After several days of eating, binge-watching, cooking, gift-wrapping, and partying, we are once again back to our offices — working 8 hours a day, performing our daily routines, and meeting deadlines. Needless to say, we need to get back in the groove again.
Okay, I know.
I know you had fun during the break. And getting into the routine of work or school can be stressful. It can be disorienting, right? That’s understandable. Most people suffer from what we call “post-vacation blues” or holiday hangovers. This is that feeling when you no longer want to keep doing what you are doing (and sometimes, all you can think about is making an enormous change in your life, cause yeah, it’s a new year after all).
But, hey, we have to get over this and ace the new year filled with hope. Right? So, let’s start overcoming that holiday hangover, shall we?
Know if you are suffering from it.
You cannot deal with something you do not know nor understand, so the first step to getting back into the rhythm of your daily life is knowing if you are in fact dealing with what is clinically known as post-travel depression or PTD.
Well, it’s pretty easy to figure out if you are suffering from PTD, or let’s just call it “holiday hangover”. Chances are you may be experiencing the following:
- Loss of appetite (or the other way around, yikes)
- Sadness (accompanied by tears sometimes)
- Nostalgia (also accompanied by tears sometimes)
- Restlessness (cause, hello, you’ve been hyped up during the break)
- Tiredness (well, cause you’ve been hyped up during the break, and voila! back to your mundane existence)
- Inability to settle down and do your tasks at school or at work
- Anger (for some, if the vacation was supposed to resolve some personal issues but have remained persistence after the fact)
- Depression (clinically called “post-travel depression”; please see your doctor immediately)
Not everyone suffers from PTD. But if you are suffering from it, these could be the possible causes:
- You are bored.
- You are probably frustrated with a part of your life.
- You find your job meaningless.
- You are in an unhappy relationship.
- We compare ourselves to other people too much (in this context, those who go out and travel a lot).
- We come under the spell of the places we visit.
Now, time to deal with it.
Expect feelings of distress or emotional deflation after a great vacation.
The best way to deal with anything is to be ready for it. And you can be ready if you expect it. The same thing can be said about PTD. After a series of parties or a great trip, expect to feel deflated.
Here’s why you should expect this feeling of deflation: Time is relative. When we are on a vacation, our time expands, and our freedom is immense — freedom from routines, freedom from deadlines, freedom from duties and responsibilities among others. When we return to work, school, or our daily life in general, our sense of extended freedom and expanded time collapses; hence, the feeling of loss, or deflation.
Don’t rush to get over it. You need a transition. Here’s where expecting it greatly helps. Expecting this feeling will usher a smoother transition from heightened pleasure to mundane existence.
Share your plight.
Sharing can be helpful in getting over anything. And sharing is pretty easy to do cause we have been adept at sharing the stuff we do (like on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and on Snapchat also… and ugh, the new Messenger).
Of course, we do not intend to make our non-travelling friends envious or whatnot, but sharing your thoughts about your recent escapade can be therapeutic and helpful. You may share some interesting or funny stories, just be sure to safeguard your personal information while you are at it (you know, sharing).
However, if you are looking for people who will sympathize with you for suffering from post-vacation blues, you might find it difficult to find somebody. Note that while you share your stories, people focus on the fact that you HAD A VACATION, rather than you feel sorry it’s over and you are back to your mundane life. It helps to be blunt and say “Hey, I feel sad we’re back.”
Make a smooth transition.
An active effort on your part to get over your post-vacation blues is a vital part of getting back into the rhythm of your daily life at work or school. There are a few steps you can take to steer a smooth and fast transition:
- Perspective. If you expect feelings of emotional deflation and distress immediately after a great vacation, prepare your mindset for it. On the way back to the city, I usually think about all the fun I had after my once-a-year “bakasyon grande”, and then think about work and school. I’d tell myself: “Hey. Here comes the real stuff. Brace for it.”
- Re-evaluate your commitments. List your commitments on a piece of paper, preferably in your journal or planner. Sort them out in order of importance and urgency. Writing your commitments down can give you that extra push to really get back to work and start fulfilling those commitments.
- Strive for work-life balance. You love vacations because you get to socialize with your loved ones, or you get to see your friends and do cool stuff together. Going back to work does not mean you cannot do those things again. Make time to go out with some friends or your partner. Try not to get bored. Do new stuff. You just have to make time for it.
- Take care of yourself. Another thing you miss from your vacation is the food (and the drinking, and the hangover). Yeah, tell me about it. Upon returning to work, try to veer away from party foods and work out. Exercise is a helpful way to achieve a truly healthy lifestyle. Exercise reduces stress levels and the chance of feeling intense post-vacation blues. Make yourself busy and healthy.
Plan your next vacation.
Inspire yourself at work by anticipating another great vacation at the end of the year. But of course, you have to bear in mind that you have to work hard for it to be great. Make your next trip a reward to a year of great performance and awesome achievements. Plan it with the mindset that great work should be rewarded with a great trip or getaway.
This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy, so, whatever suits you best, stick to it. And also, share it with us today!