4 Ways to Ease Your Post Vacation Blues

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August 30, 2017

Anyone who has ever been on vacation (and returned from said vacation) will tell you that post-vacation blues is a real thing. Vacations allow us to break away from reality and live out a dream, even if only for a few short days. But returning to that reality can be tough.

Recently, my wife and I went on vacation to a tropical Caribbean island for a friend’s wedding and decided to spend a few extra days there. It was glorious. Good food, drinks, a picturesque beach, good company, you name it. But on the trip home, I found myself feeling less than ready to return to the reality I call life.

How to ease the return

Here are some pointers for how to ease back into your real life. We did a pretty good job at some of most of these. I won’t say it made the return easy, but it made it easier.

1. Take pictures. That’s right. Taking pictures is an easy way to conjure up some of those warm feelings you experienced. Recalling pleasant memories is a good way to keep them fresh in your mind. Some may argue that it will remind you of what you no longer have, but I would argue that re-living positive experiences in life is actually a beneficial thing. Sadly, we didn’t take as many pictures as we could have, but the ones we did take (like the one above), bring back positive memories of a wonderful vacation.

2. Clean your house before you go. Nobody likes coming home to a mess. And it’s easy to make a mess in the chaos of getting ready for a trip. Clothes everywhere, dishes in the sink, bags thrown about. But taking time to clean your house before you leave, even going as far as sweeping and vacuuming, does wonders for your spirit. Returning to a clean home means you have less to worry about. We did a really good job of this prior to our vacation (well, my wife did). And we are both enjoying it now that we’re home.

3. Come back to a short week. If you can, try coming back from vacation on a Monday or a Tuesday. Or if you can swing it, take the first Monday off. Being jolted into reality is tough, especially when you’ve spent a good amount of time doing nothing but sitting on a beach drinking Piña Coladas. If you can shorten your work week, I’d highly encourage it. For me, we came back the week leading up to Labor Day weekend. Friday will be a short day, and I have the following Monday off. My wife has Friday and the following Monday off. I consider it a win.

4. Start planning your next vacation. If you don’t already have one planned, start now. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It could be a weekend away with family, a long weekend, or even just a few days where you have something fun planned, like going to a theme park or a concert. By starting to plan your next fun trip or activity, you are giving yourself something new to look forward to, and lightening the burn left by your post-vacation blues. We are planning to visit family over Labor Day weekend and go to Cuyahoga National Park during one of our days out that way. We enjoy national parks and figured it was a great opportunity to knock another one off our list while easing us back into real life.

The importance of feeling grateful

Something else I would highly encourage is to count your blessings. Not everyone gets to go on tropical vacations. Those of us who are fortunate enough to do so should remember that and be thankful. Counting my blessings is something I have been trying to do more of. It helps not just after a vacation but in everyday life. For those of us suffering from chronic depression, this can be a very powerful tool, as well.

So the next time you are starting to feel that sadness wash over you when coming back from vacation, try some of these tips out. If you have done any of these, or have more ideas, leave a comment below!

Alex Hanna

Alex Hanna

By day, Alex works as a technologist. By night, he runs Challenge the Storm. Suffering from depression and anxiety, himself, he dedicates every day to help one single person. Something as small as putting a smile on someone else's face may have a bigger impact than you think.

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  • I can attest that these four tips truly helped! Does anyone have more tips to add?

  • Amy Krolak

    The clean house tip is an ABSOLUTE. I love having pictures of a trip afterwards, although, I do wonder how much it costs me in disengagement. Finding that with my grandbaby too. For years, I collected postcards for that reason. One tip I can offer is to try to have at least a few short conversations with locals if you can. Ask questions about the area, the history, the kind of people who inhabit there. I have found when I return, I have brought a “real” piece of the place home with me and that gives me a place to temporarily dwell when I am feeling down.

    • Love the suggestion about talking to locals!


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