Whether you’ve had some time off to travel to your favourite holiday spot or taken a ‘staycation’ to rest and recharge, heading back to work after taking leave can be an overwhelming and – for some – dreaded thought.
Regardless of how much you enjoy your work, the transition back to early mornings and structured days can trigger a case of the ‘post-holiday blues’. It may not be considered an actual syndrome, but it is a real problem that many people struggle with (especially if you’re feverishly trying to fit in your New Year’s resolutions to travel more).
Methma Atapattu, Trainee Counsellor at Murdoch’s onsite counselling facility Caladenia Clinic, provides her top seven tips to help you beat the post-holiday blues and readjust to your normal life.
1. Follow an immediate self-care routine
Travelling can be invigorating, but it can also be exhausting. Upon returning home from your holiday, try to get plenty of rest before you get back into your usual routine. If you are suffering from jetlag, it’s important to reset your biological clock by getting back into your pre-holiday sleep routine. Readjusting your body with adequate sleep, a healthy diet and your usual exercise routine will help you get back to your daily life with a refreshed mind and body.
2. Focus on your mental health
Coming home after an amazing holiday can take a significant toll on your mental health. It can make your everyday life feel tedious and exhausting in comparison to the life you lived on holidays. Take time to focus on your mental health regularly by doing things you enjoy. Catch up with family and friends or if you’re not feeling up to it, find activities you can enjoy solo.
Try to minimise your stress at work and at home by creating a tailor-made mental health self-care plan to include activities like sport, cooking, or listening to music, or whatever makes you happy and helps to define your life between work, study and other responsibilities. This will help you get rid of the blues and be the best version of yourself as you get back to your daily life.
3. Reflect on your time off
The memories you make on holidays are unforgettable and these new experiences can often shape your life and contribute to your personal development. Use your post-holiday time to reflect on your experience away, the things you learnt and what they add to your life.
Re-live your memories by looking through your photos or share them with family and friends. This will help you sustain the experience for a longer time and remind you of the little things that made your holiday enjoyable.
4. Spend time outdoors
You don’t have to be overseas to have an adventure. Look for hidden treasures in your area and plan short trips out of the city. Social media can be a great way to help you find new holiday-worthy places within a short drive from your home.
Make yourself a list of all the things you can do within one hour’s drive from home and try to take a trip somewhere new when you can. A short hike in a national park or a BBQ at a hidden beach can make all the difference to your week, and can give you the much needed time away from your phone to enjoy your present surroundings.
5. Find seasonal activities to engage in
The weather can affect your mood and contribute towards post-holiday blues, especially if you’ve been holidaying somewhere sunny and are returning to gloomy winter weather at home. Try to remember, every season has its charm and offers unique experiences. Do some research on seasonal events and activities on offer in your area. Online event boards, council websites and local blogs are a great place to start if you’re looking for inspiration.
6. Help out travellers in your area
There’s no shortage of lost and confused travellers waiting for a local to show them the best places in town. If you have the time and resources to help, playing tour guide can be a great way to meet new people and experience the best your city has to offer - like you would if you were on holidays. Mobile apps such as Couchsurfing can be a convenient and safe way to get in touch with travellers who are looking for help when travelling.
7. Plan your next holiday
The ultimate way to cure the post-holiday blues is to plan your next holiday. For many people, planning a trip can be just as exciting as the trip itself. Talk to your friends, other travellers, and follow travel blogs to get ideas for your next trip. With a lot of planning time on your hands, you will also be able to experience the benefits of great flight and hotel deals, holiday packages, and numerous travel options.
The good news is, post-holiday blues don’t last forever. Set some time aside for yourself while you get back into your everyday routine.
If you can’t shake the post-holiday blues, book an appointment and talk to the counsellors at Caladenia Clinic. Having someone actively listening to you will help you clear your thoughts and feel like your usual self in no time.