How to avoid the post-holiday blues

Síndrome postvacacional

For many people, the return to work or school in September may usher in the post-holiday blues. Returning to a normal routine after a pleasurable holiday can evoke various mood disorders, from feelings of tiredness or loss of appetite to outright depression.

What is it?

The post-holiday blues, also called post-vacation blues or post-travel depression, is a short-lived mental distress, anxiety, and sadness that arises after the holidays. It typically lasts up to three weeks, which is how long it takes for the human body to re-adapt to a new situation. Symptoms include feelings of:

  • Tiredness and low-energy.
  • Insomnia.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Low productivity and difficulty concentrating.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiousness.
  • Nostalgia.
  • Low spirits and sadness.
  • Depression.

How to avoid the post-holiday blues

  • Don’t rush. It is a good idea to return home with several days of holiday still remaining. That way, when we return to work we will have already achieved some re-adjusting.
  • Be patient. When switching back from a laid-back holiday routine, it is best to do so gradually.
  • Healthy living. Exercise and healthy eating will always make us feel better.
  • Routines and free time. Returning to our pre-holiday habits will help us re-adapt to our pre-holiday lives. Making the most of our free time allows us to re-centre and re-energise ourselves.
  • Don’t set unrealistic goals. Many people may set themselves unrealistic targets that, when unmet, lead them to feel bad about themselves, as for example: “in 3 weeks I have to lose all the weight I’ve gained on holiday”. Re-adjusting takes time and it is best to be patient with ourselves and take things slowly.
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