Vacations are the idealized way to enjoy a break from the responsibilities and work of life at home. The average person in the United States takes two to three vacations annually. Despite the number of vacations, many people return from their travels experiencing post-vacation depression.

The post-vacation blues are real, and the best way to counter them is by understanding why they occur. Continue reading to understand your feelings of post-travel depression.

What Is Post-Vacation Depression?

While not clinically recognized, feeling down after returning from a holiday or vacation is a valid experience. The feelings related to your return from vacation can affect relationships, school or work performance and minor aspects of daily life.

You may experience symptoms such as increased irritability, aimless anxiety and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can limit happiness and productivity, and you should expect them to linger for up to 2 weeks.

What Causes the Post-Vacation Blues?

Vacation is proven to protect against feelings and symptoms related to depression, so it can be distressing to experience depression blues when arriving home after your getaway. Several factors can fuel your post-vacation depression, and diving into them can help you learn how to manage or prevent it.

Vacations reduce mental stress and improve your mood, but these positive effects often evaporate upon returning to your daily life. The drastic shift from eliminating stress to jumping into your stressful routine is jarring.

The transition from your vacation to school or the workplace is challenging, and the challenge grows when your travels take you abroad. Other factors that increase post-travel depression include insect bites, sunburn and excessive food or alcohol consumption.

Despite these factors, planning vacations to enjoy a break from your routine is beneficial. The benefits of planning or taking a trip abroad outweigh the 2 weeks of depression blues you may experience upon your return.

Preventing Post-Travel Depression

Avoiding feelings of post-travel depression starts with planning for your return. You can take several steps to enjoy a seamless transition to your daily routine while allowing the benefits of domestic or international travel to linger. Here’s a closer look at the coping mechanisms for a peaceful and memorable getaway.

Tidy Your Home

Cleaning your home before leaving for your vacation is an excellent way to preserve your positive outlook and enhance feelings of wellness after arriving home. A messy house will dampen your spirits and could put you in a negative headspace.

Returning to a clean home is the ultimate way to maintain your positive mood. You can make your return feel more welcoming by ensuring a spotless house to come home to.

Use Transition Days

Transition days are critical to limit the depression blues after your vacation. Rushing from your destination to work or school is a challenging transition requiring mental, physical and emotional labor.

Use a transition day to acclimate to your routine after returning from your vacation. You’ll have time to unpack, shop for groceries and relax before returning to school or the office.

Connect With Friends and Family

Vacations are a fantastic way to recharge after a long work or school schedule, but they can leave you feeling like there’s a lack of purpose or meaning in life. The best way to overcome this symptom of post-travel blues is to reach out to and connect with friends and family.

Sharing a meal and conversation with the people you value most is a healing experience that will help you find the positives and share your vacation experiences. It’s an effective way to find balance in your daily life.

Document and Share Your Experiences

Sharing your experiences with friends and family is beneficial, but you can use the same method with yourself. You can prolong the benefits of your vacation by organizing and uploading the pictures and videos you captured while away.

The photos and videos will help you enjoy nostalgia and the positive memories created during your adventure. You can relive those memories by painting or drawing your favorite scenes and places to commemorate your trip.

Spend Time Outdoors

Nature is a healing environment that offers several benefits. You can use time in nature to overcome feelings of post-vacation depression. Time spent in nature improves moods, lowers stress levels and boosts physical health.

Take opportunities for walks in nature to rejuvenate your body and mind after returning from vacation. The time spent outdoors will aid the transition from your vacation to your daily routine.

Start a New Practice

Starting a new practice can help eliminate negative feelings after returning from a vacation. Top activities to consider include gardening, cooking and exercising.

Learning a second language is one of the most beneficial activities for your mental health. It can also help you on your next trip when traveling abroad. Find ways to incorporate these new activities into your daily life to maximize the benefits and avoid the depression blues.

Practice Mindfulness

Vacations are beneficial because they provide an environment for gratitude while changing perceptions of life. The benefits of mindfulness can continue when you return from vacation. Dedicate time to practice yoga or utilize body scans. These mindfulness activities will help you maintain the positive feelings you gained during your getaway.

Seeking Help With the Post-Vacation Blues

If you’re experiencing post-vacation depression, it’s worth contacting your employer about whether they offer an employee assistance program. These programs can assist with managing stress, anxiety and other symptoms associated with the post-travel blues.

Counseling and speaking with a mental health practitioner can help you overcome the negative feelings and thoughts caused by post-vacation depression. It’s worth seeking and receiving the help you need to find happiness and fulfillment after returning from your most recent getaway. Trained health care professionals can assist you and provide insight into treatment options and coping strategies you can try.

Find Help and Compassion Today

Feelings of post-vacation depression are normal, but it’s worth exploring your options to find happiness and positivity in your daily life upon returning from your travels. Put measures in place to ease your transition and pick up a new practice or skill. You can also contact Sunlight Recovery to speak with compassionate and helpful medical professionals for your mental wellness.