You’ve been dreaming about the vacation you planned for months, and now it’s finally time to dive in. For a week or so, you forget your worries and transform into a better, less-stressed version of yourself. So what do you do when you return home and get knocked off your feet with a case of post-vacation blues? Don’t let despair stop you from going on more trips in the future. Many people experience this phenomenon, but you can get through it with a few helpful tips.
Invest your time and money in unique experiences. Go on museum tours that not many people would think to choose, and check out activities you’re unfamiliar with. Don’t feel like you have to squeeze everything into a single day, but spread events throughout your holiday. Try to schedule the most interesting ventures during the first few days, as this period sticks in your mind more than the rest.
Avoid comparing your trip to others who’ve been to the same places. No two adventures are the same, and yours is still valuable — even if you couldn’t go to the most luxurious locations. Fully immerse yourself in your surroundings and be thankful for what you get to enjoy.
This tip may sound overly proactive, but here’s the thing — you should be. After returning, post-vacation blues crash over you. It’s almost like you never left home, though you have the memories to prove you did. This happens because the anticipation of an excursion often rivals the enjoyment of the experience itself. Once you’re back, though, both the anticipation and joy disappear. In a 2010 study, researchers found no difference in the mood of a traveler after their trip versus a non-traveler.
Develop an idea of where to travel next before you return home. This practice rebuilds your excitement because you have something else to look forward to, no matter how far away it is. You don’t have to book a hotel or buy tickets immediately — you may need to save up again, after all — but know where and when you’re going. Create a flexible list of activities. Planning for events before they happen increases your chances of following through.
Kick post-vacation blues by recreating something you did or ate. If you went ziplining for the first time, look up local programs and try one out to relive the thrill of zooming through the air. If you ate an incredible dish, look up recipes and make it at home. Even traveling around your city and exploring unfamiliar places can be a fun expedition.
Although the context isn’t the same, you don’t have to leave enjoyable activities behind. Take them with you and incorporate them into your life as occasional treats.
You may assume reminiscing about fun things you experienced would hasten the onset of post-vacation blues, but it serves as a great mood booster. This is especially true when you share your encounters through social media or conversation. Talking about your experiences keeps them alive, and you get to bond with others about what you’ve seen and done. They’ll learn more about you, and you’ll get to share yourself productively and enthusiastically.
Consider putting the pictures you took in a scrapbook or photo album. Create a vision board and place your photos on it as inspiration for future adventures.
OK, you probably think this is counter-intuitive, but you’ll see how well it works once you try it. Completely cutting yourself off from your daily life during vacation only increases the dread of returning. Going from one extreme to another doesn’t help you adjust, which is why you should ease into the process.
Make a note of things you need to accomplish once at home, like cleaning, grocery shopping or responding to emails. You don’t have to dedicate a massive chunk of time to dwelling on responsibilities, but start thinking about what you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Give yourself a buffer between your holiday and your regular life. Many people come off their break and go straight to work the next day, creating a case of the Sunday blues times ten. Schedule a day in between to wind down from your trip and let your body recharge from jet lag.
Your sadness may result from realizing your life isn’t what you intend it to be. If the thought of returning home sends chills up your spine, it may be time to reflect and figure out why that is. Create a list of things you want to change — not everything is within your direct control, so focus on what you can achieve. Sometimes all you need is a new routine to make yourself feel refreshed. Take breaks when you need them and make time for your favorite hobbies.
Vacation bliss shouldn’t be a rare occurrence. Find ways to make each day worth anticipating.
A good break does wonders for your health, but post-vacation blues shouldn’t rule you. Luckily, they’re easy to counteract with the right techniques. Take steps to eliminate that pesky feeling, and soon you’ll be counting down the days until your next adventure.