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Getting Through Post-Travel Depression: The Downside of Coming Back to Reality

April 28, 2016

It’s not always easy coming back to the reality of a regular (sometimes boring), mainstream life or normal routine after you’ve been gone away on a trip.  Post-vacation or post-holiday blues are seemingly common, especially when a trip away from the mundane was packed with excitement, fun, adventure, or relaxation.

Post-trip blues can be a bit more intense when coming back ‘home’ after an extended trip.

I know. I’ve been there.

I’m not making this stuff up.  It’s legit.  Just ask anyone who has traveled and returned home.

While I’m usually very excited to come home after a long travel adventure, I usually experience a let-down effect in the days after my bags are unpacked and the ordinary routine of home life returns. Though I’ve always climbed out of a post-trip funk relatively quickly, particularly as the distance from my trip grows, jet lag disappears, and lingering nostalgia settles, I know this isn’t the case for everyone.

Some people experience deeper and longer lasting post-trip ruts.

At times, the downside of coming back to reality after travel feels similar to those feelings experienced after a holiday rush–those feelings that surface after the presents that took weeks to shop for are unwrapped, holiday parties are over, and visiting guests have long left.  Some people feel worn down, exhausted, sad, short-tempered, maybe even weepy, and homesick–but for their adventure and for what was, rather than for home.

Sometimes, though, it takes some people longer to bust out of a post-trip mood.  Occasionally, post-trip blues morph into something more serious–depression–which requires professional mental health attention and care.  

The fix?  Is there a cure for post-travel lows?

Yes! Time.  Time usually heals everything, right?  It definitely helps remedy post-vacation blues.

But one of the most effective strategies I’ve discovered to beat the blues is starting to research or plan the next trip.  It’s hard to let the reality of normalcy bite when you are busy filling up your bucket list with new travel ideas.  Planning a future trip is a good distraction.  Plus, a new plan in your calendar book gives you something to get excited about.

A new plan will keep your brain occupied, and replace the space that was earlier occupied by post-trip emotions.  Keep in mind, a new plan could also entail making a big lifestyle change or overhauling your relationships or life direction, perhaps based on something you learned about yourself or discovered while away; consider that the need for real, lasting change of some sort could underlie your post-trip mood.

Talking about your trip with other people, sharing your pics, and stories, or connecting with people you met on your adventure can also go a long way toward recovering from post-trip lows.

Of course, if you happen to be someone who doesn’t experience a post-trip funk, don’t put yourself into one thinking that there’s something wrong with you or your trip experience.  After all, the beauty of travel is that everyone’s experience is uniquely their own.

So, happy, sad, relieved, flooded with mixed emotions, or feeling whatever, take it all in stride.  It’s all part of the adventure.





What I’ve Learned Juicing: Day 10 of 10 Juice Cleanse

June 5, 2013

Today is my 10th Day juicing. It’s the last day of my juice cleanse.  I didn’t plan to make it to 10 days. In fact, when I started, I wasn’t sure how far I’d go. I just woke up one morning and said it’s time for a juice fast.  In January, I’d done my first ever “diet.”  A three day juice cleanse.  In February, I did a five day cleanse.  And for many weeks I tried to make Mondays juice day. But, when I fell off the wagon and noticed that I wasn’t feeling great, probably after having one two many sweets in April and May,  I decided a juice cleanse would set me straight again.

I was happy when I lasted 3 days. I was happier when I hit 5 days.  I was thrilled when I hit 7 days.  And today, on day 10, wow!  I hardly consider myself one to have will power to resist yummy food.  Though I do eat vegetarian, and strive for vegan/raw, I don’t consider myself to be one who follows a strict diet or a dieter of any sort.  In fact, I’ve never thought of myself as someone who would or could diet–certainly not one who could overachieve in a juice cleanse. Juice

So, that brings me to what I’ve learned on a 10 day juice cleanse.  I’ve learned that I can commit to juicing and my health, even though I’ve forever told myself and others that I lack will power and just don’t do diets. I’ve discovered that I feel so amazingly good when I juice.  I feel light (and not just with my weight) and mentally clear.  I’m not even sure there are words to describe how good it feels–it’s like my body and mind are not bogged down,  free, non-toxic.  I’ve learned to distinguish eating out of hunger vs. out of boredom, for something to do, or for emotional comfort. I’ve realized how easy it is to overeat without realizing it–that I just don’t need to eat as much as I do in everyday, non-juicing life.  I’ve discovered that juicing brings a simplicity to life–so much less time is spent thinking about planning meals, cooking, thinking about calories, etc. I’ve discovered healthy cravings–like for salad and grilled portabella mushrooms.

In my days of juicing, this round and earlier this year, I’ve also learned that there is some sort of feeling of loss or guilt that comes with ending a juice cleanse.  While some people may simply be relieved, I don’t feel that way.  Perhaps that’s because I haven’t had to deal with tough withdrawal symptoms that some people experience–I think the more frequently you juice, the easier it becomes.  For me, I hate to say goodbye to how good my body feels while I juice.

But at least I know that if I strive for healthy eating post-juicing, I can likely stretch out this awesome feeling of health AND I can always come back to juicing when/if the mood strikes again.

Hate Your Job? That’s Something to Love.

June 12, 2012

Stressed out about work?  Sick of the commute? Your boss? Your cubemate?  Your paycheck? Feel like what you do at work doesn’t make any meaningful difference in the world?  That’s awesome news.  Really. 

Hating your job isn’t the way it has to be, and wanting to love your job isn’t asking too much.  Though no job is perfect and the grass may always seem greener elsewhere–that is, wherever you’re not, especially during stressful times–hating your job is actually something to love.  It’s a gift.  Work dissatisfaction that bubbles up to the point of dislike, even hate, is a great motivator for change.  It can push you closer to your dream job or lifestyle. You may not know exactly where you want to go, but a frustrating or unfulfilled work existence can get you to pick up your feet and head in a new direction.  Talk about appreciation for your job.