the most of those vacation days. But arriving home late one night and joining the commute the next morning can leave you frazzled. If possible, give yourself a day to readjust, get urgent things done, unpack and ease back into your work self. Try to adjust your sleep cycle beforehand if you can, without eating into your vacation. If you’ve got a long overnight flight, try and get plenty of exercise in the day before to make your body naturally tired and more ready to rest. Nourish yourself well.
Post-Vacation Blues: Enjoying What You Had
The expression high days and holidays sums up the happiness that vacation time brings to our life. The art is in not expecting every day to be a high day or a holiday, and using those bright spots to motivate us on darker days. To do that, it’s really all about embracing the memories. A shift in perspective can have you relishing the experiences you’ve had, being grateful for them and reliving your memories. Creating a travel journal can be a great way to experience those days again. Or use key photos to inspire you every time you look at your tech.
Keeping The Fun Stuff Going
Being back home isn’t all dull. Are there things you enjoyed on vacation that you can keep going? Learned to kayak? Find a water park near you. Made yourself understood in Dutch? Keep it up with a language course. Loved tapas? Learn some new recipes. Embrace, enhance and expand the experiences you enjoyed.
Embrace The Memories
My memory collection sits on the shelf behind my desk. It’s a collection of travel journals documenting journeys near and far, some stranger than others. Picking them up at random brings to light all kinds of treasures. The day we stumbled on the Pig Parade in Vigo. A sweet lady in a cafe in Gibraltar, telling us her experiences growing up on the Rock. Spotting a kangaroo bounding alongside the dual carriageway to the business park in Adelaide. All treasured times, and all captured for days when the world seems, quite frankly, more pants than it needs to be.
Photos too. I’ve got a mug with a picture of the midnight sun, taken at midnight in the Gulf of Finland. It reminds me why the daily grind is worthwhile, Don’t forget that a souvenir is a momento, not something you pick up at the airport. When I look at my frog money bank, I remember the conversation with the woman in Ghent who fished him out of the window for me, after I had to resort to French to describe him, And we laughed, as she taught me the Dutch word, and wrapped him carefully in many layers of tissue to help his journey back on the Eurostar.
Plan Your Next Trip
There’s little better to rid yourself of the post-vacation blues than to begin revving up the next pre-trip excitement. So consult your bucket list, begin researching your options, cost out your dreams and get ready to save to make them happen. Put up pictures to inspire you and start to dream about next time.
Resolve To have More Adventures
It doesn’t have to be a vacation to step outside your normal life. There are so many possibilities from visiting places near you that you’ve never been to trying new experiences like climbing or sailing. Start living the life you want to live, rather than the one you think you should. Our best Christmas dinner was a picnic in the car, parked on the riverbank, watching the sheep in the field watching us. Never stop adventuring.
Reassess Where you Are
And I don’t just mean geographically, although that comes into it too. If returning from vacation has made you profoundly unhappy, then it’s worth trying to understand why. Do you live in an elegant apartment, when your soul was made happy by a quaint cottage? That’s not going to change overnight, of course, but vacations can tell us plenty about what would make us happier in the future. Out of that come goals.
Remember those moments when you felt homesick? Whether it was for people, or the familiar comforts at home, homesickness can help you appreciate everything you value about being home.
“Allow yourself to see friends and loved ones in a new way and with greater appreciation for what they mean to you.” Psychology Today
Imagine yourself in your happy place as a stress reliever. Then try to understand what it is that brought you joy. Can that, or something like it, be part of your daily life too? Use those feelings as an impetus for change.
Challenging Those Post-Vacation Blues
Still blue? I hope not. There are so many ways in which those blues can challenge you to find more in your life to enjoy and appreciate. Or else to help you identify the changes you want to make. We never bring our same selves home once we have traveled. That’s an exciting realisation and full of potential to explore.
Ready to travel? Why not pin this for your return?