Are you kidding me? Darned if you do and darned if you don’t.
Vacation is more precious than life itself. You saved, stood on your head to make the schedule work, studiously avoided anyone that sniffled, and wiped off the grocery cart handle, every time.
You went to the near perfect place, found entertaining diversions for 2 or 3 generations, ate like Vikings, and slept in.
And now you’re home in one piece, rested, renewed and depressed. Depressed?
You just got a case of the “post vacation blues.” If it’s any consolation, even though it probably isn’t, you are not alone. Studies show that a third of all adults are affected by post vacation depression (PV blues).
This funk tends to last a week or two, about 1.5 times the length of the vacation. One has to wonder, if only from a mathematical standpoint, if vacation is worth it.
The symptoms are usually limited to a melancholy affect or feeling blue. The more common type of depression is often associated with loss of appetite, which might not be such a bad thing after vacation.
Sleeplessness is also usually associated with depression, which would at least let you get caught up on email.
Post vacation blues, perhaps unfortunately, usually lacks these symptoms and you are left with mere sadness.
Medicine has few answers for you, at least in the short run. Most antidepressants (SSRIs) take 3 or 4 weeks before they kick in, and PV blues have usually passed by then.
Sleeping medications may help with jet lag, but are of little use when dealing with depression. There just hasn’t been an invention that offers immediately effective “happiness in a bottle.” We’re working on it …
Where we lack well researched, scientifically grounded answers, we are good at making it up as we go.
The internet is full of sensible sounding advice on the subject. Suggestions to relive your vacation memories are often tossed about as useful for post vacation blues.
Gather up the family to see the slides, but best keep it to family as vacation slide shows are deadly to friendships. A little mental imagery of idyllic vacation moments can give a measurable boost to your mood. Do something in your everyday life to remind you of your adventures. Hawaiian shirt to work? Flip flops with your three piece?
Overall, be reassured that this is a normal part of reintegration into our chosen lives. The post vacation funk is brief, self-limiting, and the price you pay to play.
Take care, and start planning your next trip!