The festive period has now officially come to an end, and for most of us, the holidays are over. Every time I return home (and back to work) from holidays (no matter how short or long), my mood and energy levels take a dip.
Here are 10 tips that help me lift up my mood, beat those post-holiday blues, and get back on track as soon as possible:
1. Routines and structure
As a psychiatrist, I cannot overemphasise the importance of having routines and a structure to one’s life; these are important because they provide a sense of security, familiarity, order, and direction. They also help provide a sense of achievement (purpose), as well as enjoyment (pleasure). All these are essential ingredients for a happy and balanced life. My routine includes a combination of work (mostly achievement), hobbies (that give mostly a sense of enjoyment), and exercise (enjoyment and achievement).
As soon as I unpack, I start writing down my tips and documenting my memories while they’re still fresh. I systematically go through my photos, and all the material I’ve collected while on holiday (such as field notes I’ve kept, pamphlets, and guides). This helps me reflect on and relive my holiday experience (sense of pleasure), while at the same time I create something that my friends may find inspiring, helpful, and useful (sense of purpose).
3. Trying out new recipes
Travelling is so much more than just visiting a new place, city or country. It provides the opportunity to try different (often exotic) cuisines and savour new ingredients. It also gives me inspiration to become more adventurous in my own cooking, so as soon as I return home, I put my apron on and try out new recipes inspired by my travels.
4. Watching a film
This is one of my favourite activities and provides me with that sense of enjoyment. It helps me escape from my own world and reality (and problems) and immerse myself in a different world. When I feel down (as it usually happens following a holiday), a film (especially psychological films) is a good way to distract myself, lift up my mood and beat these post-holiday blues.
5. Reading a book
Similar to watching films, reading books can have the same positive effect. I usually read more books while away on holiday. This momentum makes me more likely to continue reading once I am back from my holidays.
6. Listening to music
Music often helps me lift up my mood when I feel down (as it usually happens following a holiday). While on holidays, I usually discover new music and may even buy records that I listen to on my return back home.
7. Making yourself a present
Receiving a present usually makes me feel happy and grateful. So, when I am on holiday, I usually buy little presents for my close friends. But, I also tend to be self-indulgent and make myself a present (or two).
8. Meeting a friend
Meeting a friend provides a perfect opportunity to catch up with our news, give them the gifts I’d bought for them, and also have a good time.
9. Planning the next holiday
Planning my next holiday or break keeps me busy with doing something exciting, productive (sense of achievement) and pleasurable (sense of enjoyment).
10. Don’t cry because it’s over
I love this phrase, and even though it may not be one-size-fits-all, I think it is perfectly OK to say it after a holiday. It reminds me that I should be grateful for having travelled, enjoyed myself, and lived an amazing experience.
Alex Chatziagorakis, MD is a London-based consultant psychiatrist and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.