5 Simple Ways To Beat Your Post-Vacation Blues

Because coming back to reality can be harsh.

You’re back from vacation which means you’re likely feeling relaxed. But then the emails start to pile up, stress rises and suddenly it’s as though everything feels ho-hum again.

Sometimes those post-vacation blues serve a purpose: Experts say they may help you realize you need shake things up at home in order to feel satisfied. But if you’re happy with your home life, it might be more difficult to cope with those negative emotions once you get back.

So, how do you maintain the sunny outlook you had while you were away? Below are some tips for keeping the good vibes going after returning from a dreamy vacation:

1. Plan your next trip.

The happiest part of your vacation may not be the vacation itself, but the moments leading up to it. According to a 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality Of Life, just planning a trip can lead to increased feelings of happiness.

And if you’re itching to plan your trip during office hours, you’re not alone: An estimated 69 percent of vacations are researched at work, according to a poll by Travelzoo. Next time you hit the mid-afternoon slump, perhaps browse the web for your next travel destination. You just might perk up.

2. Re-create your favorite meal from your vacation.

Bring the culture back home by cooking a memorable meal from the trip.
tbralnina via Getty Images
Bring the culture back home by cooking a memorable meal from the trip.

Research suggests food and memory are intricately tied, which is why certain foods bring us straight back to childhood. The same could be argued for your last trip.

Make a night of it and whip up your favorite meal from your vacation. Or, if you want to take it a step further, look into perfecting a certain cuisine from your recently-visited location in a more longterm way. For example, if you loved the ramen in Japan or the handmade pasta in Italy, check out local cooking classes to perfect the skill of making it at home. Bonus: Studies show learning a new skill keeps your brain sharp.

3. Clean out your house.

Nothing proves living with less is possible like having to live out of a suitcase for a few days. Allow your vacation to motivate you to finally de-clutter ― and thus de-stress ― your life.

Take a look at your closet as though it’s your suitcase for a trip and keep only the necessities. What are the guidelines for making the cut? Try the Kondo method, which author Marie Kondo outlines in her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. The Japanese technique has you purge all the belongings that do not bring you joy. And doing so will help reframe your physical space along with your mental one, too.

4. Frame your favorite memories.

Revisit the vacation by framing the most meaningful moments from the trip.
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc via Getty Images
Revisit the vacation by framing the most meaningful moments from the trip.

Once you’re home and settled back into routine, reserve some time to look through all the photographs you took on vacation. Pick the most meaningful moments from the trip and frame them for your home or share them on social media. Going back through photos and videos from your trip can evoke a sense of nostalgia, which research shows can enhance your mood.

5. Make time for relaxation.

In the same Applied Research in Quality Of Life happiness study, scientists also found that the people who were more joyful also reported feeling “very relaxed” on vacation.

It’s not always possible to find the money or the resources to escape your every day routine, but there are simple ways to have a blissed-out vacation vibe at home. A hot bath or shower is natural relaxer which may also reduce feelings of loneliness. Additionally, you can always go for a short walk, which research shows can lift boost your mood even when you least expect it.

And before you know it, the next trip will be underway.

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