Happy 2014, everyone! We hope you had a wonderful New Year’s with your loved ones and we look forward to making 2014 a wonderful year! It also seems that you guys loved the cats in our last post of 2013, so the kitty love has been duly noted.
Today I wanted to talk about something you’re probably experiencing as you come off the high of holiday travel: the post-travel blues. As silly as they may seem in the face of many larger problems, post-travel blues are a real thing. (Seriously, I just Googled “post-travel blues,” thinking I was the first clever person to come up with the term, and discovered a Wikipedia article and WikiHow instructions.) Post-travel blues, in my experience, are a combination of many feelings, as detailed in my very scientific breakdown:
It’s all too easy to let yourself fall into a funk and wallow, wishing you could relive the memories or turn back the clock and escape to wherever it was you just came from. Here’s how I’m dealing with my own post-travel blues.
1. Ease back into work/productivity.
Don’t assume that you can just hit the ground running and be a super productive person when you get back from your travels. I’ve fallen too many times into the vicious cycle of thinking I can do more than I can, failing to do so, and then beating myself up about it. Take baby steps, get things done a little bit at a time, and cut yourself a break.
2. Get enough sleep and take naps.
Chances are you’re suffering from jet lag and/or sleep debt. One of your top priorities when you get back from your travels is to normalize your sleep schedule, and that may involve getting more sleep than you usually do. Go to sleep a little earlier and try to get more than eight hours per night for a few days—you might need nine to ten for a while. And don’t be afraid to take naps throughout the day! Gradually scale back on the naps and the sleeping until you’re back on track.
3. Don’t put off the unpacking or the chores.
When you first get back, you may not be in shape to be 100% productive (see #1) but you definitely want to enable your future self to become productive later. So as much as you may hate to do it (I know I hate it), unpack right when you get back and stow all your luggage away. Declutter and do all the basic little chores that make your home fit to live in again. Do some quick housekeeping—responding to emails, scheduling things, etc. This way, when you’ve gotten enough sleep and your energy is back up, you’re not set back by the unpacking and the chores; you’re able to jump on the more important things.
4. Distract yourself with hobbies and entertainment.
It’s really, really easy to dwell on your sadness, and when you have the post-travel blues, every little thing can remind you of the good times you just had. Although it’s not a recommendable coping mechanism in excess, it doesn’t hurt to indulge in some distractions. Read a fun book. Catch up on your favorite TV shows. Knock a few movies out of your Netflix queue. Spend some time on your hobbies—photography or knitting or cooking or whatever it is the cool kids are doing these days.
5. Designate some time to reflect on your experiences and memories.
This may sound weird, but it helps me: allot a certain amount of time every day to reflect on your travels. Outside of that scheduled time, don’t let yourself wallow. What I’ve been doing is spending an hour or so before bed writing out my experiences and how they made me feel. It sounds kooky, but it works, and knowing that I have a designated time for reflection keeps me from spending the rest of my day dwelling on my nostalgia.
6. Hang out with friends and family.
You may have just said goodbye to beloved friends and relatives wherever you traveled, but it really helps to spend time with your loved ones closer to home. Social interaction is oddly healing, even for the most introverted/hermit-like people (present!) Whether you talk about your travels or not is up to you, but the important part is that you connect with other people.
7. Keep in touch.
Hello, we don’t live in the Stone Age. In most cases, you can still keep in touch with the people you left when you came back home. These days we have the luxury of super-fast communication: texting, emailing, calling, and video-chatting. If you like to be old-school, you can write letters or send postcards. (I’m personally a huge fan of sending letters and packages—getting stuff in the mail never gets old.)
8. Look ahead to future plans.
Nothing gets you over the past like looking to the future. Start making plans for your next project, special occasion, or trip. We at Getaway Brigade have found ourselves greeting 2014 with a load of airline miles and friends all over the West Coast, so we’re putting together a bag with the essentials so that we’re ready to make another spontaneous getaway whenever we feel like it.
How are you coping with the post-travel blues? Any tips that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments!