5 Ways to Beat the Post-Vacation Blues

When you get back from a vacation, do you experience the Post-Vacation Blues?  The post-vacation blues are what I refer to as the time after a vacation when you feel sad, depressed, unhappy, unmotivated, and grumpy about life, relationships, and work.  It’s that period of time when you have to come back down to reality and get back to the often-irritating daily grind of life.

For me, it can be really challenging.  I get extra-frustrated because vacations are supposed to be rejuvenating, right?  We’re not supposed to come back and feel worse than when we left.  But sometimes we do.  So what can we do to maintain those positive feelings when we get back from vacation?

 

 

1. Write.  Write about your vacation – all the fun stuff.  Even if it just happened (that’s actually the best time to write so you’ll remember the details), writing about how great your vacation was (and why) will have a positive influence on your state of mind.  So sit down and journal or write a blog about it.  Throw in some pictures so you can look back at it and make yourself happy. 

2. Keep vacationing.  Sure, you have to go back to work, family, and life, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun.  Think of atleast one thing you can do after your vacation that is fun and may even have some vacation-like characteristics.  Can you find a new park and go for a walk after work? Paint a picture? Take some pictures of random stuff around your town or neighborhood?  Find an entertaining activity to remind yourself that “getting back to the daily grind” can still mean having fun. 

 

3. Start planning.  Just because you might need to save up for another 6 months to afford your next vacation doesn’t mean you can’t start planning it now.  Fantasizing about your next fun adventure can be just the thing to help you disassociate from reality for a little while.  Don’t get carried away, but a little planning may be just the thing to lift your spirits.

4. Music.  While you’re on vacation, buy a CD.  It doesn’t have to be related to your vacation at all (you don’t have to buy Hawaiian music if you go to Hawaii) but it can if you like.  Listen to it while you’re there and associate your positive vacation feelings with the music. From now on, listening to that CD is going to make you think of that specific vacation.  When you get back, put it in the player, and when you’re getting ready in the morning and feeling particularly cranky about being back, pump up the volume and jam out.  Remind yourself that the vacation was meant to rejuvenate you, and this music is the tool to help that happen.

5. Short work week.  Do not return on a Monday!  Schedule your return for a Wednesday or Thursday so you have a super-short week to reacclimate yourself to the work day.  Even when you love your job, it takes a few days to get back into the groove.

Here are some additional sources for ways to beat the post-vacation blues:

Beat Those Post Vacation Blues

The Providence Center: Beating the Post-Vacation Blues

Dancing and Drumming Drive Post-Vacation Blues Away

Pamela Kruger’s Post Vacation Blues (you’re not alone!)

13 Ways to Cheer Up

13 Ways to Cheer Up

If you’re like most people, you experience moments of feeling down, depressed, or blue. First of all, it’s okay to feel that way. We all do sometimes. Some of us may feel down more often than others, and that’s okay too. If you’re experiences are preventing you from functioning in your home, work, or social life, you may need some extra help. If this is the case, please contact a mental health professional in your area.

If you’re just having a bad day (or week) and need to cheer up, try some of the following. I hope you feel better soon!

1. Make your own CHEER UP book. If you’re experiencing lots of days of feeling down, you might benefit from creating your own “Cheer Up” book. Create a list (like this one) of every activity you can think of that will cheer you up. Type it up, add some pictures, print it out, and have it bound. I created a book like this for my husband, and it has worked out very well. Whenever he’s feeling, he just grabs his book and within a few activities, he’s feeling much better about life.

2. Breathe. Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that releases tension from the body and clears the mind. You tend to breathe shallowly or even hold your breath when you are feeling anxious. Many people do this and are not even aware of it. Shallow breathing limits your oxygen intake and adds further stress to your body, creating a vicious cycle. Breathing exercises can break this cycle.

What to Do:

1. Sit up straight. First exhale completely through your mouth. Place your hands on your stomach, just above your waist. Breathe in slowly through your now, pushing your hands out with your stomach. This ensures that you are breathing deeply. Imagine that you are filling your body with air from the bottom up.

2. Hold your breath to a count of two to five, or whatever you can handle. It is easier to hold your breath if you continue to hold out your stomach. Slowly and steadily breathe out through your mouth, feeling your hands move back in as you slowly contract your stomach, until most of the air is out. Exhalation is a little longer than inhalation.

3. Water. Drink some water. Mmmmm…water. Dehydration can cause a variety of problems, including imbalances in your noggin. So fill up a glass with that clear liquid and take it down. While you’re at it, why don’t you take a multivitamin just for good measure? Don’t stop at that one glass. Be sure to have a few through the rest of the day.

4. Hugs. If a friend or loved one is available, go snag a hug from them. You have to give a hug to get one. Sometimes all we need is a good old fashion hug. A study by University of North Carolina researchers found that hugs increase the “bonding” hormone oxytocin and decrease the risk of heart disease. Touch also releases two feel-good brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.

5. Play with a dog. If you don’t have one, go get one! When I say play, I mean really play. Get down on the ground, chase her around, throw her “ball” and have a good old time. You’ll be spreading some love, exercising, and making both you and her feel better.

6. Caffeine. Go get a soda or coffee (iced or hot). Caffeine is a natural mood enhancer. J Not only does it taste good in coffee and soda and make you feel better – it also helps to get out of the house to get some fresh air. For a couple dollars, this is a cheap and pleasurable pick-me-up.

7. Call a friend. Open up that cell phone, and start going down the contact list. If you’re not willing to call them (unless it’s a professional contact), then maybe you should delete them. Family members and friends should be available to support one another. A good old-fashion chat will add a new perspective on life in general, and it might provide some pleasant distraction from whatever is getting you down.

8. Watch a funny movie. If you have the time, slip in one of your favorite comedies or go rent one. And when you get to the funny parts, give yourself permission to laugh and laugh hard. Laughter is very good for you, especially when you don’t think you can.

9. Go for a walk. You know yourself best. Do you feel good around green trees, water, or lots of people? Go for a walk near something that rejuvenates you. Yes, even if you have to drive there. Commit to just 15 minutes, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll want to keep going after your 15 minutes are up. The fresh air, rejuvenating surroundings, and exercise are all things that are sure to cheer you up.

10. Bath Time. Draw yourself a bath – with candles, music, bubbles, and duckies. Time to spoil yourself! You can soak, relax, and have a little fun while you’re at it. Who says bubble baths are only for kids and ladies??

11. Cheap fun. Go to the dollar store and buy 5 fun items. You have such a variety of options! Decorations, cards, games, stickers, ribbons, bags, books, food, glasses, toys, coloring books, and SO MUCH MORE!! If you can’t spare $5, allow yourself to spare $2 or $3. And pick something fun!

12. Music. Do you enjoy music? Slip in your favorite tunes, turn the volume up, and sing your heart out. Feel the music surround you, and just let the good stuff soak in. Bathe yourself in the songs that makes you feel good.

13. Dance. Along the lines of music – put on some of your favorite up-beat tunes, close the blinds, and dance. If you’re home alone, dance around the whole house. If you think this is stupid, set the timer for 5 minutes. Commit to only 5 minutes, and see how you feel afterwards. If you don’t feel better, stop. If it works, you don’t have to tell anybody.

These are only 13 ways to Cheer Up. Plenty more activities exist. I highly recommend #1!

Ways to Cheer Up: How to Feel Better when Life Sucks

6 Simple Ways to Decrease Stress

5 Ways to Cope with Stress