Holidays are great for our well-being because we live in the moment more and are freed from daily routine, chores, planning and worrying. It's understandable then that so many of us experience post-travel depression. Just a few preparations and a positive attitude though can mean you'll be able to appreciate the break, resist falling into old habits and be re-energised for normal life, until your next holiday of course!
A Mindful Attitude
Accept that you are likely to feel quite low and discontented when you return home. It's only natural that after a week or two enjoying the good life that you will feel as if your whole world needs a complete overhaul.
When you get back, take time to look through all your photos and mementos, even though it might be painful! Allow yourself to grieve, and celebrate the wonderful time you had. Then think about what you really appreciated about being away and whether it's possible to embrace any of this in everyday life...
Make an effort to connect with the people, sights and sounds around you, and what's happening now. It's unlikely that you checked your phone, Facebook and email every five minutes while you were away. That was liberating!
You probably didn't watch much TV on holiday either - once you're home, don't slip back into old habits. Try watching only programmes you are genuinely interested in rather than slobbing on the sofa for hours. If there's nothing on, read a book.
Do something new or be spontaneous - eat your breakfast outside, go for a walk after dinner, drive a different way to the supermarket, visit a tourist attraction nearby that you've never been to - things you would do on holiday but tend not to once the daily grind takes hold at home.
It's good for the spirit to tackle an activity that you need to focus on wholly - whether that's abseiling, playing a board game or baking - this will help to stop the overwhelming feeling of loss that often comes after a holiday. If you really enjoyed a sport or the food, arts or crafts in the country you visited, continue at home. Buy a Spanish cookery book, research Indonesian batik courses nearby or find a kitesurfing school.
Getting Back to Work
If possible, make sure you have a day at home before going back to work. The post-holiday blues will hit you like a ton of bricks if you only staggered off the plane a few hours earlier. Before you go, block out time in your calendar for your first few days back - catch up on emails and phone calls, have a nice lunch, ease yourself in gently - if your colleagues or job will let you!
Preparing Your Home
In the pre-holiday excitement, it's tempting to abandon your home in a complete jumble of clothes, paperwork, unmade beds and dirty dishes. Resist the urge! Leave it clean and tidy so you're actually quite happy to see it again after your return journey.
Make sure you've got some essentials in the fridge for your homecoming - whether by scheduling an online delivery, grabbing some milk, bread and booze on the way home, or an obliging friend or neighbour. There's nothing more depressing than piles of dirty holiday washing. So unpack as soon as you get home (difficult, I know) and put your bags away. This sounds very dull, but it really helps to do some of your washing while you're still away if you can. Leave a few of your favourite outfits at home: no one feels fabulous in their most rubbish clothes. Maybe even buy a couple of new things to wear back home.
Things That Make you Happy
A fun day or night with friends or family soon after you return will put a smile on your face, so organise something before you go away.
When you've had a particular indulgent holiday, resume healthier eating and drinking habits quickly. Lots of sleep is one of the real benefits of a holiday, so make time for more at home - go to bed earlier if you have to! Get back to your normal exercise routine, treat yourself to some pampering, savour the fresh air - all super mood-boosters.
Remind yourself that there will be many more holidays! And then start planning the next one...