Post travel depression is real. People that come back from trips – long or short – can expect to have the blues at one point or another. It’s not that our trip was that great, it’s just that… staying in one place for more than 6 days can be boring!
Post Travel Depression: Face the facts
1. Admit that it exists
There symptoms associated to post travel depression. Many will deny it, and since the post travel blues are temporary, it might solve the problem for them, however others cannot deny it and identifying the symptoms can help. Queue the cheesy TV ad music…
Do you feel tired, restless, or suffer from a loss of appetite? Do you have strong feelings of nostaliga? Do you hate your routine and your day job? You are not alone. People who love to travel have a tendency to live to travel. Everything else in between is just noise. And remembering that his “noise” between travels is important can be difficult.
When you come back from travelling, expect to get the post travel blues. Forewarned can be forearmed!
Post Travel Depression: Why are you down?
Now that we’ve established that it’s possible to feel down when coming back home, let’s look at the reasons why.
Reason #1: you’re bored. It’s true! Travelling can be super exciting. There’s always something to see, you’re on our feet from morning to bedtime, you’re running around, blood is rushing through your veins at all times, you’re meeting new people all the time, and the world seems suddenly incredibly accessible, reachable. At home? Well… it’s the exact opposite!
Reason #2: Alcohol is a depressant. Have you noticed how much more you tend to drink when you’re not at home? Alcohol withdrawal, as long as it’s from an unusual amount and no matter what the amount is, can bring you down!
Reason #3: Jetlag. Having to follow a routine – get up, eat, go to work, come back home, watch TV, clean up, go to bed – can be difficult while jetlag is in the way. Remember it!
Reason #4: You’re broke. It’s not always the case, of course, but you tend to spend much more while on the road. That can be depressing!
Reason #5: Fear of missing out. You’re asking yourself what happened while you were gone. Did you miss out on an awesome party, a cool barbecue at your friends’, or maybe someone’s getting married? People who have travelled for extended periods of time – like me – can attest: no matter how long you leave, you’re not missing out on anything. Everything’s the same, don’t worry!
Reason #6: Tastes and smells don’t have the same zing. So you’re back from Japan, and you’ve had a few delicious meals, including a great sushi meal, and a wonderful ramen experience. So what do you do? You go straight to that sushi restaurant or that ramen shop everyone raves about in your own city. And what happens? Total disillusionment. It’s not as good! What a bummer! Well, guess what: it’s never as good.
Reason #7: You feel down and open up to your best friend. And when you tell your best friend that you feel down because you just came back from the most wonderful vacation, your friend doesn’t have a lot of sympathy. Don’t be surprised…
Post Travel Depression: What to do?
1. Deal with it.
I don’t mean to sound like your mean grandfather, but if you know it exists, you can ready yourself for a few days of lower energy. It’ll pass! Find a couple of movies you like and watch them; make sure you pace yourself with the accumulated emails and responsibilities; don’t lash out at other people for no reason!
2. Schedule good times with the friends you’ve missed
You’ve obviously missed a friend or two, or maybe mommy’s been worried sick, or maybe you’re coming back to your significant other. Schedule some good times with them… and please them!
Watch out, though. Don’t make the crucial mistake so many people make when they come back from a trip. Remember that most people don’t care about your trip. They don’t want to see your pictures, and they don’t want to hear your stories. Unless they specifically ask you about stories and pictures, make the meetings about them!
As I stated earlier, jetlag can be annoying. On top of that, in the rush of your travels, you’ve probably slept a bit less than your usual eight hours. Don’t forget to catch up on your sleep whenever you can. If jetlag is keeping you from getting your normal hours, make sure you can catch up when you have time off. Don’t overbook yourself!
4. Healthy habits
Do you have healthy habits? Do you usually run in the morning, or eat healthy, or enjoy yoga? If you do, get right back at it. If not, then why not schedule yourself a good massage?
Note: TOTS also wants you to get over vacation hangover!
5. Be a tourist in your own city
6. Start planning your next adventure
Start saving up! Earn your scuba diving cards! Learn how to drive a motorbike! Take photography lessons! Research your next destination! Schedule the next time away! Shop for plane tickets! Check out the sights you want to see! Find the best hotels!
7. Make good use of the communities around you
There are plenty of websites that can help you meet new people and stay on top of the travel world. Vizeat.com, Couchsurfing.com, Mealsharing.com… these are only three options of the hundreds of websites that allow you to keep the spirit of travel alive!
8. “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” –Seth Godin
Words of wisdom. Don’t take this the wrong way: changing a life takes a very, very long time. But there are plenty of options. If office life doesn’t suit you, maybe you should explore other options!
9. If it really, truly gets too much, seek help
Post travel blues isn’t the same as outright depression. If you think you suffer from depression, seek help.