What is the Post-Vacation Blues?
Vacations are designed to give us a break from the stresses of everyday life. A vacation can come in an array of forms, from relaxing by the beach to skydiving; whatever it is that you need to take your mind off things, just for a little while before you get back to normality can constitute a holiday.
No matter what a getaway looks like to you, the reality that home and work are just around the corner never quite goes away. But the same can be said for that lingering feeling of peace after you get back home – and this can lead to the post-vacation blues.
What you might not know is that the slump many of us often feel has a name – Post Vacation Syndrome (PVS). This is otherwise known as the blues. While some don’t really believe in PVS, it’s unfortunately something that many people struggle with after a holiday, especially after longer vacations.
The fact that it is a recognised disorder may make you think more about how to treat it to avoid issues when going back to work after vacation. The best part of all this is that there are quite a few solutions to the problem.
From impacting concentration, to just overall being a little more sluggish; there are several ways that the blues can be detrimental to your work and even other aspects of your life. With all that in mind, let’s learn a little more about what it can do and what you can do to overcome it.
Five symptoms of post-vacation depression
There are generally a number of different things that PVS can cause, meaning that there are going to be a few things to look out for. This way, you can get a better idea of what’s impacting you and how – which can also allow you to find the perfect solution for your unique needs.
So, how can I tell if I have become depressed after vacation? Here are 5 post vacation blues symptoms you may want to look out for:
- A lack of focus and general difficulty with concentration
- Being far more irritable and jumpier than usual
- A decrease in productivity, even in things you’d consider yourself to be passionate about
- Disinterest in your work or other responsibilities
- Fantasising about other things instead of getting on with what you need to do
While this is far from a definitive list of things that post-vacation depression can cause, these are some key ones to keep an eye out for when you get back to work.
Three tips for returning to work after vacation
As you can imagine, all those points above certainly won’t be too helpful for you in the workplace. The great news is that PVS is a diagnosable occurrence, so you can take steps to minimise or even overcome it. Here are our top 3 tips for anybody who’s hoping to avoid the post-vacation blues:
1. Prepare yourself in advance
If you know that you’re likely to feel demotivated for a few days, make your job easier in as many ways as possible before you leave. Create a list of things that need to be done before you go and include any small tasks that can be taken care of later, so things won’t be waiting. Tools like work time trackers can be fantastic.
2. Give yourself a set amount of time to plan any important work when returning to work after vacation.
Walking into the office and immediately tackling a pile of work isn’t going to be fun and your productivity may suffer as a result, so set aside some time (an hour or so) to create a plan of action. Being aware of your company’s policies in terms of leave can help to work out what you can and can’t do.
3. Have a decent email strategy in place
Emails will likely be a thorn in your side when reducing feelings of stress when back to work after holiday, so make sure to implement a good strategy to manage your inbox before things get overwhelming.
Five tips on How to overcome the Post-Vacation Blues
You may be interested to hear that you can actually hack your brain so that post-vacation blues simply don’t happen in the first place. Interested? Here are just 4 tips that we think you’ll want to consider to keep PVS at bay:
1. Break the blues before they take hold
A great way to overcome post-vacation blues is to keep yourself in a similar frame of mind to holiday mode. If you eat well on holiday or drink a lot of water, try to keep up with those good habits when you return. Promoting a better work/life balance can be the best tool in your arsenal.
2. Spend a few extra days at home
You may feel like you’ve taken enough time away already, but just one or two more days won’t hurt. In fact, it’ll help you get out of the vacation mindset and better tackle the motions of every day – and this can relieve a lot of the pressure, as well as minimise procrastination. Doing so could also help to ease you back into your usual routine at home, taking one extra step out of the process and making getting back to work easier.
3. Keep your spirits up
A positive attitude can go a long way in a whole host of situations and adopting a happy mindset can all but obliterate feelings of sadness. With this in mind, it can be a good idea to share your experiences with those you love, reconnect with co-workers and see the good aspects of being home.
4. Identify the key issues
In some instances, it can be a great idea to spend some time thinking about the different things that could be causing you to get the blues. It could be any number of things, from missing the relaxed atmosphere to simply feeling a little out of practice – and knowing what it is that’s causing you to be in a slump gives you the perfect opportunity to work on it and get back on track.
5. Don’t let your health slip away during your vacation
There are many people who leave their healthy habits behind when going on holiday and sometimes this will carry over after the vacation too. Exercise, diet and proper sleep are all things that you’ll need to keep up with if you want to ensure that you’re mentally and physically in shape when you get back to work.