Did you know that 93% of people say being on holiday improves their well-being and mental health?
Going on holiday is a joyful and relaxing time for many. However, we sometimes get persistent sadness once we return home to normality. Searches for “how to beat post-holiday blues“ have increased by +100% in the last 12 months as Brits search for coping methods.
So, with the summer holiday season just around the corner, the travel experts at SkyParkSecure have worked with medical writer and expert Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox to explain why we often suffer from post-holiday blues and what we can do to ease this.
Why do we feel post-holiday blues?
“Post-holiday blues” are also known by the medical term – “post-travel depression” (PTD). After a holiday, it’s common to feel a range of emotions, including sadness. Mood disturbance can also occur, with increased anxiety and depressive symptoms. Sufferers can feel tired and exhausted and have difficulty concentrating. The key difference between PTD and anxiety and depression is that PTD is temporary and will resolve, although this can take several weeks.
Why do we suffer from this?
It’s due to a range of underlying factors, including:
- The natural let-down after the build-up, planning, and anticipation that the holiday is over.
- Cortisol levels fluctuate on holidays. High cortisol levels are a feature of stress. After the holiday, you return to your normal routine, and your cortisol levels may fall.
- You may have overindulged with excess holiday food and alcohol. Getting your diet and exercise routine established again can be difficult.
- You may not have slept well on holiday, so your sleep routine has been disturbed.
- You must now face the worries you left behind, including finances, looking after family, etc.
- The longer the holiday, the worse the PTD. The symptoms of travel sickness or jet lag also exacerbate this.
Top tips to help cope with the post-holiday blues
Think ahead- ready for when you’re back home
Think ahead and leave your house clean, tidy, and welcoming for your return, with bread and milk in the freezer and fresh sheets on the bed. Get an extra day at home before returning to work to get organised.
Be kind to yourself
This has well-known health benefits when you start to take good care of yourself. Treating yourself with kindness can lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels. Ensure you have a proper sleep regime with seven hours of good-quality sleep per night. Eat a nutritious diet and get regular exercise. Keep well hydrated, drinking at least two litres of water daily. Stop drinking alcohol or reduce to the recommended limit of 14 weekly units. Schedule time in your busy day for relaxation.
Practise daily gratitude
Once you’re home, if you’re feeling sad, don’t add to this by constantly looking over your holiday pictures or thinking about how carefree you were compared to now. Instead, practise daily gratitude. Each morning or evening, take 10–15 minutes to write down three to five things you’re grateful for. For example, working so you can save money towards your next holiday. Doing so will bring your mindset back to normality and allow you to focus on the positives.
Don’t have an empty diary. Contact friends and family and get some social events booked. Humans need other humans. Loneliness is as dangerous for health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day! This is also a good opportunity to share your holiday memories with others.
Plan another break
Perhaps the best way to get over your PTD is to plan another holiday. But now you know about PTD, take steps to minimise this in the future. Awareness of the condition is helpful – it’s common, normal, and will pass. Do what you can to care for yourself on holiday. Take travel sickness medication before the journey. Stay well hydrated while you are away. Continue with any medication you’ve been taking, and don’t run out.
Deborah adds: “If your PTD symptoms do not improve within three weeks of coming home, consider seeing your GP. It could be a sign you have more serious underlying psychological issues.”
Martin Jones from SkyParkSecure says: “We tend to spend weeks or months looking forward to our holidays, so it’s only normal that emotions can run high when you get back home! Being kind to yourself and knowing it’s a normal feeling is the first step to beating the post-holiday blues.”
Planning your 2023 summer holiday trip, but you’re an anxious flyer? Check out SkyParkSecure’s report on the best nature sounds to listen to.