Post-Vacation-Hangover: Harder to Come Home Than Go Away?

Nikita Mishra

I don’t need a holiday to recover from my holiday – said no one ever.

A friend of mine just returned from a one-week holiday in Spain. Excitedly I called her up to ask how it went, how it felt to be back.

“The flight was delayed, my baggage is still stuck in Barcelona and it’s taken me 24 hours to work through my inbox. How do you think it feels?” she replied.

Silly question, really. Crash-landing into a bad case of post-holiday blues, my friend (like most of us) needs a holiday to recover from a holiday! I’m sure you know the feeling? One minute you’re sipping a glass of wine by the sea without a care in the world, the next, you’ve dived deep into the gloom of your fluorescent cubicle, bulging inbox and an inflated credit card bill.

Post-traumatic-stress-disorder has a little known but oft-experienced cousin known as post-travel-stress-disorder. It’s not a clinical disorder but a real phenomenon shared and experienced by all travel lovers.

Post Travel Blues = Exaggerated Case of ‘Sunday-itis’

Humans are not alone in suffering from post-holiday depression. Cats and dogs struggle to adjust when family members return to work and school, animal experts say (Photo: iStock)

Sufferers feel irritable, flat, have low motivation, poor concentration, feel helpless and hopeless. The longer your holiday, the more the gloom. People who are trapped financially feel the most pain.

According to a study published in the Applied Research In Quality Of Life, journal, people gain a bigger happiness boost during the eight weeks prior to their holiday than from the holiday itself.

And it’s not just at work that the blues happen.

Relationship experts say that post-holiday is the peak time for break-ups. Of course, it could simply be that the strain of spending two weeks watching your partner posing in a pair of speedos has finally pushed you to a breaking point. Or simply, the sheer awfulness of getting back to reality after experiencing a glimpse of heaven, makes the cracks appear.

5 Effective Ways to Beat the Post-Vacation Syndrome

Here are five simple ways to shake that dull feeling that something is amiss:

1) Unpack

It might seem arduous, but if you procrastinate unpacking for too long, the tripping and the hurdling over your rucksack will just add more gloom and doom to your days. Once you put everything away you will become instantly calmer and more in control.

It takes twice as long to find specific items as you will have to rummage through the big pile of belongings strewn everywhere (Photo: iStock)

2) Organize your photos

Instead of mourning the loss of your vacation, relive those scenic vistas by making an album and uploading on social media. The FB ‘likes’and ‘comments’ are a sure shot way to boost your mood.

Post-holiday blues are real and very often coming home feels like an anticlimactic end to a life-changing experience (Photo: iStock)

3) Pamper Yourself

I know you feel too low to take care of yourself and would do anything to stay glued to your futon till eternity, but working out will make you feel alive. So douse your hair in your favourite deep conditioner, do some yoga, a quick exfoliation in the shower and voila! You’ll feel positive and energised.

4) Don’t Call in Sick to Work

The first thing I do after returning from a big, fancy holiday is to check my savings, look up the Provident Fund and calculate the chances of giving up work and walking out. I spend the first day fantasising raising chickens in Goa alongside a quaint bistro, until gradually I get sucked into work and realise that I’d probably be allergic to the feathers anyway.

It’s okay to feel upset that your holiday is over, but don’t let misery consume you (Photo: iStock)

Getting back into routines is the hardest part of finishing a holiday. Calling in sick the first day will only make it worse. So cry all you want to, feel upset, then dust yourself off and carry on with the drudgery… till the next escapade.

5) Plan the Next One

After the initial hugs are hugged out, the anecdotes told and the reunions over, coming home might not feel like really coming home at all. If being surrounded by the unknown is your flavour, then a shorter trip closer to home might just do the trick.

Travel doesn’t always have to be a long haul plane flight to another time zone. Your wanderlust and your bank account will both feel elated with shorter trips nearby. You could even act all tourist-y in your own city. You probably know your city well, but there might be a lot of adventures waiting-to-be-had in your own town!

Instead of wallowing in self-pity and despair, start saving and plan for your next adventure. You can even volunteer all around the world & get paid for it! (Photo: iStock)

And if you truly feel the road is where you belong, then focus more on your work. After all, it’s the job that will pay for another opportunity to get away, gaze on the horizon, look and dream on.


About briandmahan

Following a catastrophic automobile accident several years ago, I began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was hit by one of two cars that were racing on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. And, although I walked away from the accident, I began to have several FULL-BLOWN panic attacks a day (I didn’t even know they were panic attacks; I just thought I was going crazy). But, after just a few sessions with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, my anxiety and panic attacks ceased and I haven't had one in 9 years. In fact, my life changed so dramatically and quickly, I decided to train in the same technique. Upon completing a three-year training program studying Somatic Experiencing, the work of Peter Levine, PhD., my self-obsessed passion for healing and personal transformation shifted. I've been blessed to be able to help and assist other survivors of unresolved past traumatic events, who suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression and Stress to feel safe, joyful and to take take control of their lives again. And, now, I consider that car wreck to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s my passion for the past 9 years to share my story, experience, and know-how with others, like you, who may simply have been trying to heal with the wrong approaches. (You can’t heal a toothache by getting a massage.) I am not a psychologist, a medical doctor or a spiritual healer. I am a trauma survivor. And I have come to understand that PTSD, anxiety, panic, stress and depression are physiological conditions more so than they are psychological disorders. I hold retreats, workshops and free seminars, focused on establishing a sense of safety and re-awakening embodiment through healing stress and trauma. I also offer one-on-one sessions both face-to-face for local clients and by Phone and SKYPE for clients nationwide and internationally.
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