Money Conversations: Post-Vacation Blues
The summer days are over, and for many families – the vacation time is over as well. While some are just thankful to finally have the kids back at school, others may be finding themselves slowly drowning in a phenomenon called post-vacation depression. Returning back to reality and the prospect of long-hour days at work before another chance to catch a break may be daunting for some. In fact, TripAdvisor, a major US travel company, has gathered astounding statistics: 56% of respondents report post-vacation sadness, and 68% of users start planning the next trip right after their vacation. It is no secret that depression can cause poorer performance. To avoid an unpleasant situation at work, check out this quick list that will, hopefully, help to snap you out of this mind trap and keep you motivated throughout the year.
A list of thanks. It is a good habit to make a daily list of people and things you are thankful for. Your home and work are no exception. Nothing can beat relaxing in your own bed or bathtub, the comfort of making a meal in your own kitchen, parading around in your favorite pajamas and slippers, rereading favorite books, watching your kids play with their favorite toys, etc. There is also simple pleasure in returning to work, having conversations with coworkers and customers, sharing photos and experiences, catching up on the missed news. You can make it all count, as long as you don’t let these precious moments slip unnoticed.
Make a bucket list of local adventures. Just because you are back home does not mean the adventures are over. Make a list of local places you would like to visit or revisit. Reunite with family and friends, stop by your favorite bakery, coffee shop, take a road trip to a town in your state you have never been to, but would like to learn about.
Indulge in an occasional luxurious meal. Vacations and dining out go hand in hand. Returning to grocery shopping and cooking may be difficult. Allow yourself to ease into your old routine by substituting a few meals with an outing, a take-out or even experimenting with something new and exciting in the kitchen.
Treat yourself to something you might have wanted for a while. While the idea of spending money after a vacation may be wild, small simple pleasures can boost your mood and help you transition back easier. It may be something as simple as a crafted soap, a loaf of artisan bread from a farmer’s market, a new plant for your garden: something not too expensive, yet something you have been putting off or not allowed yourself to afford before. Here is a tip: next time you budget for a vacation, consider a portion of funds for post-vacation needs and expenses and, in this case, even wants.
Pray or meditate. Or just stop running and take a pause. We have become so used to living on autopilot and rushing around that we have forgotten the childish skill of observation. Take a few minutes a day to just observe and soak in the beautiful world that surrounds us. Multiple studies have proven that regular meditation and other spiritual exercises can significantly improve physical health, brain function, productivity, mood and overall life satisfaction.
Take a nap. Yes, you read that right. A recent Forbes magazine article has revealed that NASA pilots take an average of 26 minutes in-flight naps which has demonstrated a “34% increase in alertness and 16% increase in reaction time.” So on your next lunch break, consider carving out a few minutes for a quick snooze.
Set future goals and plans. After vacation, when your head is more clear and refreshed, it is time to set and plan out your goals for the future. Whatever it is that rocks your boat in life: the next vacation, family gathering, hobby, a project or entrepreneurship – start planning those steps. Put a picture of whatever it is that tickles your fancy on your desktop, dashboard, locker (wherever it is that you work) as a reminder that this is what you get to enjoy as a result of those long hours at work, and this reminder, well, might just make all the difference.
In conclusion, there is really nothing more left to mention other than this beat-up phrase: stop living in the past and enjoy the moment! Finding joy in simple things, discovering an ability to slow down in this fast-paced world and setting a clear course of action for the future may be the panacea you need not only in the moments of those post-vacation blues, but also as you jazz through your everyday life.