Are you feeling down after a vacation? Don't worry, you're not on your own! Vacations are a time of escape, happiness, pleasure, and fun. But as soon as the partying comes to an end, many people are faced with a feeling of emptiness, fatigue, and sadness known as the “post-vacation blues.”
Post-vacation blues are a common occurrence for many people and can be caused by a variety of factors such as the end of a relaxing and carefree experience, financial stress, missing loved ones, and unrealistic expectations.
Symptoms of post-vacation blues can include mood swings, frustration, irritability, fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Practice self-care: Engage in activities that help you relax and make you happy, such as your favourite hobby, practice yoga and meditation or go to the gym.
By being easy on your self and practicing self-compassion, you can effectively manage the post-vacation blues and begin feeling more confident and empowered.
In this article, we will explore some of the most effective ways to treat post-vacation blues, so you can say goodbye to the holiday hangover and get back control of your life.
Post-vacation blues are a common phenomenon experienced by many people after returning from an enjoyable, relaxing vacation. As soon as the holiday comes to an end, many people are faced with a feeling of emptiness, fatigue, and sadness known as the “post-vacation blues.”
Whether it's a weeklong getaway or a month-long retreat, the transition from holiday mode to regular life can often be difficult. The post-vacation blues can make you feel tired and unmotivated, make it hard to concentrate, and make you feel generally unhappy.
How long do they last?
The duration of post-vacation blues can vary from person to person and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Factors such as your level of stress, support system, and personal circumstances can affect the length of time you experience post-vacation blues. For some people, the blues can persist and lead to more serious symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or difficulty adjusting back to work or daily routines.
Is it the same as Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Post-vacation blues and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are related but distinct concepts.
Post-vacation blues refer to feelings of disappointment, sadness, or mild depression that can occur after the excitement and festivities of the holidays end.
Seasonal affective disorder, on the other hand, is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year, most commonly during the winter months when there is less sunlight. SAD is a form of serious depression that is related to changes in seasons and can cause significant disruption in a person's daily life.
What triggers post-vacation blues
Some common triggers include:
- Change in routine. The holidays often involve a break from the daily routine, which can be a shock to the system once they come to an end.
- Financial stress. If a vacation costs a lot of money and is not well-planned, it can lead to stress and anxiety about money when you return home, which can really get you down.
- Culture shock. If you were traveling to a different country or culture, adjusting to the differences and returning to your “boring” familiar surroundings can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and disillusionment.
- Overindulgence. Overindulging in food, alcohol, and other luxuries during the holidays can take a physical and emotional toll on the body.
- Changes in weather. Coming back to bad weather if you have been in a sunny climate can be jarring and depressing to return to cold, rainy, or snowy conditions after enjoying warm, sunny weather.
Post-vacation blues & more serious issues
In some cases, the post-vacation blues may be a sign of a more severe illness, such as anxiety or depression. If the feelings of sadness, fatigue, and irritability persist for an extended period of time, it is advisable to see your medical practitioner who will assess if you need to see a therapist.
Some signs that the post-holiday blues have become something more serious include:
- Loss of interest in activities that you once loved;
- Severe mood swings;
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much;
- Loss of appetite;
- Persistent feelings of disillusionment and intense frustration;
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
Remember, it is possible to overcome even the most severe forms of depression and regain happiness and well-being with the correct guidance and therapy.
- Maintain a routine. Try to keep to your usual sleep and exercise schedule as much as you can. This can help you establish a sense of stability and normalcy during a time when you might be feeling disoriented. Making an effort to stick to your routine can also boost your energy levels and mood, helping you to feel more like yourself again.
- Stay active. Engage in physical activity, whether it's a gym workout, a walk in the park, or a fun recreational activity.
- Connect with friends and family. This can provide a sense of comfort and support and help boost your mood. This can be as simple as making plans to see each other in person or reaching out for a phone call or video chat. Participating in social activities and hobbies with friends and family can also provide a sense of purpose and help break up the monotony of daily life.
- Practice self-care. Taking time to unwind and do things that make you happy can help you feel better and improve your overall health. This can include simple activities like reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or engaging in a hobby that you enjoy. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, and promote feelings of calm and inner peace. Taking care of your physical health is also important, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise can help to improve your energy levels and overall mood.
- Seek support. Sometimes, talking to a friend, family member, or mental health professional can help you work through difficult feelings and improve your overall well-being. Sharing your feelings and experiences can provide a sense of relief and validation, and make you feel less alone.
- Limit alcohol and unhealthy foods. Overindulging in alcohol and junk food can lead to feelings of fatigue, guilt, and decreased well-being. Instead, focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Getting a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet can give you the nutrients you need, give you more energy, and make you feel better.
- Be gentle with yourself. It's normal to feel down after the holidays, but it's important to remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself during this time. Don't beat yourself up for feeling blue or for any perceived shortcomings during the vacation. Instead, focus on the things that you did well and give yourself credit for your accomplishments. Try to see this time as an opportunity for growth and reflection, and focus on making positive changes for the future.
- Plan ahead. Having something to look forward to, such as a future holiday or trip, can provide a sense of purpose and help break up the monotony of daily life. Setting goals and making plans for the future can also provide a sense of direction, motivation, and help boost your mood. Spend some time thinking about the things that make you happy and content. This can assist you in figuring out how to include more of these activities in your daily life.
It's okay to feel a bit down after your vacation has ended. Post-vacation blues are a normal reaction, and they won't last forever. Give yourself the space and time you need to get back to feeling like yourself again, and be kind to yourself. If you're struggling to shake off these feelings, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional for support.
- American Psychological Association. Holiday blues that linger could be a warning sign of depression.
- Trauma Research UK. Post Holiday Blues.
- Depression research and treatment. Seasonal Affective Disorder.