Post-Vacation Stress?

I’m sure that every year, when you return from vacation, you wonder if the dreaded post-vacation stress is real. This type of stress, to a greater or lesser extent, is present in each of us. Returning to the routine after a few days of rest and disconnection is always challenging, let’s not kid ourselves!

What is post-vacation syndrome or stress?

For many people, saying goodbye to the beach, naps, and leisurely meals brings a feeling of sadness during the first days back at work. But what is post-vacation syndrome really? Does it have a scientific basis?

It is a syndrome that only occurs in developed societies, the first world. This syndrome generates a general discomfort with both physical and psychological symptoms: lack of sleep, loss of appetite, nervousness, lack of concentration, and more.

It usually affects people under the age of 50 and, interestingly, also school-aged children. Going back to school is also a trigger for post-vacation syndrome. In Spain, post-vacation stress ranks fourth in disorders with the highest social security expenses.

According to experts, these symptoms typically diminish within the first two weeks. Nevertheless, if you find it difficult to shake off this feeling, here are some tips to help you overcome the “back to school” blues:

How to Avoid Post-Vacation Syndrome

What doctors and psychologists recommend are very basic principles that you probably already know, but it’s good to keep them in mind and put them into practice. Let’s go through them:

Return from your vacation with some time to spare to avoid stress.

A big mistake is returning from vacation the day before you have to go back to work. Take at least a couple of days to ease back into your routine and organize your thoughts. It’s better to gradually reintroduce your daily habits so that the change is not too abrupt, thus avoiding stress.

Take it step by step.

You can’t go from 0 to 100 in one day. Gradually start picking up all the activities you were doing before your vacation; it will be easier, and you’ll adapt better to your return. “Step by step” should be your mantra for at least the first two weeks.

Get enough sleep.

During your vacation, you might have stayed up late and taken more naps during the day—summer naps are the best. Now, you should rest and try to regulate your sleep hours; your body will thank you for it. You can use herbal teas like chamomile and valerian; they are the best for relaxation and inducing sleep.

Get some exercise.

Exercise helps release endorphins, making you feel happier, more optimistic, and relaxed. It’s the time for disconnecting; exercise allows your mind to release stress. In fact, this is something everyone thinks about in September, the highest month for gym memberships, but by December, they often forget.

Banish negative thoughts.

You’re back, and there’s no use thinking again and again about how great your vacation was. Now it’s time to enjoy your day-to-day life. It’s challenging to put into practice, but there’s a phrase that might help: “here and now.” This will bring your mind back to the present moment. If that doesn’t work, try yoga!

Have fun.

Not everything is work; set aside some time for leisure or hobbies you enjoy. Go out with friends, go to the movies, paint, read a book—in short, do what makes you happy. If, on top of returning to work, you confine yourself at home, you increase the chances of falling victim to post-vacation syndrome.

Be patient.

Post-vacation stress is temporary, so don’t give it more importance than it deserves. Focus on the positive; soon, you’ll be enjoying your vacation again.

Plan getaways.

Stay positive and think about all the exciting things to come. You’ll probably start planning your next getaway, a special dinner, or a day in the countryside soon. In fact, the vacation relaxation begins at least 15 days before you leave for vacation, so plan mini getaways and live in a state of continuous relaxation.

Above all, work on what you love. If you’re fortunate enough to pursue your dreams, we’re sure that returning to work will be more manageable. Enjoy and do what you want; strive for your dreams, even if they’re challenging. With effort and dedication, everything can be achieved.

Laugh at post-vacation stress!


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