I am seriously the worst when it comes to getting stuck in the post-travel blues. So I mean, I’m probably not the best person to be writing a how-to on dealing with post travel depression, but then on the other hand, I do have a lot of experience with it!
No, actually I didn’t get the post travel blues after my trip to Mallorca – but Dan totally did, haha. I shouldn’t laugh, but after all the times that Dan’s pointed out how down I get whenever I return from a trip I was kind of relieved to see it happen to him too. It’s not just me, the post travel blues are real!
Luckily though, I have found some things that do really help to pull me out of that returning home from adventure slump.
Be prepared to feel blue
Okay, this might sound like such a total downer, as it’s hard enough to return home from vacation without the added weight of knowing that you’re going to feel even worse once you’re home. But over the years I’ve realized that one of the things that depresses me the most about returning home is that I feel depressed when I return home.
If I’m returning from a longer journey then I feel guilty for not being as excited to be reunited with my family, friends, and favorite foods as I thought I would be. And then the whole point of shorter holidays is to get some rest and renewed energy, so if I come home feeling blah and out of it I start to wonder if I wouldn’t have been better off just not leaving at all.
But now that I always expect to feel a little down upon my return, I don’t worry about it as much. It becomes much easier to just brush off these weird feelings, telling myself and those around me that that’s just how I’m going to be for a while now, let’s all feel free to laugh about it.
The added perk to preparing for my mood crashing, is that when it doesn’t happen I feel extra amazing. I returned from Mallorca in such a good mood and was basically like, I’ve just come home from traveling so should be feeling worse than usual, so I guess that means I’m actually feeling 5x better than this in reality, high five!
Write down what you miss while you’re away
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to my hometown and forgotten to get an Italian grinder from Bushel ‘n Peck. I always remember after I’ve left again and it’s just like aaaah, all the facepalms!
Okay, maybe the key to getting out of a post-travel slump isn’t a sandwich. But then again, maybe it is?
Though it might be worth writing down some more meaningful stuff than food as well, like how you miss your family or your garden or your pottery class.
I mean, this won’t necessarily keep me from making my big sister cry within a few hours of seeing her – sisters will always be sisters – but it will act as a comforting reminder when I’m feeling upset and annoyed of how much I miss and appreciate her.
Have a list of things you want to do and keep adding to it
In a similar vein, I try to come up with a concrete list of stuff I want to do when I return home.
Because whenever I leave I seem to magically remember all the really fun things I can do at home, but when I return home the only thing I ever seem able to come up with to do is watch Nashville in my pjs. There are more things to do in Rauland than watch Nashville in my pjs.
Be active when you get home
As a lazy person I always hate to admit this, but exercising really does lift the spirits like nothing else.
I tend naturally to be more active on my travels than when I’m home, so coming back home to life without that added dose of endorphins can be a blow. And even if I’ve been on one of those lazy lying on the beach and eating all the food holidays, chances are my body will be seriously in need of some more physical movement by the time I return home.
So now I always make an effort to be extra active when I return home from traveling (at least in the beginning) because while running up and down my street a few times might not be the same as wandering the streets of Lviv all day, endorphins are endorphins, right?
Make a change in your life
This one probably applies more to returning home from bigger trips, though I do feel like even short trips can change me just a bit.
And the worst is feeling like you’ve just experienced something big and meaningful on your travels and then returning home to the exact same life you had before.
So now I try to make even small changes to my life, whether that be enrolling in a class, spending more time at favorite local places, or just changing the shampoo I use. Because even little life changes help to keep me from feeling like the trip never happened.
Print out your favorite travel photos
I love filling my home with memories from my adventures, but I’m also not a big shopper, so I often return home without any souvenirs. So instead I’ve started printing out photos of my travels to have around my home, and seeing them really does make me so happy!
Try to avoid immediately planning another trip
My first instinct when returning home from travel is always to hop online and book some new flights somewhere exciting. But lately I’ve tried to resist that urge, at least at first.
Instead of focusing on when I’ll be escaping again, I try to better appreciate being home.
And I usually make it about 30 hours before I’m booking a flight to Belarus.
Anyone want to go to Belarus with me this fall?
Do you have any advice to add? Please share!