Did you get a break this holiday season? I was lucky enough to get some time away from the office around Christmas and I have a short schedule this week around New Year’s. While the break was nice, I must admit that my brain is having trouble adjusting to work life and my mind is dwelling on my last holiday trip.
In an ideal world, vacations allow us time to step away, refresh, and recharge our mental batteries. In this fantasy world, email communication is silenced and all work is abandoned until we are back in the office. Depending on your job, a total black-out vacation might not be possible. But, even if we can make a total escape, sometimes it is harder to keep our minds from wandering back into work mode. I recently took a trip to Pittsburgh over the holidays and found myself becoming more anxious about work on the last day of my trip. In my case, it did not help that I had a few deadlines approaching upon my return.
Some people have dubbed the sadness and anticipation felt at the end of a vacation the ‘last day of vacation’ blues. The internet describes this feeling as similar to the one we sometimes get on Sunday evenings when we anticipate the dawning of the work week (more on that here). Another similar condition is known as the ‘post-vacation’ blues, which is the mix of nostalgia, sadness, and lack of motivation we may feel after a nice vacation. A cursory search on Google has yielded sparse returns on cures to the ‘last day of vacation’ or ‘post-vacation’ blues. The common consensus is—’you’ll get over it,’ ‘keep busy,’ or ‘plan for the next vacation’.
To me, the general apathy toward our unhappiness in this instance is kind of strange. Vacations should, of course, be relaxing and allow us time to enjoy ourselves. However, at the same time, shouldn’t our normal life also bring us some source of comfort and joy? I would like to offer another treatment to the ‘last day of vacation’ and ‘post vacation’ blues – reframe your mindset about home.
In our arsenal of treatments, our mind and the way we think should never be underestimated. I think if we adjust our thoughts and feelings about home, we can experience happiness rather than sadness when we return from trips. Because I recently came back from a trip, I wanted to list some things that I am grateful for and look forward to about home. For me, keeping the positives in mind has helped me feel a bit happier about my return.
I am happy to be home for these 6 reasons:
- I can finally wash my clothes!
- If you haven’t done laundry since your departure, it can feel very good to transfer you pile of dirty clothes out of the suitcase and into the washing machine.
- I no longer must live out of a suitcase!
- Now that you are home, you have a closet full of options and a cupboard full of toiletries. If you’re like me and try to carry few liquids, coming home means that you no longer must ration shampoo or body lotion.
- I overate during my trip…
- Breakfast buffets happen. I am excited to get back to a gym routine and a diet that does not include a three-course breakfast.
- Normal food.
- I am a person of habit. Every morning I eat yogurt from my favorite café. I love this breakfast so much; it has actually become something that I look forward to on a regular basis. Now that I am home, I am happy that I can visit my favorite cafes and grocery stores again.
- I have reliable wifi.
- On vacation, I often find myself using too much data or find myself frustrated with fickle or insecure wifi connections. Back home, I enjoy the predictability of my home internet stability and security.
- Going away for vacation for me usually means that I am staying in an unfamiliar space—usually a small hotel or hostel room. Being back home means that I have a familiar space with my things everywhere. Home feels like home because my presence is all around me.
The things that I look forward to upon coming home are small, but I believe that these are the things that make home more special than any vacation. We all have one home. We may spend time in other places, but at the end of the day, our hearts and minds have one place that is truly our own.
I love home. I also love vacation. I’m glad that I can have both. Life can be a beautiful, wonderful thing, Dear Reader. In life, I hope you always have something to look forward to.