Vacations after Vacations

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Summertime is here and with it the vacation season officially begins. As much as I love spending my time off on active and exploratory vacations, I made an observation years ago that once I return from one of those getaways, I almost need another one right away to recuperate. And it’s not only about your body needing to readjust after the jet lag or changing time zones.

The phenomenon of post vacation blues or post travel depression is about low productivity you experience in everything you do immediately following your vacation. It’s associated with having lessened interest in your normal surroundings, experiencing difficulty adjusting to your routine of work, home, school, commute, etc. I used to be hard on myself for not diving into all of my normal responsibilities with the same if not renewed enthusiasm on the Monday after the time off. After all, I rightfully thought, vacations are our much deserved break from the familiarity of life and they are meant to prevent burnout and to refresh our energy sources. Then I learned I am not alone.

It is natural to go through the period of post vacation blues, so we have to give ourselves a little time to readjust. We shouldn’t worry about the low productivity during this time or be too harsh on ourselves.  No need to force yourself  into your routine. Just think about how fortunate you are to have had the opportunity to get away, to widen your horizons and to enrich yourself through your travel experiences.

What I find helpful for successful transitions is building a strong support system at work. To prevent an overwhelming backlog from piling on your desk awaiting your return – do your homework upfront and delegate certain duties to capable people around you. I usually split the responsibilities among a few who can perfectly take care of their share in my absence. Upon your return, have the trusted people bring you up to speed on the latest developments and where things were left off. Prioritize all of the issues that came up in your absence and plan to deal with them in the order of their urgency. That way, you don’t really need to have a vacation after a vacation and instead can shift smoothly back into your reality.

Having said that, if you notice that your post-vacation depression doesn’t go away within a reasonable number of days and you find yourself truly unhappy with your surroundings, it’s possible that your time off has given you a chance to self-reflect and see what had been building up under the surface. If what you do or how you live your life makes you truly miserable, it might be time for change. But that’s a different topic altogether.

 

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10 Comments

  1. this is so true! my holidays have not even started yet but i do know already what’s going to happen when i’m back! happens to me all every time.

  2. On the way back home from the last vacation, I was thinking about scheduling the next one soon to the same place, but it all vanished so sudden when I got swamped with the work.
    Does it make me a happy person in my job? Yes I love it, you got the bottom line Natella as you always do 🙂

    Warm wishes,

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Murat! I think you should still go ahead and book your next vacation – as much as you may love what you do, it’s good to have something to look forward to. Travelling the world leaves me wanting to plan my next trip – but I always want to go to some new place since there is so much that I have not seen yet!

  3. I’ve always been a fan of returning from vacation with at least two to three vacation or weekend days left for me to relax and recover at home. I learned the hard way how depressing it can be returning from a long day of travel only to wake up the following morning to a 6:15am alarm and off to work for the week…..Did I even go on vacation?

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