How to prevent the shit Post-holiday Blues

Image by Thomas Urquhart
IMG by Thomas Urquhart

What is Post-Holiday Blues?

So the term Post-Holiday blues is used a lot, particularly when people are coming back off holiday, i.e. 

Waiting in the airport to go home

Collecting their luggage

In the car journey back from the airport

Or a couple of days after once (if you’re super organised) have washed all your clothes, put them away and there is no trace of you ever having left the house. 

It, like a lot of mental health, can manifest itself in many different ways. The most common is suddenly feeling down. You have no known reason for it, but you just feel super sad, slightly teary, have 0 motivation and feeling like you just want to ‘be ok’, but you can’t ‘just snap yourself out of it’. These are all signs of Post-holiday blues, it is totally normal to feel like this, and I can assure you, you are not the only one…. Unless you live in my household, where my partner has never experienced Post-Holiday blues. In which case then yes I am the only one….

Ok …. So why the fuck do I get Post-holiday blues?!

A very good question! I could get all philosophical here and begin asking questions like… Well why do any of us get feelings? Why does mental health exist? And all that jazz! But you’re not here for that, and trust me boo, neither am I!

When you think about it, it’s actually quite logical. You go from being away, in a beautiful country, exploring the world, no agenda, doing whatever you want without a care in the world (allegedly but we know mental health doesn’t give a shit if you’re away or not, it’s going to snuggle down into your suitcase regardless). 

Absolute paradise. 

Then you come home, back to work, house chores, shitty weather, an empty bank account etc. And those days of sipping porn star martinis next to a crystal clear sea, or trekking through the mountains seem a distant memory.You start to wonder where you went wrong in life, for that not to be your constant reality and resent having to do ‘normal life things’ . Because wouldn’t it be nice if what you see in films and on reality TV shows was your life?! (minus the drama). And we start to fantasise about being a multi millionaire, travelling the world, with the occasional trip home to give family tacky fridge magnets before getting off again on our private jet, where it’s always happy hour. And then the microwave pings, your snapped back to reality and getting ready to tuck into a microwave meal but you can’t be arsed to cook.

It’s photo time

My first piece of advice would be to go through all of your holiday photos. In this day and age, where we are lead to believe statements such as:

‘If you didn’t take a photo did it really happen?’

I can guarantee you’ve got a fair few to go through. Now I personally love going through old photos because it’s like you’ve frozen that moment in time through your camera. And everytime you look at it, you are bringing that past moment into the present. Abit like super simple time travel! I wish! 

But seriously looking through those photos, will take you right back to those moments, you will feel the happiness you felt right then, and each of them will have their own story to tell. That you can keep reliving every time you look at them.

Make a Scrapbook

Now as a kid I grew up on Art Attack so love getting creative! And making a scrapbook is one of my favorite things to do! When I get back off holiday, I go to my local stationary shop, get a nice book with blank pages, colouring pens and run home like an excited child!

I will then do a fancy front cover with the name of the destination on and dates I was there. Then I will put together my favourite photos, from the previous idea, gather any keepsakes I got such as ticket stubs, travel cards, money (if it can’t be changed back) and beer bottle tops and I will begin to put together my scrapbook. Along with any funny stories, top tips or yummy things I tried. 

This is such a therapeutic thing for me to do, and then you are making your own personal version of a guidebook!

Destination theme night

Post-holiday blues tapas
Tapas Time

Now this is a firm favourite of mine, you can do it:

By yourself

As a cute date night

Or as a themed party

Then recreate your holiday destination, cook your favourite foods, make a themed drink for instance Sangria for Spain, Pimms for the UK or if you brought a bottle of local drink then do that. Or just simply go to the shop and buy something that was made in that country. Your options are endless!

You can then have traditional music playing in the background, or is there a particular song that reminds you of that place? When I was road tripping around California, Nevada and Utah Twenty One Pilots song: Heathens had just come out and was on every single radio station. So whenever I hear that song I am instantly taken back to a huge American Highway driving near Area 51!

Once you’ve filled your tummys and quenched your thirst, play a themed game, do some traditional dancing or watch a film set in your destination. There are so many possibilities. These seem like really simple things but I guarantee you, for that one night you will be taken back to your dream destination. The food, the smells, the atmosphere, it can be so relaxing and perfect. I’m getting all woozy just thinking about it. 

And most importantly, all the while making new memories and keeping those post-holiday blues at bay.

Get it all out

Writing can be incredibly cathartic, it’s a way for you to let all your thoughts, feelings and ideas out of your filled mind and onto paper or a computer screen. I personally love journaling and do a grateful journal everyday to remind myself of the good things in my life, as they are so easy to forget. 

So why not write about your travels? You don’t have to do a masterpiece that will be seen by the world, you could: 

Write it in a travel journal as a way for you to remember everything on your trip. 

Do a top tips for your destination and pass it onto a friend you know is going there soon. 

Maybe you met somebody out there and you want to write to them about the different things you guys did together

Go on forums and answer questions about that destination, to help future travelers

 Or you could do a me, join a course and start your own travel blog. 

Do whatever feels best for you, because that is what all this is about, it’s ways for you to deal with your post-holiday blues and find a coping mechanism that works best. If you decide to do a blog, you don’t have to show anybody, it could be for your own personal use, sort of like an online scrapbook. Or writing to a friend you could make it more personal by writing letters like when we were kids before emails were a thing. Each time you write about it, it will enable you to relive the moments from your trip and bring those wonderful memories flooding back.

Be a movie star

Another great way to beat those shitty post holiday blues is by making your own film. Chances are when you were on holiday you took videos, whether it was on Snapchat, IG, Facebook live or on whatsapp. I’m gonna bet some serious cash that somewhere somehow you have taken a couple of videos.

Ok so … I’ve got some videos. So what?!

So what?! Make your own movie damn it. Be the Steven Spielberg of your own holiday trip. 

Yeah …. But ain’t that stuff expensive?

It depends what you want to do. I personally use InShot. It’s free, really user friendly and you can edit, cut, add text and different effects to make your video a masterpiece! It’s really fun to do, if it’s your first time you’re learning a new skill, and it’s another way you can relive your trip and cling onto that feeling of still being there! What more could you want?

Get out there and explore

Ok, ok, ok, I get it. You’ve tried all of the above and your post-holiday blues are still hanging around like a bad smell. But your bank balance, is still saying 

‘Yeah nice try lovely maybe try do some work first’

Nobody has ingeniously invented a money tree, and you haven’t become a millionaire overnight. So now what?! Get outside and explore your local area! It is a lot less dull than you think. I promise. You see we have it instilled in us that a break means going on a plane, off to an exotic island drinking cocktails out of coconuts  under a palm tree watching the sunset every night. 

But it doesn’t have to be!

Alastair Humphries book about microadventures shows you that you can have just as much adventure on your own doorstep. For instance, you go for a walk the same way every single day. 

What if today you take a left turn instead of a right, and keep going discovering streets you never knew existed. 

What if you take a walk in the moonlight, when the streets are more peaceful and you can just watch the moon and the stars?  

Why don’t you type into Pinterest things to do in [insert your area] and see what people have written about?

Why don’t you go for a walk down along that river you’ve always been meaning too?

Or make a picnic, pack a bottle of vino (I have a rucksack that’s also a picnic basket for such occasions) and find a big hill, sit at the top of it and spend some time just admiring your hometown.

Trans pennine trail Dodworth, UK
My local discoveries

Going away or on an adventure is a state of mind, and is something you can easily build into your everyday life. Once you allow yourself to acknowledge that it is a possibility. Suddenly those post-holiday blues will fade into the background!

Get to planning

Lonely Planet Guide Bali and Lombok
My Lonely Planet Guide

Ok, so it’s been a while and you’ve exhausted all the above options. You are starting to get itchy feet, and that longing for going away is getting stronger. Get to planning your next trip. As always I recommend buying a lonely planet for your chosen destination. I even have them for my home country. Then you can fully get ready for your next trip!

EEEEEEEEK

How fucking exciting right?! Get the Pinterest board up and filled, look at the exchange rate (if needed), get your super cute outfits ready and packed ( I am so good at packing hand luggage I once managed to  bring a rug home with me) Look at all the different things you want to do while you’re there! GET INSURANCE, this one is a non negotiator. Just get it. Make a holiday playlist, find your ‘thing’ that you like to do on holiday. So for me it’s finding a speakeasy bar. I got told about one in Poland last year and then found one in Dublin and I feel like that is now my holiday ‘thing’. As I proppa buzz when I find them. It’s like a treasure hunt, and the treasure is a boss ass cocktail. And everything else you do to get yourself prepared.

Oh my goodness I’m getting excited just thinking about booking my next trip! I even squealed. 

There is no way to stop post-holiday blues from affecting you. If you suffer from them you suffer from them, and that’s that really. Like all mental health issues there is sweet FA you can do to stop it. But you can put things in place to help ease them, to help make them less intense. As you don’t win any prizes for suffering it just makes everything a lot more difficult. And PLEASE do take them seriously as I am fully aware of the jokes around post-holiday blues, and people treat it as a light hearted topic. But it isn’t always a laughing matter. It can be hard, intense and really affect your mood to the point you can be left thinking 

‘Will this ever stop?’ 

And it will! Because you’re a fucking boss who can do this.

Want a free guide to help with you anxiety whilst travelling?

IF you’re like me and love to have everything to hand in one place, grab my 3 free guides to help with your anxiety whilst travelling! These are so helpful, you can have them on you phone or in your bag / pocket and their free! Just pop in your email and I’ll send them over!

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