How to cope with the post-vacation blues

You’d be hard pushed to find anyone who looks forward to getting back to real life after a vacation. We’ve all fallen victim to the post-vacation blues: work – and a full inbox – is just around the corner. The dull routine of day-to-day life back home is fast becoming a reality and your bank account is probably suffering a little too … Ouch.

We asked thousands of travelers across 20 different countries* how they felt coming back from a vacation. 24% felt stressed coming home, and a whopping 45% felt sad or depressed when going back to work after a vacation.

Wishing you were back in the Appalachian Mountains?

Wishing you were back in the Appalachian Mountains?

But things don’t have to be so hard. We’ve put together our top eight tips for dealing with post-vacation blues, all of which will help you transition from vacation bliss to real life monotony smoothly, and make that vacation stress a thing of the past:

1. Plan the next one

According to research in (deep breath) The Official Journal of the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, the happiest part of a vacation isn’t even the vacation itself – it’s the planning, the excitement and the anticipation of it. So when you’re in the airport or on the flight back home, don’t dilly-dally – get planning your next trip!

2. Embrace the blues

Camping in Zion National Park. A vacation to remember

Camping in Zion National Park. A vacation to remember

It’s key to realize that what you’re feeling is “just” the post-vacation blues and not something more serious. You might feel that your life is incredibly boring just now, but take five minutes somewhere quiet, and make a mental note of all that is good in your life. Life is pretty awesome, no matter where you call home.

3. Get ready to come home – before you’ve left

While it’s easy to get lost in the excitement and rush out the door leaving milk in the fridge at home and emails unanswered at work – take the time to prepare for your return. Going back to work after a vacation is always hard, but knowing that you’ve left everything shipshape will help you completely switch off during the vacation. And as for home: don’t leave your last minute discarded packing strewn across the floor – oh, and throw that milk out.

Read more: For great packing tips, check out our 21 vacation packing tips

4. Revisit your memories

Wandering around the hard-to-believe-it's-real Antelope Canyon

Wandering around the hard-to-believe-it’s-real Antelope Canyon

Sure you might be stuck behind your desk again, but you don’t have to stare at the computer ALL day. Print out a photo from your trip (yes, an actual photo), and stick it by your computer. It will keep the vacation feeling fresh, and give you inspiration to get back there – or somewhere new – as soon as you can. If you’re on Instagram, we love Lalalab app: just choose your Instagram images you want printed, and they’ll come to you in the post. Easy as pie.

5. Ease back in

Take it slow and be good to yourself. If possible, try to give yourself a day or two to readjust to life, do the laundry and catch up on any sleep. If you must head straight back to work, prepare for your return before you leave (see tip number three!), and try to start mid-week – that way your first week is short. According to our Annual Flight Study, the cheapest day to fly is a Tuesday, so that works out well!

6. Weekend break

Argh! Left my keys on the beach

Argh! Left my keys on the beach

Your next vacation doesn’t have to be years or hundreds of miles away – why not do a weekend jaunt? Try your home country or somewhere close by – sometimes all that matters is getting out of town (for some travel inspiration, check out our City Breaks).

7. Make a change

Coming back from a vacation and seeing your home and all the same old things in it can be a little depressing sometimes. So why not change it? Besides – doesn’t life seem a lot less complicated when you’re living out of a suitcase? Declutter, and give your place a good spring clean no matter the month, and you’ll be surrounded by a new place for a new you.

8. Exercise mind and body

Want to recreate that happy feeling as you cycled through Key West? On yer bike!

Want to recreate that happy feeling as you cycled through Key West? On yer bike!

We know, we know – no one wants to read about how you should exercise, but there’s no denying the science: all those endorphins that rush through you while you’re on vacation? They’re the same ones that rush through you after working out. And if you really can’t drag yourself to the gym, get out and be social. Hanging out with friends and keeping your mood high will do the same job – just without the physical benefits …

We’ve tried to make these tips to help you shake that post-travel depression as realistic and achievable as possible – and you don’t need to do them all. Try one and if it doesn’t work, try another – and remember, where you live isn’t all bad: your next adventure could be just around the corner …

Keep busy by researching your next vacation and check out our five free hacks for smart travelers. If the travel bug just won’t leave your system, perhaps it’s time you swapped the 9 to 5 indoors for a whenever-you-want-wherever-you-want life: the digital nomad lifestyle.
* Data collected through a global travel survey conducted in January 2016, covering the travel habits for 20 countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America. 29,000 people aged between 18 and 65, demographically representative of their respective countries’ population, completed the survey