Post-travel depression or post-vacation blues is that low feeling that some of us have when returning back to normality after a holiday. If you have been away for an extended period, for example if you have been on a gap year, then this feeling can be very intense.
This feeling is also likely to be intense if you are returning from somewhere bright and sunny to your home country which is much darker and colder.
This feeling arises because on returning home, we see our everyday lives as unsatisfactory and dull. We begin to compare our usual routine to the lively and spontaneous activities we experienced while on holiday.
People who suffer post-travel depression will feel tired. They will often feel restless, easily distracted and will lack the motivation to carry out their daily routine.
They may lose their appetite or notice an increase in appetite as they try to “comfort eat”.
If you are experiencing post-vacation blues, you may also feel very emotional and find that you are upset easily.
Post-travel blues can result in depression, so it is important if you feel depressed that you seek advice from your doctor.
People experiencing post-travel depression may plan their next trip as soon as they return from a holiday. This may give them something to look forward to, but when they return they may feel exactly the same, or perhaps worse. This is an unhealthy routine to get into as it means you are always trying to escape from your life. It could also have a negative effect on your relationships, your work and your finances.
If you are suffering from post-travel depression, you may start to doubt whether you want to continue what you are doing in life. You may begin to look for ways and means to make your life more exciting. This could lead to important decisions being made without thinking them through properly.
However, there are some things you can do to help you recover from post-holiday depression.
Prepare for the feeling
Before you arrive home from your holiday, mentally prepare yourself for your return. You may feel negative and low when you get back, especially if you have a history of post-travel depression, but it will help that this feeling does not come as a surprise.
Before you leave for your holiday, think of things you can do in advance to make your return easier. This might be organising a delivery of your favourite foods for the day you arrive home or planning to meet with friends and family as soon as you are back.
It is important to realise that it might take time to get over this feeling so don’t rush yourself through the recovery process.
You may feel that you are entirely alone in feeling blue. In actual fact, it is quite the opposite. Most of us suffer post-travel depression at one time or another in our lives.
You will be able to find a vast amount of information and advice on dealing with post-vacation blues by conducting some research into this area. Travel company blogs, such as that provided by The Leap, often provide information on post-travel blues and ways to prevent and deal with it.
Realising that this is a common feeling will make you feel less alone and will help you kick-start the recovery process.
Share your stories
Sharing your stories with your family and friends may be an excellent way to help you cope with your post-vacation blues. However, instead of repeating your stories every time you meet with a different friend, you might find it therapeutic to write a travel blog about your adventures. This way you have a permanent record of your travels and you can send a link to your blog to all your friends and relations.
Bring your holiday home
If you collected souvenirs and took photographs while you were on vacation, it is a good idea to display these around your home. You may be upset when you look at them for the first time since being back, but it is better that you get used to them and see them as cherished memories rather than something negative.
If you experienced a new language while you were away, you might like the idea of starting a language course. If you tried some new food, why not find some recipes and host a dinner party for your friends and family.
Be kind to yourself
It may be a challenging time so make sure you treat yourself at least once a day. Your treat may be a cup of coffee with friends, a bath or watching a film. Whatever it is that makes you happy.
Make sure you are eating healthy foods and exercising everyday. If you have a balanced diet and take part in a fitness regime, this will improve your overall mood.
Make sure you get plenty of rest. If you find that you are struggling to sleep, listen to relaxing music or have a cup of soothing tea to help you unwind.
Plan your next adventure
As mentioned earlier, it can turn into an unhealthy habit if you are always preparing for your next escape. However, there is no harm in thinking ahead and planning what you will do when you next have time off. In fact, it will give you something to save up for and will make you appreciate some of the benefits, like money and paid holidays, that you can get from your everyday life.
Plan some short breaks
Between your major holidays, you may find it helpful to organize a couple of short or weekend breaks in your local area. Getting away for a couple of nights to the seaside or an unexplored city, may do wonders to lift your spirits.
Post-travel depression is a real and unsettling feeling. However, we hope that this information will help you begin to overcome your post-vacation blues and that you start to feel positive. It is important that you appreciate the experiences you had during your holiday but also that you recognise the value of your everyday life.