When you’re travelling it feels like time and fun are endless. You spend your days swinging in hammocks strung between palm trees or exploring sprawling cities rich with history. You stay up late and sleep in as long as you like. You tackle breakfast buffets like a professional, spend your free time getting massages, hiking mountains or snorkelling with turtles. Not only that, but you meet incredible people along the way and find yourself making each day more memorable than the last.
Then, your holiday ends. You get back on the plane and find yourself at home again, confronted by the routine of day-to-day life. Suddenly you’re days consist of sending emails, answering phone calls, dealing with annoying co-workers and staring at the photocopier trying to work out if you could potentially make a life-size photocopy of yourself and sit at your desk as a decoy while you sob in the filing room.
The post-holidays blues are a real thing. You come off this incredible high of travelling the world, having big adventures and indulging your senses, to be being back home again and really, truly missing your vacation time. While I can’t guarantee you’ll never feel the post-holiday blues ever again, I can give you some strategies to help you cope with them.
#1. Treat yourself gently
Dude! Don’t beat yourself up if you come back from holidays feeling depressed. Just because you had an amazing time doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to come back home bouncing around like a little ray of pure sunshine. Maybe you were on holidays because you needed some space from problems with your home life? Maybe you felt drained and needed a change but now you’re sad to be back home? The important thing to remember is to treat yourself gently.
If you want to cocoon yourself in a very soft blanket and sit on the couch with a bottle of wine and watch ALL of Netflix, you should do that. Just take a moment to tune into your mind, body and heart and see what it is they really need right now, then do it. Don’t feel guilty and don’t beat yourself up about it. Be cool, Fonzy.
#2. Think about what you learned from your holiday and apply it
Travel always gives you perspective on your life and teaches you so many things about yourself. Take some time to reflect on what you may have learned from your last holiday then find ways to integrate that into your day-to-day life. For example, my last trip showed me I haven’t been having as much fun in my life as I want and need to, so I’m putting more fun into my days and weekends. For other people, it could be the desire to learn a language, read more books, be more social, get active outdoors or start pushing themselves outside their comfort zone. Get busy living!
#3. Pack more fun into each and every day
I’m putting this one here selfishly because it’s my new mantra. Make your days fun by putting more of the things you love into each and every day. That can take shape in many different ways, depending what you’re into. For example, you could cook more and host a weekly dinner for close friends. Visit a farmers market each Sunday and buy yourself the most beautiful bunch of flowers there, carve out time for music, dancing, arts and crafts, reading, photography, learning, outdoors activities or whatever it is you L O V E to do. Deliberately put ONE fun activity into each day, even if it’s something small like playing a game of snakes and ladders with your partner over a glass of wine at night.
#4. Maybe it’s time to reassess
If you’re really that miserable coming home, maybe it’s time to face the facts and ask yourself why. Take some time out to sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself about what, in particular, is making you feel so awful. There is no requirement for you to be unhappy in your life, your happiness is limitless and knows no restrictions. So, remove any of the obstacles in your life preventing you from being happy. Just tell them to buzz off. You have the power to do that, always.
#5. Have some fun activities organised right from the get-go
Don’t go home with no plans for the first few weeks that you get back, unless of course that’s what you like to do. Instead, try to have a few things organised that give you something to look forward to. Organise dinners, lunches and breakfasts with your best friends. Plan a girls night out or a sleepover at a friends house where you watch soppy movies and eat all the chocolate you want without any judgement.
#6. Plan your next holiday
This one is vital! If you love to travel, you’re going to need to have your next holiday planned or have it clear in your head where you’re going next so you can get stuck into the planning phase as soon as your feet hit the ground. The more planning required, the better. We’re talking Excel sspreadsheets comparing hotel costs, daily planners breaking down how long you should spend in each place and at least 15 internet browser tabs open at any one time.
#7. Plan a mini-break
If you’re tight on annual leave, plan a weekend mini-break for the weekend or two after you get home. You could leave work on a Friday afternoon and head somewhere a few hours drive away, spending Friday and Saturday night there. This will give you something to look forward to when you get back and ease you back into life nice and gently. You’ll still feel like you’re on holidays and not quite back to being a proper adult.
#8. Change your routine
Routines are fantastic, until you go away on holidays then come back home and find your same old routine there waiting for you. A routine has a way of really killing your post-holiday buzz, by reminding you that your old life is still here and it’s ready for you to do what you’ve always done. Be gone, foul beast! Instead of slinking back to your old routine like women go slinking back to John Mayer, give it the boot and spice up your life with a brand new routine. Change everything or just change a few things, it’s up to you. Either way it’ll make your days feel fresh and new and stimulate your mind too while it adjusts to the change.
#9. Re-live your holiday
Don’t bury your amazing holiday and hope to forget it. Instead, surround yourself with it and celebrate it. Show friends your favourite photos, make your cat watch a 200 page Power-point presentation about it! Get your favourite photos printed out, make an album (old school!) or have some images printed onto fridge magnets. Find a way to surround yourself with these beautiful memories and change your mindset from being down and out about the holiday being over, to being happy and grateful it happened.
One way to do this is to list, out loud or in your head, all the things you are grateful for from the holiday. Every time you feel sad, just start listing happy things, like; “I’m grateful for the best happy hour I’ve ever experienced, the time Jenna fell in the pool fully-clothed, the amazing sunsets and the chance to swim with dolphins.”
#10. Drink the pain away
If all else fails just get steaming drunk alone in your house with your cat until you find yourself sobbing into your pillow, yelling at the tv during a particularly emotional part of a movie or scouring YouTube for instructional videos on ‘how to twerk’ (I have done all these things and I’m not necessarily proud of that).
Bonus! Watch our ‘Drunk Travel Tips’ Video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.