How to Avoid the Post-Vacation Blues

It was a sunny 80-degree day in Austin, Texas. All the other days of my vacation I woke up feeling energized, but this day was different.

I was flying home that night and my anxiety levels were through the roof. My mind was racing realizing all the responsibilities of school and work that awaited me upon my return. The little voice inside my head was telling me I was being a baby and overreacting. I needed to be appreciative of my fabulous trip, and accept the fact that I was going back to ‘reality’.

But then, my friend woke up and immediately expressed the same feelings of distress. We thought the feeling would go away shortly, but it didn’t. After some internet searching, we found that post-vacation blues appear to be a common trend for travelers. We worked to ease our anxiety using the following tips:

  1. Enjoy the last day to the fullest: Our flight departed around 5 p.m. At first, we were going to just pack and grab something to eat. But then we decided we had plenty of time to get one last activity in. We ended up going on a hike. This was a perfect way to relax and destress in nature.
  2. Avoid procrastination: We’re both college students. One of the main reasons we had such terrible anxiety on our last day is because we avoided all of our projects that were due the week of our return. It would have been better to finish these prior to our vacation.
  3. Plan the days of your trip effectively: My friend and I traveled together to Austin, but we also met up with other friends that were visiting at the same time. On our last day, many of our friends had already left the day before. This added to our anxiety because we missed the group we enjoyed our trip with. In the future, we would arrive a day earlier instead of staying a day later.
  4. Exercise or meditate: Hiking on our last day soothed our anxiety and helped us clear our minds. We also practiced deep breathing to calm ourselves. An app we both found useful was Stop, Breathe, & Think. The app asks you exactly how you’re feeling and will adjust a meditation to fit your mood.
  5. Detox and unwind: The purpose of our trip to Austin was to attend the annual SXSW Music Festival. This involved four days of lots of walking, dancing, and not eating the healthiest foods or hydrating like we should have been. We were sure to eat healthy on our last day and drink plenty of water. Next time, we’ll do this throughout the entire trip.
  6. Start planning for your next trip: The end of a vacation can sometimes feel like a bummer if you’re not sure when the next one will be. After returning home, I began brainstorming where I would like to travel to next and setting a tentative date to visit. This gave me something to look forward to and not focus on the sadness of a great trip ending.

Hopefully these tips can help relieve any stress or anxiety that comes with the end of a vacation. Identifying exactly what it is that is giving you the blues will put you on the right track to conquering your anxiety and getting back to your usual routine.

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Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan

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