Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

4 Oct

As many of you know I recently returned from holidays. I spent two fabulous weeks on the east coast of Malaysia and in Australia’s Hunter Valley region. I will be posting many jealousy-inducing details about my trip here in the coming weeks but thought I’d dedicate this post to the downside of fabulous vacations – the inevitable return to reality.

Post-holiday blues is actually quite a common condition, a quick google search reveals. And whilst I’m no doctor I am certain of my diagnosis – I’ve got it, and big time. Now I should start off by saying I am well aware that this is not a condition that elicits very much sympathy from others, indeed one should be grateful to have had the time and resources to go on holiday at all – but indulge me just a little.

I returned from Malaysia with a nasty bout of tonsillitis, a niggling chest infection, and a pulled hamstring muscle. So my expectations of returning fresh, rested and ready to take on the rest of the year were already a little dampened. Then there was the fact that amazingly, it is still cold in Melbourne. As in, winter coat cold in the mornings. Then there was that little thing called work that reared its ugly head early on Monday morning. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but just not as much as I love sitting by a pool sipping mojitos.

By the time Monday lunchtime rolled around I was well and truly in a bad mood. I had no food in the house, nothing but 20 loads of dirty washing awaiting my attention and nothing on the horizon to look forward to (you know, except for Christmas, a wedding and a honeymoon but those are AGES away). Moodily, I turned to the internet for inspiration. After ruling out the possibility of moving to Club Med Malaysia as a permanent guest ($100k for a year was just a little too steep) I started looking for other more cost effective remedies.

Many websites cite extended exposure to sunlight and time spent doing only what we want to do as reasons why we feel so well on holidays. The suspension of reality (i.e. no bills to pay, no deadlines to meet) also adds to this feeling of intense freedom. This sensation is intensified when one stays at Club Med, where everything is prepaid and included, and internet/ phone reception is limited – a true getaway.

Suggestions for getting over the post holiday blues included bringing some of your holiday activities into your everyday life. Whilst flying trapeze is a bit out of the question, there’s no reason why I can’t continue to play tennis (albeit badly) once a week. And whilst I might not have a Indian yoga instructor at my disposal for sunrise yoga sessions everyday (nor the time or inclination to practise daily) I can remember most of his class and try to practise by myself on weekend mornings.

Experts in the field also recommend scheduling activities to look forward to in the short term, so tonight we are taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and going to a live music venue in St Kilda. And, (though technically I think this might be breaking the rules of holiday rehab) we’ve just booked a weekend in the Yarra Valley full of wineries, good food, tennis, golf and maybe even a massage.

Making any large life-changing decisions immediately after a holiday is apparently not a good idea (it’s like they could read my mind… I guess now isn’t the best time to drop everything and become a yoga instructor – and perhaps I should work on my shoulder stand a bit more), but I think a bunch of small changes will be just what the doctor ordered.

Have you ever suffered from the post-holiday blues? What are your tips?

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Mojito image courtesy of mikelbelza.carbonmade.com on Flickr.
Beach yoga image courtesy of patriziasoliani on Flickr.

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8 Responses to “Beat the Post-Holiday Blues”

  1. Miss Bellini October 4, 2012 at 6:56 AM #

    Yes! Post-holiday blues is a real thing. I hated one of my jobs so much I refused to take a vacation for four years simply because I didn’t think I could cope with the end of vacation blues. I was working twelve plus hours a day and I knew that if I took a vacation there was a significant chance I wouldn’t return to the office once it was over. Clearly I was out of my mind.

    • parisinmypocket October 5, 2012 at 12:26 PM #

      Thanks Miss Bellini! Wow four years is a long time, I hope you are enjoying your job more these days and that you finally took that well-deserved vacation!!

  2. Amelie October 4, 2012 at 9:32 PM #

    OMG, I could have written this article (if I had your talent and dedication) as it’s describing perfectly well everything I have been experiencing in the last couple of weeks… Plus it seems like we’ve had almost the same holiday (went to France and Indonesia, didn’t play tennis but did scuba-diving, and spent an indecent amount of time in the sun and doing only what I wanted)…

    I had a feeling making life-changing decisions immediately after a holiday weren’t a good idea… does that count if the decision was half-taken before going, and 100% confirmed on day 3 of my holiday?? Oh well, we’ll see how we go.

    My tip: if I feel I’m getting frustrated or negative, I try to remember this feeling I had in the sun, when I had total freedom and anything could have happened without phasing me… Because freedom and peacefulness are really a state of mind (even though the environment obviously helps)…

    • parisinmypocket October 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM #

      Merci Amelie! I am happy to hear I am not the only one who feels like this. And I think you are fine with your life-changing decision, as it is a sensible one (as opposed to the many ridiculous ones I’ve had pile up in my daydreams!). Thanks for your tip, I remember saying to Max one day when I was so hot even in the pool I couldn’t cool off ‘Remind me of this moment when I’m cold in Melbourne next week’ and I too often think back to this moment! You are very correct, it is a state of mind. Everyday tasks do seem to get in the way, but I have found that some of the things I ‘have’ to do are actually a bit more flexible than I thought (i.e. it doesn’t really matter if once a week I don’t make my lunch for work, or if the dishes stay dirty for more than one day) which helps. Good luck easing back into work!

  3. Karima October 5, 2012 at 12:46 AM #

    Excellent article!
    The positive is that now, you’re back and you can write us new articles!
    We had no holidays since last Christmas, so this feeling is a far souvenir…

    • parisinmypocket October 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM #

      Thanks Karima – yes of course there is a silver lining – I’m looking forward to writing lots of new posts 🙂 I’m sorry you haven’t had time for holidays in a long time, I am very lucky!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Those Long Yellow Links « That Long Yellow Line - October 6, 2012

    […] wrote about beating the post-holiday blues, so it was nice to see that other people agree with some of our ideas! (from Paris In My […]

  2. Springtime is Picnic Season! « paris in my pocket - October 11, 2012

    […] that this weekend might just be the time. We’re off to the Yarra Valley (to banish any lingering post-holiday blues) and I’ve tentatively pencilled in a picnic for Saturday lunch. The current weather forecast […]

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