So, today is my first day back at work after an incredible week of skiing, and predictably, I am suffering from some serious post-holiday blues. They get me every time, as soon as I touch back down on the metaphorically grey English soil.
But, to be honest, real life is really not all that bad. Here are my top ten methods to help readjust to the post-holiday comedown, psychically and mentally.
- Prepare before you go away. When you’re getting all excited about your upcoming holiday, you may really not want to think about the inevitability of coming back to reality. However, future-you will be incredibly thankful if you’ve tidied your room, emptied the dishwasher / bins, laid out some comfy clothes, and ironed a shirt for work the morning after you get back. Trust me.
- Don’t make plans the day you get back. Sure, it may sound fun to go for a ‘big night out’ to catch up with everyone you missed while you were away the day you get home, but in reality, you’re probably going to regret making those plans. Give yourself a day or two to recover and chill a little, then go catch up with your buddies.
- Unpack quickly. Okay, so you don’t necessarily have to start unpacking the second you walk back through the door, but the longer you leave it, the worse you will feel (plus, all the stuff you need to wash will get more and more grim). I normally give myself 24 hours to have everything unpacked from when I get home.
- Take a walk somewhere pretty. Remind yourself that the place you live actually has some great places in it too. Ideally, leave your phone at home and just go ‘be’ somewhere for half an hour or so.
- Go do some exercise. If you’re anything like me, after wearily dropping your bags down as you stagger back into your life, post-holiday, the last thing you’ll want to do is go for a run. And maybe it’s not the best thing to do straight away. However, exercise can a) help you get back in a healthier routine following a couple of weeks existing on cheese and sangria, b) help stretch out the kinks you accumulated during hours of cramped travelling, and c) just generally lift your mood out of the post-holiday blues.
- Eat a vegetable. Similar to going to do some form of exercise (yoga is great to mellow you out of post-holiday sadness), eating something vaguely healthy will also help you feel physically and mentally better. I like something easy and comforting (like soup and a toastie, with yogurt and berries to follow), but also with some ‘goodness’ in it after a week of over-indulging.
- Write a diary. I have always been a fan of diary-writing, and I find recording an amazing holiday always helps me bring to mind my absolute favourite parts, ensures that I wont forget all the incredible things that happened, and places I went, and also gives me some kind of ‘closure’ on the experience.
- Treat yourself to a ‘home spa day’. Regardless of how relaxing my actual holiday was, I always feel pretty grimy when I get in from a long flight / car-drive / train journey, and after holidays involving a lot of exercise / exploring / other fun-but-tiring activities, I feel like I really need a pamper day. As much as I would love to go for an actual, post-holiday spa day, I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that my finances are extra tight after a week or two of holidaying. Fortunately, it’s easily possible to have a gloriously hot bath, exfoliate and moisturise your face, paint your nails, and give yourself a little hand / foot massage (or, if you’re lucky, get a partner / BFF to do it for you) for next to nothing.
- Read something inspiring before you go back to work. Often, the prospect of returning to work after a holiday is a pretty sad one, but one thing I try to do before I go back is remind myself how much my PhD means to me, and that I do actually enjoy the work I do, so I try to read a relevant article in my field to get me feeling ‘fired up’ again. Even if you’re not in a job you love, it might be worth trying to inspire yourself by reading something / looking at some images, to remind yourself why you head into work every day (getting a foot in the door / saving for a house / putting food on the table for your family), which will hopefully make it easier to go back post-holiday, and help you be more productive.
- Start wanderlust-ing. If you love to travel, even if you’re short of cash (especially after having just shelled out on a holiday), you can always start planning your next adventure. Do some research, pin some photos, and start to budget the next place you want to explore <3.
So, there you have it. Holidays are wonderful, and it’s always tough to come back, but it doesn’t have to be that bad. I’ve survived the first day back at my desk, and I’m feeling okay. If anyone has any other techniques they use to get over their post-holiday blues, I would love to know!