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.
- Loss of appetite.
- Low productivity and difficulty concentrating.
- Low spirits and sadness.
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.