Post-Vacation Blues is a real ailment!

You are certainly NOT the only one to return home from a vacation or return to work after days off, and suddenly find yourself struggling with feelings of disappointment or even depression.
Here are some tips to help you beat those vacation blues.

beat the vacation blues gratitude attitude everyday work disappointment discouragement mental health
[click the pic for a printable version]

Put it in Perspective
Perhaps the best way to prevent and treat vacation blues is to see the pleasures of vacation as just ONE part of the ongoing pleasures of life. Remind yourself before, during, and after special events and holidays that:

  • You have had good times before. (what were some of them?)
  • You have good times in your “everyday life”. (what are some of your everyday pleasures?)
  • You will have MORE good times in the days ahead. (what can you look forward to?)

If you are creatively inclined, you can help yourself the MOST by giving yourself a visual or written reminder of these things. Either start writing a “daily pleasures” journal BEFORE your vacation, continuing on throughout the holiday and well beyond as you come back into your “normal” routine — or start a collection of pictures, drawings, video clips, or other representations of the ongoing pleasures of life before, during, and after your special event, trip, or days off.

The point is to strengthen your awareness that EVERY day holds its own treasures, so that you do not fall into the negative thinking that good times have ENDED when you return to your everyday routine.



Make it Last
If you make it a habit to somehow “capture” your beautiful moments, you will be building a permanent source of enjoyment that you can return to over and over again. This was the original goal of scrapbooking, before it became a more competitive “keep up with the Joneses” endeavor. But of course, you are not limited to photographs or a scrapbook.

  • Take photos or create sketches or paintings — beyond static poses and impressive buildings. Take action shots of your people interacting with each other or with the environment. Record that teacup that you’ve been using for the last 3 days now — and various other “little things” that became part of your temporary “everyday” vacation time. Get down on the ground and see your vacation spot from the perspective of an ant or a crab on the beach. Get closeups of sweet-smelling flowers and sketch out patterns from the tile work on the floor or wall, and of the comforter on your bed.
  • Write about it — beyond what happens. How does the scene before you make you feel? How does it compare to other places you’ve been or people you’ve been with? Expand your awareness to include your other senses. What is the temperature like? Is it more humid or more dry than your usual environment? Does the weather play any role in your itinerary or affect the mood you’re in? What can you be grateful for, right now, in this place, at this very moment? Record it — don’t just leave it to an unreliable memory.
  • Talk about it — beyond your party. When you are taking in a brilliant sunset on a boardwalk, turn and comment to strangers on its beauty. They may surprise you by sharing a perspective of the experience that you’ve missed. Their own experience will be different from yours — they may give a perfect name to that reddish color, or share a story about another sunset, or of another experience in this place. And if all they do is nod and smile at whatever part of your enjoyment that YOU share with them — if they offer no words in return — you have still enhanced that moment and its pleasure, committing it to memory more, by talking about it.

The key to this skill may lie in VARIETY. Allow some enjoyable moments to pass without recording them. Just savor the moment. Don’t ever let the pressure of HAVING to capture it rob you of the enjoyment of the moment itself. Live in the NOW. When you can do so without losing the enjoyment — when you suspect that it may ENHANCE your enjoyment — go ahead and snap some pics or sketch or paint or write about the experience. And then make it a habit of reviewing your treasured memories a few photos or pages at a time, a few days or weeks apart. This is your heritage, a gift to your own heart.


More resources on this topic:
Wikipedia – Post-Vacation Blues
WikiHow: How to Overcome them!
A more medical perspective from WebMD
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls


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