Post holiday blues has the ability to sneak up on you and completely smack you off your feet! It can suck the life and happy vibes right out from your soul.
Going from one extreme of the buzz of exploring a new country, destination, culture to being back in boring reality can be pretty daunting! Not all of us can travel full time even if we wanted to! So for some of us this is reality! Coming home after travelling, returning back to work and returning back to routine.
Post travel depression after a trip is so real that they even have an acronym for it – PTD! Go figure!
In this Post:
1: Why do we feel the post-trip blues?
2: How to get over post-travel depression
3: Benefits of after travel depression – because yes there are some!
What is Post Holiday Blues?
Post vacation blues or post-holiday blues is a type of depressed and anxious mood that holidaymakers often experience when returning home from a trip. Whilst symptoms usually are mild feelings of being dissatisfied with life, it might also include short bouts of crying after vacation has ended.
Why do we feel the Post Travel Blues?
It seems that there can be a multitude of reasons why we feel depressed after vacation. Travel is beneficial to our health in so many ways.
There are valid reasons for these post holiday blues, and true reasons as to why it is so hard to adjust back to your normal way of life. This image from Getaway Brigade wraps the post holiday depression symptoms real well.
5 Typical Post Travel Depression Symptoms
The symptoms of post-holiday depression can really include some or even all of the following: anxiety, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, headaches, sleeping too much or too little, change in appetite, weight loss or gain, inability to concentrate, increased desire to be alone, and loss of interest in things you usually enjoy.
Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says: ‘Bear in mind it takes a good three days to wind down when you go on holiday so likewise, it will take you a bit of time to re-immerse yourself in real life.'
My Story of Travel Depression Anxiety:
We recently came back from a family holiday to Cambodia. I am now on long service leave and therefore have no job except for blogging to return to, I thought our return from Cambodia would be a happy one! However, knowing we are home-bound for my last trimester of pregnancy and the birth of my baby has escalated my post travelling depression to a new dimension.
There is nothing like feeling like you are stuck!! That you have no choice but to be where you are right this minute! No matter how strong you can feel the pull to explore and wander some more!
I think that to some extent all of the points in the image; that outlines the reasons for depression after traveling; applies to our return after coming back from holiday! Understanding post-trip depression helps you to move beyond the symptoms.
1. The sadness from leaving behind a new country explored, the friendships made along the way and the favourite destinations in the country that connected with your soul, all which has the potential to leave you feeling depressed after travelling.
2. The nostalgia that comes from having an awesome trip and knowing that it is a once in a lifetime memory!
3. Having to return to the routine of life, the school lunches, the school drop offs! Having to do our own washing again and make our own meals. Knowing that there is no adventure or excitement awaiting us every single day and that some days will just be ‘boring’ as we get some jobs and housework out of the way!
4. Reverse culture shock! I think we have felt reverse culture shock to the extremes on our return from our two last trips! Visiting countries where the people have to go through a harder lifestyle than us and experiencing how people who work incredibly hard and have so little material things against their names, can be so incredibly happy with life! And here we are, lucky and fortunate in a country where luxury is almost a given and material things consume our lives! The difference between our lifestyle compared to theirs really struck us!
5. And of course even as travel bloggers we still come home with a credit card bill that we need to repay before our next travels!
At 24 Weeks pregnant I could barely see those wanderlust feet of mine!
I have restless soul syndrome! And this being ‘stuck' at home is making my after traveling depression pretty damn real!
How to Beat the Post Travel Depression
Below is a list of ideas of how to deal with post travel depression. Now as an important side note, if you have more than post holiday blues and it is edging towards severe depression after vacation, you really need to stop reading my post and get yourself some professional help.
1. Allow yourself time to adjust
It is important to realize that it is pretty normal to feel depressed after traveling. And often we used up our energy on an adrenaline rush to explore a new destination, only to get back home with little to zero energy left for the normal everyday stuff.
Next, it is important to deal with jet lag. “The body clock, which is in the brain in the hypothalamus, takes a few days to adjust to the timing of light and darkness at the destination, and this disrupted rhythm results in a host of unpleasant symptoms, including tiredness, headache, disorientation, poor concentration and indigestion,” explains Dr Peter Prendergast of Venus Medical. Allow yourself time to adjust and do expect a level of after trip depression to show up.
If at all possible, build in an extra vacation day at the end of your trip to simply be at home and recover!
2. Keep hold of your Travel Memories in a creative way
One of the easiest ways to help move past the depression after travel is to start working on recording those travel memories in some creative way. “Research has shown that if we can recall positive memories they can boost our positive emotions in the moment,” says Dr Green, clinical psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute.
- Turn your favorite travel photos into canvas prints. We love finding cheap canvas deals with Easy Canvas Prints. Grab your 25% off plus FREE shipping with our link.
- Make a slideshow or montage from your favorite travel photos and videos. Then you can easily watch it back and revisit your incredible memories, plus you can share it with friends. You can use iPhoto or Google Photos to make one yourself or use a service, like EverPresent, that specializes in making custom slideshows
- Write blog posts about your travels.
- Create a coffee photo book of your vacation. My go-to photo book printing company is Blurb!
- Get hands on and loose yourself in the art and craft of scrapbooking. I love to create travel scrapbooks of my trips so that I can include ticket stubs and pamphlets from the holiday. I'm totally in love with K&CompanySmash Folio. Another brilliant product to organize all your ticket stubs is a Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer. A really awesome product!
3. Be in a Tourist in your own Area
While we are grounded for the last trimester we are doing our best to keep the wanderlust bug at bay by exploring more of the local area! Recently we had a beautiful and relaxing day exploring all that Noosa on the Sunshine Coast has to offer! Blog research of course! But at least it gets us out and exploring. I think this view says it all!
4. Evaluate what isn't working
Maybe it is time to look at why home life is so depressing? Are you too busy? Do you need to change your job? Do you need more balance in life? Do you have fun hobbies and activities that you participate in. Ask yourself some questions and try to understand why being home is so hard. Can you make any changes? A really good book to read is The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. It is a great eye opener to looking at life with fresh eyes and reevaluating whether the 9-5 lifestyle is making you happy.
5. Practice thankfulness through a gratitude journal
My passion area in counselling is on meditation and gratitude. Gratitude is so incredibly powerful. When you expressing gratitude (or thankfulness), you create a surge of ”feel-good” brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. In fact, several studies show that being grateful reduces the risk of depression.
I did a research project in my masters of counselling that was centered around gratitude's connection with well-being and happiness and the results were incredible!
There are two super easy ways to practice gratitude. You might choose to share your thoughts of thankfulness with another person. We do this every night around the dinner table. Or for those who love to keep their thoughts private, you might choose to express your gratitude by journaling.
I personally love the The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life! You will be surprised how beneficial thankfulness can be when you are struggling with post-travel depression.
6. Start planning the next trip!
I love planning trips! That is something that I enjoy even more than writing about them post-trip. So even though I know we can’t head anywhere far from home till baby-love is at least 6 weeks old, I am already planning and prepping for our next trip abroad! We have already bought tickets for our entire family for a trip to Bali, Lombok and Gili Islands! I’m onto finding our accommodation and slowly making my way through figuring out which day trips will be newborn-baby-friendly whilst there!
It keeps me moving forward and it keeps me motivated! The blues are still there in the background, lingering around, but at least I can choose to focus on something more pleasant than to just sulk around!
Planning a trip, no matter how prematurely, can be really beneficial. Dr Green, clinical psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute, says: “Research tells us that anticipation of the experience of pleasure is nearly as pleasurable as the experience itself.” So even if the trip is years away, go and start brainstorming where you want to go and what you want to see.
I love using Pinterest to start off my holiday research. Make sure to follow us as well 🙂
Books are always brilliant for inspiring some travel ideas. Here are some of my favorites!
Once you know where you are going, you might like to use our Travel Planning Hub to start researching your prices and dates.
7. Use journaling to foster positive change
Journaling is another powerful tool that you can make use of. It can be so ‘releasing' to simply get your thoughts out on paper. Clear out your brain for more positive and happy thoughts. If your head is full of negativity, it can be hard to squeeze in positive thoughts, so grab a journal and release the thoughts that are currently there.
Make it a daily practice. And simply write 1-3 pages every morning or every night. Write whatever comes up in your brain, the idea here is to simply let go and get it out! No judgement, no analyzing … just write!
8. Pick a job that allows you to earn whilst travelling!
What do you currently do for a living? Could you incorporate travel into your career? For example a teacher can teach anywhere in the world. A hairdresser can cut hair wherever they want. See our post on the best travel jobs in the world.
As hard as it is to live with post travel depression, especially when you know that there are no immediate trips in your near future, there is actually a positive side to the misery that comes from the blues that follows a holiday.
For me it teaches you about aspects of yourself or your life that you are not happy with! Why did these emotions tackle me and what is it that I need to change in order to be happier to return home in the future? What is working in your life and what is not! Travel is addictive, but it is also important to have an addictive lifestyle that you are passionate about even when you are NOT traveling!
Benefits of Post Vacation Blues
- Post travel depression can help us figure out what we are not enjoying about our current way of life, and open our eyes to what we are truly passionate about!
- It opens our yearning to do more with our lives, to be more, to travel more, to learn and discover more!
- Post travel depression is a great motivator to start saving those dollars for the next trip away!
- It makes you appreciate how lucky we truly are to be able to travel and explore other countries and other ways of life!
- It makes us re-evaluate how we live and makes us notice the things that we tend to normally take for granted!
- It makes us take action to break away from the normal routines of life!
Post Travel Depression Quotes – Because for some Reason Quotes Help!
What about you!
Beautiful photo of a sunset at a beach in Noosa National Park! Sometimes beauty lies just beyond your front door!
Travel; makes u grateful for what u have, but also opens your eyes to how different life could be!
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