Going away on holiday is supposed to leave us blissfully relaxed and rejuvenated, but many people return from a break feeling down in the dumps.
In fact, having a case of the post-holiday blues is very common, where studies have shown that over 57% of UK workers feel demotivated or depressed on their return from a vacation. Other symptoms of post-holiday blues include fatigue, loss of appetite, cravings and lack of direction.
The good news is that once you settle back into a routine, the post-holiday blues should subside. However, there are several strategies that can help you ease back into daily life without such a bumpy ride.
Tackle jet lag
If you’ve travelled to far-flung climes, jet lag can often worsen post-holiday blues symptoms. Although there’s no effective treatment for jet lag, you can reduce its severity. For example, as soon as you arrive home, follow the routine of the new time zone as swiftly as possible. Get as much natural light during the daytime to allow your body to adjust to the new time setting. In fact, even if you don’t suffer from jet lag, studies have found that spending time outdoors can ease symptoms of a low mood, so step outside!
A holiday can often leave us feeling dehydrated, especially if you’ve been to a hot country. Add in a diet of rich, salty food, alcohol and even travel itself, and your body could be left in desperate need of extra fluids. Dehydration can cause lethargy, difficulty in concentration and headaches, which can exacerbate symptoms of the post-holiday low.
When you get back home, keep fluids topped up to stay on good form, but don’t be one of the 10% of people who hit the bottle to cope with the downer they experience after a holiday – you’ll only feel worse for it in the long-run.
Have something to look forward to
People often feel flat after a holiday as they’ve looked forward to it for so long they now don’t have anything to focus on. Change this, by putting something in the diary to aim towards. This doesn’t necessarily mean booking another holiday straight away, but it could be organising a get-together with friends, arranging a trip to the theatre or redecorating your bedroom. Having something to focus on or aim for can help you to put things into perspective and prevent you from wallowing in thoughts of wishing you were back on the beach.
Reassess your life
It’s perfectly normal to feel down after a holiday, but if your post-vacation blues seem to be dragging on, then ask yourself if you need to make some changes in your life. A holiday is a good time to take stock and reassess your situation. For instance, if you’re dreading the thought of going back to work, maybe it’s time to find a job you actually enjoy? Don’t rush into making any major decisions, however, on your return. Discuss your thoughts with friends and family and get their opinions before making any big life changes.
Although you won’t be able to replicate the same holiday environment when you get home, you can include some elements of your trip away into your life, to keep the good feelings flowing. If you enjoyed the food, for example, seek out recipes of the same dishes and cook them at home. Perhaps you saw a local dance show, and would like to learn the same moves back home. Look for a dance class that might offer this, or something similar. Maybe you were wowed by a particular scene or artist on your travels, if so, get a copy of an image or painting and hang it on your wall as a reminder of your time away.
Stealing ideas from your holiday can be a positive way to keep the post-holiday blues at bay, and help you feel inspired and motivated in your daily life.
Make time for relaxation
If your annual holiday is the only time you get to truly relax, then this needs to change. Try to find more time in your life to wind down. Prioritise what’s important and what can wait. Find ways to reduce stress levels so that you don’t become reliant on a holiday as the only real time you can completely chill.