If you are like me, upon returning from vacation, you find yourself in a weird funk. My funk usually shows up the week after a big vacation and takes a few days to work itself out of my system. Upon returning from Disney World this year, I thought I had successfully avoided post-vacation blues (aka PVB), only to wake up a week later and find it there waiting for me. (Also, yes, I realized I’ve made up my own acronym for it. It’s probably one step closer to a DSM-IV rating now.) Maybe I had been at Disney too long, but PVB is like Joy turning around to see Sadness sulking behind her turning some of the happy thoughts blue.
I find my PVB always manifests in odd ways. This time: mild grumpiness, followed by distracted Internet searches that lead to strange rabbit holes where I search for jobs about working at whatever vacation stop I was last at … then, the thought of “Am I really contemplating retiring in Florida?!” as that doesn’t seem like me at all, and finally “might as well check what the condo prices are in Florida in case I need a my second home?”. It mellows out sometime a week later, medicated with pictures on my desk at work of the most recent trip, lots of walks at lunch to get some fresh air and planning the upcoming weekend or my next big vacation.
Honestly, PVB isn’t always a bad thing. It can help us become aware of things that might not be in sync in our normal day to day lives. If the blues seem more powerful at work versus at home that is telling us something. It can help tell us if we are getting enough rest or enough enjoyment in our lives. What parts of vacation lead us to joy that we can bring into our daily lives? Adventure? The outdoors? Just not staring at a computer for 8 hours a day? Relaxing? What parts of our lives do we let wake up during vacations that we leave silent during our normal lives? How can we begin to merge the two into one to seek out better happiness? A little self-reflection can start us on a path to a fresh start.
For me, personally, I work at a computer for most of my day. I am trying more to get outside more, listen to more upbeat music at my desk and interact verbally with my coworkers rather than sending more emails. At night, I am walking with my family down to the little beach by our house as – 10 years into living in New England – I can still be in awe of the ocean and the calm it brings me. I am seeking out books that scratch the itch of topics I’m interested in reading. I am baking again. “Calories, get out of my way!” I’ve heard of people that don’t enjoy vacationing. I call them NVs (never vacationers). Maybe they might have their finances in order, but can they be truly happy? There are 196.9 million square miles on this planet, and I’m supposed to live in the 8 square miles that encompasses my hometown? No, sir! A few days of PVB is worth the inspiration found in new places, new people and new adventures. Sadness knows the truth that this world is beautiful, fun and Joyous.
Here’s to all those surviving PVB and aspiring towards new adventures. May we all always seek to bring a little vacation into our everyday lives.