Cope With Post-Trip Blues


By Michele Bacigalupo

Photo courtesy of Giuseppe Milo.

In an ideal scenario, vacations typically leave an imprint of euphoria upon travelers. The right vacation can feel like a magical getaway to some–surreal while the journey’s happening and even more so after it comes to an end.

Nevertheless when such a blissful time does draw to a close, it’s normal for vacationers to be overcome with the exact opposite mood. Many travelers suffer from post-trip depression after returning home, but few are aware of methods on how to battle the blues.

One coping strategy returning travelers take–that may sound self-explanatory–is to start planning their itinerary for their next trip. While booking an imminent adventure will certainly distract from the current state of sadness and desire to escape, there are also several disadvantages that accompany this line of action.

First of all, it’s a temporary solution. If the post-vacation blues are a serious issue affecting a person’s everyday life, then it may be more harmful than not to put off dealing with the depression’s aftermath. Prolonging the healing process only increases the likelihood that the sadness will resonate more strongly after a traveler returns from the next vacation.

Taking the easy route of planning another trip also carries the danger of preventing a person from being mindful of the present. By focusing mainly on the future, people will have a harder time realizing their current situation and state of being. Becoming so entrenched in such a distraction can result in missing the opportunities that would benefit everyday life.

Photo courtesy of Angelo De Mesa.

A more proactive approach to managing post-vacation blues is to plan in advance for the return home. The process of traveling often involves numerous detailed steps, including researching where to go, purchasing tickets, packing bags, and finding transportation. If a traveler simply takes the time to add only a few more returning steps to the vacation to-do list, such efforts will make the wave of post-trip depression easier to avoid.

For example, if returning to school or work after a trip, avoid the stress of expecting to catch up on everything right away. If possible, it’s best to return home on the early side of any commitments. Arriving back in town a day early allows a person to calmly get readjusted into the usual routine.

Even a few extra hours grants enough time for an individual to unpack and accomplish a few tasks like grocery shopping. This way, essential chores can be checked off the list before it’s time to head back to work or school.

A significant aspect of the sorrow that can accompany coming home is the fact that things don’t feel quite the same as before the trip. The feeling is especially likely to happen after returning from a long-term traveling. Many people report feeling that they themselves have changed from their worldly adventures, and as a result have outgrown the place where they originated.

Traveling broadens humans’ horizons, exposing them to new experiences and cultural outlooks. It only makes sense that home strikes an individual as mundane following a vacation. A way to get past the boredom is to take the time to catch up with friends and family upon returning. Connecting with loved ones shows that an individual genuinely cares about them, plus it strengthens bonds that may have been neglected while the parties were separated.

Photo courtesy of Jens Karlsson.

Another effective method of combating depression–be it post-vacation or any form of the blues–is exercise. By putting their bodies in motion, exercisers automatically feel a million times better thanks the offset of endorphins. These natural chemicals help to clear the mind and reduce an individual’s perception of pain.

Through exercise, the advantages are manifold. An individual will not just boost happiness levels, but will also condition his body to be in better shape. Think about it–a fitter, more toned version of you can be captured in your next series of vacation pictures.

Joining a team sport is also a great means to meet new people, including potential fellow travel companions. It’s an excellent way to spice up the repetitive routine and escape the rut of monotony.

Remember that even when the post-trip blues are hitting the hardest, there is always an available solution.