After spending a few days in Florida last weekend, I returned home rejuvenated, energized, and thankful for the time spent in the tropics. However, that renewed feeling only lasted a few hours. After regrouping and settling back into my normal routine, I eventually felt lost, bored, unhappy, and sad.
I had spent a wonderful 3 days in the sun (despite temperatures only being in the 60’s)! I had no excuse nor good reason to be depressed. And of course, I couldn’t really talk to anyone because, let’s face it, who wants to talk to someone who just got back from a weekend away in Florida and is depressed about it being over?
After googling it, I realized that post-vacation blues is a real thing. Who knew? All these years, I’d come home from a trip and mope around for days, getting angry at the slightest thing. I always assumed it was from the work I had accumulated from being gone.
Although not a medical diagnosis, plenty of people have complained about post vacation blues or depression. When people return home, life seems mundane with trivialities and unimportant things to do.
Vacation days are anticipated, are special, and are usually in an exciting place. To come home to the familiar and the regular takes our head out of the clouds and brings us back to reality. Often, the severity of the depression/blues turns out to be related to how long we were gone. Jet lag may make it worse. Most people do get over this quickly – within days or weeks of returning home.
After some research, these are the suggestions on how to ease and/or avoid post vacation blues:
- Allow yourself at least one day home before returning to work. This helps ease your transition.
- Take care of your body. Cut out alcohol, junk food, and get sleep. This is especially important if jet lag is involved in your return.
- Unpack. Don’t allow the remains from your trip to sit in your suitcase. Unpack and commit yourself to the here and now.
- Prioritize your duties at work before diving in. Don’t try to catch up on everything you missed in one day.
- Organize your photos, share them, and enjoy them! It’s always fun to remember, reminisce, and integrate those experiences into your current state of mind.
- Look within. Use this time after a vacation for introspection. If there things in your life that are unimportant or make you unhappy, focus on what you need to change, how to do it, and make goals to live a fulfilled life. Find your passions and your life’s joys so that your every day living is almost or just as fun as a vacation day.
- Plan the next vacation! Nothing helps more than looking ahead and planning another fun getaway.
As I write this, it’s been about three days since coming home and I am slowly returning to my ‘normal’ self. In my opinion, arriving home from a vacation taken during the winter is probably hardest. Here in Chicago, the environment is ugly – bitter cold, dirty snow, bare trees, and grey skies with no sunshine. Post vacation blues can hit you harder than if you returned from vacation in the summer, when the weather is also nice at home and the environments are not as different.
In any case, I trudge on…using my sun lamp more and more as the winter rolls on. Time to plan another trip!