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