Tips to Beat Post-Vacation Blues

After vacation, when you have no motivation, depression can become difficult to deal with; however, there are healthy ways to manage symptoms. These methods include building a transition period into your return to “real life,” documenting your trip with photos or a journal, cleaning your house before you leave, and making a self-care plan in advance.

Here are 18 tips for how to get out of a funk related to post vacation blues:

1. Build In an Extra Transition Day Before Going Back to Work

Travel can be unpredictable and you never know when there will be an unexpected delay. Consider giving yourself an extra day of “vacation” at home so you can rest and catch up on any tasks you need to do before returning to work.

2. Document Your Trip With Pictures & Journaling

Consider getting a photo album and printing out the pictures from your trip. Creating a scrapbook of your memories can be comforting and soothing, too.You’ll be able to revisit your happy vacation memories in future.

3. Clean Your House Before Leaving

It’s hard coming home from vacation but it’s even harder coming home to a list of household tasks to complete. Coming back to a clean house can give you a sense of peace.Make the extra effort to do some housekeeping before you leave so you can rest and relax when you arrive home.

4. Make a Self-Care Plan

The benefits of self-care are immense, so take a few minutes to plan activities or practices you can implement during the week you return from vacation. A relaxing bath, warm beverage, or a good book can help you manage exhaustion and post vacation depression.8

5. Focus On Getting Enough Sleep

It’s easy to downplay the importance of sleep, but it’s challenging to be productive when you don’t feel well rested. Practice giving yourself an 8-hour window to create a restful environment and wind down to sleep.

6. Buy Meaningful Souvenirs

When you’re on vacation, consider bringing something memorable home. It may not be expensive, but it should remind you of the experience.9,10 For example, ornaments, magnets, and coffee mugs are great souvenirs that don’t take up a lot of luggage space.

7. Seek Additional Support

Schedule time to catch up with a friend or reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Having social support can be beneficial for your mental and physical health.Also, consider talking to a prescriber about the possibility of taking medication if your symptoms last longer than six weeks.

8. Utilize Employee Benefits Like an EAP

Many full-time positions offer some type of Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This gives you the opportunity to talk to a licensed mental health therapist for 3 to 6 solution-focused therapeutic sessions.11 Contact your human resources department to find out about the process of getting a referral.

9. Validate Your Emotions

Manage your internal dialogue and practice some self-compassion if you’re feeling depressed after vacation. Give yourself some encouragement, too.12 The change of pace from being on vacation to being confronted with the stresses of your daily life can be difficult. Give yourself permission to feel.

10. Practice Mindfulness

Starting a meditation practice and incorporating grounding techniques into your daily routine can be a healthy way to manage stress.13 Additionally, it can help bring you back to the present moment and improve your focus and concentration.

11. Take PTO Days

You may be experiencing post vacation blues because you feel burned out. Consider taking time off from work more frequently.14 Take an extended weekend every other month or tack on an extra day or two to a holiday week.

12. Use Time Blocks

Create a plan for what you want to accomplish and set time aside to complete the tasks you can’t avoid. Prioritize the most important things and accomplish those tasks first.

13. Create a Vacation Fund

Consider putting aside a certain percentage of your income into a savings account specifically for vacation. While it doesn’t need to be a large amount, the funds will add up if you don’t give yourself easy access to the account.15 Ideally it needs to be an automatic transfer so you’re not thinking about the money you’re “missing.”

14. Plan Ahead for the Future

Think about how many days you want to take off in a year and use a calendar to plan it all out. If major holidays are the most important, schedule your time off around them. If you prefer traveling at non-peak times, pick some weekends or days that work for your schedule.

15. Take Inventory of Your Goals

Reflect on what traveling means to you and how it contributes to your emotional well-being. Maybe it’s time to dedicate more time and resources towards an activity that genuinely brings you joy and fulfillment.

16. Focus on the Small Things

Consider adding an activity or outing during your vacation that is more service oriented. Volunteer your time or services to a non-profit organization that has a cause you believe in.16 This can provide a healthy perspective on some of the positive aspects of your life.

17. Create a Ritual

Create an activity around returning home from vacation that makes you feel good.16 Whether you create a special meal or add vacation pictures to a scrapbook, it gives you a tradition to remember the time that you had on vacation.17

18. Disrupt Your Routine

Regardless of what you did on your vacation, it certainly broke your routine. Now, as you acclimate back to your everyday life, you find it boring and feel unmotivated. One way to bring a little excitement into your regular life is by disrupting your routine in subtle ways. For example, consider taking up a new hobby, planning a mini-trip, going to new places in your area, or anything else that can give you a sense of joy and something to look forward to.