Habits that Help Alleviate Post-Vacation Depression
Habits are much harder to create than they are to keep. Creating new habits is challenging because these new habits have to resonate for them to gain momentum and can quickly fall flat if they are not met with positive reinforcement. That’s why it’s so important to dabble with a few different habits to see what works for us.
These tips from our therapists about post-vacation habits can help you keep post-vacation depression at bay.
Helpful tips from our therapists:
- Take an extra day off work, or come back a day early to start readjusting into your usual routine. This is a great time to tackle tasks like unpacking, cleaning, and grocery shopping which will help you feel more prepared for the week ahead
- If possible, block an hour of your first day back to work on your calendar. Use this time at the start of your day to catch up on emails and to focus on your top priorities for the day or week ahead
- Before leaving for vacation try to tidy up and cross some of your normal chores off your list— it will be worth it to avoid coming back to a mess
- Set out your work clothes before you unpack so they don’t get mixed up in the clothing explosion that tends to take over your closet post-vacation
- Defer unpacking until you have time to put everything away properly
- Pack your lunch and work bag the night before so that you can just grab and go in the morning — you may feel more tired than usual the day after a vacation
- Go to bed early or as soon as possible if returning late at night
— Ashley Ertel, LCSW, BCD, C-DBT (She/Her/Hers)
- Develop a personal mantra, “I’m smart, talented, physically appealing, and motivated”
- Put some community-oriented plans on the calendar (giving you something to look forward to)
- Reach out and ask a friend about their end of vacation scaries and how they managed
- Create a routine that incorporates some mindfulness (early in the morning or late in the evening)
- Allow yourself space to grieve the loss of vacation coming to an end
- Remind yourself that time and space is fluid, peace and chaos go hand in hand
- Reflect on your life in weekly, monthly, and even yearly increments to make sure you are headed to the best versions of yourself
- Reevaluate your work and/or school to ensure you are pursuing your passion
- Find role models that have healthy ways of dealing with post-vacation depression
— Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC (She/Her/Hers)
Since there are so many people that struggle adjusting after a vacation you can rest easy knowing you’re not alone and there are ways to manage feelings of depression and anxiety. That said, not all coping mechanisms are created equal. Focus on avoiding behaviors that only temporarily alleviate depression, since they can lead to an escalation of symptoms down the line. Instead, focus on creating functional habits that can be positively reinforced and maintained.
Most importantly, know that you can always access a professional if you are finding yourself paralyzed by negative coping mechanisms or if you are struggling to find ways to positively and successfully manage your post-vacation depression.