Blow Away Your Post-Vacation Blues

Sad woman sitting with arms on top of open messy suitcase
Not ready to return to normal life once your vacation ends? The post-vacation blues are real – and here’s what you can do to fight them.

Everyone’s been there: after a week away from work, exploring a new city, or spending time in the beauty of nature, you have to go back to your normal life. And it’s a letdown. What should you do when you feel the post-vacation blues? Take a look at these tips to help once you return home from a trip.

Validate Your Feelings

First, you should know that the post-vacation blues are real. You’re not imagining them, and you’re not alone. Research has found that most people feel sad and let down after their vacation ends.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, psychologist Sue Varma said, “There is a well-known post-vacation blues phenomenon where our mood dips down for at least a week to 10 days, sometimes to even pre-vacation levels. With all of the excitement of new places and connecting with new people, our brains were being bathed in high amounts of dopamine and serotonin while we were having fun.”

Now that you’re home, you naturally aren’t experiencing those high amounts of dopamine and serotonin anymore. Your blues have a clear cause, and you should know that your feelings are valid. So don’t beat yourself up for being sad! Instead, take the time to process your emotions. Write in a journal about how you feel, and when you notice that you’re feeling sad, remind yourself that post-vacation blues are very real.

Unpack ASAP

Open suitcase on table and woman hanging clothes in closet

It’s so easy to come home from vacation, put your suitcase on the floor, crash on the couch, and not unpack until you’re really desperate for some clothes. However, even though it’s easy to do that, it’s the opposite of what you should do.

By not unpacking your suitcase, you’re creating more stress in your life. You’re adding something else to trip over to your space, along with confusion about what’s clean and what’s dirty. 

Unpack your suitcase as soon as possible once you get home. You’ll reduce your stress and make things easier on yourself. Unpacking your suitcase will also signal to your brain that you know you’re home and you’re ready to get back to normal life.

Clean Before You Leave

If you can, clean your home before you leave for vacation. Returning to a messy, disorganized home will only add to your post-vacation blues. Take the time to do your laundry, do your dishes, make your bed, and organize your home before you get to the airport or hop in the car.

Not everyone will have the time to clean before they leave for their trip. So when you get back, make it a priority to clean, declutter, and organize your home. You’ll feel better in an organized space, and it’s a natural way to alleviate the sadness caused by post-vacation blues.

Order Groceries in Advance

Brown bag of groceries in front of emerald green front doors

It’s totally understandable if you don’t have the energy to go to the grocery store as soon as you get home from your trip! Make a plan so you don’t have to deal with coming home from your vacation to an empty fridge. Arrange a grocery delivery or pick-up when you return home from vacation.

It’ll make the transition of coming home much smoother if getting groceries and your next meal is as simple as opening the delivery or your pick-up order and getting to cooking. 

Build in Transition Days

There are no Sunday Scaries quite like the post-vacation Sunday Scaries. One of the worst feelings is getting home from vacation late on Sunday and knowing that you have to be at work early on Monday. While you’re booking your vacation, build in an extra day, two, or three of time off work when you return home.

That might mean flying home on a Thursday or a Friday and losing a weekend at your travel destination. But having those transition days – especially after a long trip to a destination in a different time zone – will make a major difference. You’ll have time to sleep in, unpack, clean your home, grocery shop, do laundry, and prepare for the return to your normal schedule.

Plan To Make the Most Out of Your Hometown

Part of the post-vacation blues is leaving behind all the exciting activities that it seems like you only get to do on vacation. After all, you just got to see so many new and interesting things. Now you’re back to your normal routine, and life just doesn’t seem as exciting.

But you can make it more exciting! Take the time to look up what’s most interesting about your hometown. Then, plan something with your partner, your friends, or your family that’s either out of the norm or something you love to do. It’ll give you something to look forward to, and it’ll change up your regular routine.

Go to a museum with a friend. Eat dinner at a restaurant you’ve never been to before with your partner. Have a picnic in a park with your family. There are so many options! The lift you’ll feel from spending time with your loved ones, combined with the novelty of going somewhere new, will help you fight your post-vacation blues. 

Read More: Boost Your Physical and Mental Health With These 12 Tips

Or Plan Your Next Vacation

Smiling woman sitting on bed planning next vacation

Your post-vacation blues might be so intense that the only thing that can fix them is planning another vacation. And that’s not a bad idea at all! Research has found that you can improve your mental health simply by planning a vacation and anticipating it. If you’re really feeling blue after your vacation, why not start planning the next one?

While you’ll probably have to wait a while to build back up your vacation fund, there’s nothing wrong with choosing your next vacation destination now and looking into options. By getting a jump start, you might even find deals on airfare, hotels, and car rentals. 

Give Your Gut a Break

I know that one of the best parts of vacation for me is getting to try lots of new exciting, delicious food (that I don’t have to cook!). Especially if you stayed in hotels on your vacation and you dined out for every meal, you’re probably feeling a little bit heavier than when you left.

That’s totally fine! But it could also be part of your post-vacation blues. Take a break from rich, heavy foods and eat lighter meals. If you were enjoying alcohol on your vacation, that’s wonderful, but now that you’re home it’s a good idea to take it easy to give your health a break.

Read More: Best Budget Travel Destinations

Appreciate Your Souvenirs

Colorful tourist magnets on stainless steel fridge

Chances are that you probably brought home at least one souvenir from your vacation. Whether it was a magnet, a print, a mug, or any other small item that you could fit in your suitcase, now you have a little piece of your vacation at home with you. Don’t put it in a drawer or shove it to the back of a closet! Find a place where you’ll see your souvenir every day and display it as a reminder of the good times that you had. 

Even if you didn’t bring home a souvenir that you purchased intentionally, you probably brought home some mementos from your trip. A coaster from a cool restaurant, a subway ticket, a museum brochure… find a creative way to display your memento, like framing it or even simply hanging it up on your fridge, and you’ll keep a little of the joy from the trip alive as you return to your everyday life. 

Make a Scrapbook

Speaking of those little mementos, you can also make a scrapbook to help you deal with the post-vacation blues. Collect all the receipts, ticket stubs, brochures, and other miscellanies from your trip in one place. Print off your favorite photos from the trip and buy a scrapbook that you’ll want to keep forever.

By creating a beautiful physical reminder of your trip, you’ll get to re-live the joy of those days and preserve the memories you made. If you wrote in a journal while you were on your trip, you might want to copy some of your observations from your journal into your scrapbook.

Spend Time Outside

Young woman walking outside with dog

Most people spend plenty of time outside on vacation. After all, who wants to stay cooped up inside when there’s a whole new place to explore?

Being outside is good for your mental health. According to Healthline, “When people spend time in nature, research indicates their moods improve and stress levels drop. They sleep better. And their physical health improves, too. In fact, regular short strolls in nature might have the same calming, restorative effect of a good vacation.”

So once you go back home to your everyday life, if you’re like many others in the workforce, you’re probably spending the majority of your day inside – and you’re losing the benefits of spending time in nature. Make a conscious effort to get outside for a walk, or even just to sit on your front porch with a cup of coffee or tea. The more time you spend outside, the better your chances are of knocking out your post-vacation blues.

It’s important to know that if your post-vacation blues don’t go away after about 10 days, then you may be dealing with something more serious. Speak to a qualified healthcare professional if you can’t seem to shake those post-vacation blues.

Read More: 12 Easy Activities to Bust Stress and Finally Chill Out

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