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Post-Vacation Blues: 5 Easy Steps to Beat Post-Vacation Blues

May 22, 2023

6 min read

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Author : United We Care
Post-Vacation Blues: 5 Easy Steps to Beat Post-Vacation Blues


Returning from a relaxing vacation can often leave us feeling a sense of melancholy and a lack of motivation, commonly known as post-vacation blues. It’s natural to feel a bit down after the excitement and relaxation of a vacation. Still, there are ways to combat this temporary slump and smoothly transition back into your daily routine. This article explores simple ways to combat post-vacation blues and depression.

What are post-vacation blues?

Much research shows that vacations can positively impact an individual’s well-being. When individuals return to work after holidays, their productivity is high, and their absenteeism is low [1]. However, researchers have recently begun noticing another phenomenon called the post-vacation blues. 


Post-vacation blues, also known as post-travel depression or vacation withdrawal, refer to the temporary sadness, fatigue, or lack of motivation that some individuals experience upon returning from a vacation or trip. This occurs because the return to a life of work after leisure becomes shocking for some individuals [2]. It may lead to symptoms like insomnia, distress, and even a rise in conflict [2]. 


Post-vacation blues can occur after short-term and long-term leaves. The contrast between work and vacation triggers these blues [3]. This feeling tends to wear off in a few days as individuals readjust to their routines [4]. Nonetheless, this may trigger an existential question for some individuals, who may become dissatisfied with their current situation. 

Symptoms of post-vacation blues

Symptoms of post-vacation blues can vary from person to person and, although short-lived, share many common characteristics with mood disorders [5]. Commonly seen symptoms include [5] [6]:

  • Sadness
  • Low Energy and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Poor Concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation

Despite returning from a vacation that may have relaxed them, individuals feel energized and motivated. They may also experience mood swings and wish to return on vacation, making them feel further dissatisfied. These symptoms can affect the person’s life and work. 

Effects of Post-Vacation Blues

Post-vacation blues can affect individuals’ well-being and daily functioning following a vacation. Low mood and feelings of sadness or disappointment may make it challenging to perform routine activities. This may also impact the productivity and concentration of a person once they return from work. 


A sudden increase in stress can worsen the blues, making it challenging to return to regular life. The pressure to catch up and readjust quickly can add to feelings of overwhelm, and for some individuals, this can lead to the need to quit or question their jobs. For those who traveled to different countries, jet lag and time change may be combined with post-vacation blues to affect their sleep patterns. Poor quality of sleep may further exacerbate feelings of fatigue and low mood. Finally, the person may desire to escape the routine and long for another vacation.


It’s important to note that these effects are temporary and should gradually improve as individuals readjust to their regular lives. Simple tips can help a person get over their post-vacation blues. 

How to Beat Post-Vacation Blues in 5 Easy Steps

Post-Vacation blues usually leave on their own as they readjust to their routine. However, there are some steps a person can follow to ensure a smooth transition [5] [6] [7]. Following are five simple steps to beat post-vacation blues


How to Beat Post-Vacation Blues in 5 Easy Steps


1) Plan for the transition: Usually, people go straight from vacation to work, increasing the chance of the “contrast effect.” To avoid this, one can plan for 1-2 extra days off upon their return from a vacation, and this will ensure sufficient time is present to rest, unpack and deal with any fatigue from the travel. Further, one can plan the work so that the days following a vacation are light and sufficient time is there to adjust to the routine. 


2) Plan some leisure activities: Returning to a work life can seem tedious and unsatisfying. It can help to have a leisure activity or a meeting with someone close planned a few days after one’s return. This gives a person something to look forward to and may help combat the perceived contrast between fun on vacation and routine.


3) Ensure quality sleep and nutrition:  Poor sleep and diet can exacerbate low mood. Further, vacationing may involve heavy food and poor sleep. Thus, focusing more on quality sleep and nutritious food upon return can help reduce the symptoms of post-vacation blues.  


4) Reflect on your trip: Journaling about the trip and doing activities like organizing photos can help reflect upon the journey. This reflection will help you relive the joy and excitement, allowing you to hold on to those positive feelings even after the vacation.


5) Add relaxation to the routine: Self-care practices like yoga, meditation, and relaxation can also help bring the mind and body back to normal. 


It is also essential to be patient in this process. Some depressive feelings and sadness post-vacation are healthy for our brains, which signifies that the brain is processing the holiday and returning to the baseline before the holiday [5]. However, if these post-vacation blues do not subside or highlight other issues in one’s work life(such as incivility or conflicts), it may be time to seek expert advice and reflect on how one wishes to deal with them.


Experiencing post-vacation blues is common, but it doesn’t have to linger and affect your overall well-being. By implementing the five easy steps above, one can beat the post-vacation slump and maintain a positive mindset.


If you are struggling with Post-Vacation Blues and want to talk to someone, contact the experts at United We Care. At United We Care, our wellness and mental health experts can guide you with the best methods for well-being.


  1. M. Westman and D. Etzion, “The impact of vacation and job stress on burnout and absenteeism,” Psychology & Health, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 595–606, 2001. doi:10.1080/08870440108405529
  2. M. Korstanje, “Post-vacation divorce syndrome: Are holidays leading to divorces,” Post-Vacation Divorce Syndrome: Are Holidays Leading to Divorces, https://www.eumed.net/rev/turydes/19/divorces.html#:~:text=This%20is%20dubbed%20as%20%E2%80%9Cpost,which%20even%20leads%20toward%20divorces. (accessed May 17, 2023).
  3. P. L. Pearce and A. Pabel, “Returning home,” in Tourist behavior: The essential companion, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021
  4. P. L. Schupmann, A general introduction to the subject of depression, http://essays.wisluthsem.org:8080/bitstream/handle/123456789/3464/SchupmannDepression.pdf?sequence=1 (accessed May 17, 2023).
  5. “What Are Post-Holiday Blues?,” Vancouver Island Counselling, https://www.usw1-1937.ca/uploads/1/1/7/5/117524327/2023_01_choices.pdf.
  6. A. Howard, “Post-vacation depression: Tips to cope,” Psych Central, https://psychcentral.com/depression/post-vacation-depression (accessed May 17, 2023).
  7. F. D. Bretones, Facing the post-holiday blues, https://digibug.ugr.es/bitstream/handle/10481/62632/Facing%20the%20post-holiday%20blues%20AUTHOR.pdf?sequence=1 (accessed May 17, 2023).

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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