Going on vacations and breaks are a necessity for maintaining your mental health.
However, your return from vacation might create more anxiety or depression than even existed before your time off.
Before going back to work, you may experience anxious thoughts, increased worries, sleep problems, headaches, and more.
All of these symptoms are very common. Some call this state re-entry anxiety or stress, others — post-vacation blues and even post-vacation depression.
That said, it’s important to create a plan for when you return to avoid post-vacation gloom.
1. Before you leave home, tidy up
In the lead up to a vacation, it can be easy to think, “I’ll deal with that when I get back.” If you can manage it, putting fresh sheets on your bed, clean towels in your bathroom, and maybe a new book on your nightstand will make your eventual return feel more like a “welcome home.”
2. Plan transition days
If you can make it work with your budget and schedule, give yourself a day or so to adjust before you have to return to work. You’ll have time then to grocery shop, unpack, do laundry, and take care of anything unexpected that came up while you were away.
3. Put something inexpensive and fun on your calendar
Before your trip, plan an event to look forward to when you return, like a movie, lunch with friends, or a round of golf. It doesn’t have to be an expensive event, considering many budgets are tight after vacation splurges.
4. Pack a travel journal
Memories fade — even the vivid ones. If you spend a few minutes every day during your vacation writing down your adventures and misadventures, you’ll have a record you can revisit for years to come.
Feeling blue and not wanting to go back to work is perfectly normal. Know that it is temporary, likely to fade in just one or two weeks.
But if the depressive state lingers, it may be a sign of something more. It may mean that you aren’t enjoying your work as much as you used to, and maybe it’s time to consider some changes.