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Vacation Hangover

The Harsh Reality of Getting Back to “Real Life”

By Donna L. Roberts, PhD (Psych Pstuff)Published about a year ago Updated about a year ago 2 min read
Image by Mandyme27 from Pixabay

Vacation hangover, also known as post-vacation blues or post-travel depression, refers to the feeling of sadness, depression, or disorientation that can occur after returning from a vacation or trip. This phenomenon is relatively common and can affect people of all ages.

Several factors can contribute to vacation hangover. One reason may be the sudden change in environment and routine. After spending an extended period of time in a new place with different activities and potentially different time zones, returning home can be a shock to the system. Additionally, the end of a vacation often marks the return to work and other daily responsibilities, which can be stressful.

People who experience higher levels of stress during their vacation are more likely to experience vacation hangover. This stress can be caused by a variety of factors, including financial concerns, difficulties with travel arrangements, and conflicts with traveling companions.

Another factor that may contribute to vacation hangover is the anticipation and planning of the vacation itself. The build-up to a trip can be exciting and enjoyable, but the return to reality can be disappointing. This can be especially true if the vacation did not live up to expectations. People who had high levels of anticipation for their vacation reported more negative emotions after the vacation ended.

Photo by Peter Thomas on Unsplash

To prevent or alleviate vacation hangover, there are a few steps that travelers can take. First, it can be helpful to gradually ease back into your normal routine. This can be as simple as starting work on a Monday rather than a Wednesday, or setting aside time to unpack and do laundry before returning to your usual schedule. It can also be helpful to take breaks and do activities that you enjoy during the workweek to alleviate stress and prevent burnout.

Another tip is to stay active and engage in physical activity during and after your vacation. Exercise can improve mood and help with the transition back to your normal routine. People who engage in physical activity during their vacation report better overall well-being and are less likely to experience vacation hangover.

Finally, it can be helpful to stay connected with the people you met and the places you visited during your trip. This can be done through social media, postcards, or simply reminiscing with friends and family. People who stayed connected with their vacation experiences typically report more positive emotions and a sense of continued enjoyment after the vacation ended.

While it may be a strange and unsettling feeling, vacation hangover is actually a common phenomenon experienced by many travelers. It’s a normal physical and psychological reaction that can be caused by the sudden change in environment and routine, as well as the anticipation and planning of the vacation. To prevent or help mediate vacation hangover, travelers can ease back into their normal routine, stay active, and stay connected with the people and places they encountered during their trip.

Bon Voyage and Bon Retour!

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About the Creator

Donna L. Roberts, PhD (Psych Pstuff)

Writer, psychologist and university professor researching media psych, generational studies, human and animal rights, and industrial/organizational psychology

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