Have you ever experienced the dreaded “post-vacation blues”?

Chances are, you’re not alone. A 2019 study from travel website Kayak found that nearly half of Canadians reported feeling stressed about returning to work after vacation often while still on their trip!

Post-vacation blues is a short-term mood swing that can occur after an important life event like a holiday or travel. Symptoms can include insomnia, low energy, anxiousness, irritability and decreased focus. Unlike clinical depression, post-vacation blues are a short-lived dip in mood rather than a long-term issue.

Holidays are an essential part of a healthy work/life balance, so an important skill to cultivate is learning to manage feelings of stress or guilt that can come with time away from work.

Here are 5 things you can do to reduce that post-holiday slump:

1.     Plan Ahead

Give future you a gift, and make sure you plan ahead before you leave for your trip.

Communicate to colleagues and clients well in advance of your departure and ensure any time-sensitive tasks are covered.

Being able to disconnect while you’re away is critical to getting the most from your vacation and feeling recharged when you do return.

2.     Give Yourself Time

Flying in late Sunday night and back in the office Monday morning? That kind of a shock to the system is likely to leave you feeling low, not to mention adding to the anxiety that can creep in while you’re trying to enjoy your time away!

Be realistic with yourself and ensure you’re leaving enough time between returning from holidays and going back to work.

For some, this may mean blocking off time in your calendar on your first day back to catch up on emails and not booking any important meetings in the first few days after a holiday.

3.     Stay Mindful

Staying mindful means allowing yourself to be present in the moment (and that means not worrying about what happens on Monday!). Staying mindful when you’re away from the office is so important because it leaves you feeling satisfied and rejuvenated by your vacation – and isn’t that the point?

If you find yourself fighting the post-vacation blues, notice your feelings without judgment and with a genuine curiosity about where they’re coming from. You’ll learn more about yourself and that can help reduce unnecessary stress in the future.

4.     Be Grounded in Your Goals

The loss of having something to look forward to can be particularly potent in driving post-vacation blues.

Make sure you’re addressing this by setting yourself some new goals and plans to look forward to. Those goals and plans may include landing a promotion, building new skills or just planning your next vacation!

Most importantly, be grateful for the experience you had on your vacation but make sure you’re staying focused on the great things that are lying ahead too.

5.     Treat Yourself

Be a little extra kind to yourself and indulge in some self-care, whatever that means for you.

Whether that’s booking lunch with a colleague to talk about your trip or placing some photos or souvenirs where they can easily remind you of the great memories made, there are simply ways to kindly ease yourself back into your routine.

As you deal with those post-vacation blues, keep in mind you’re not alone. We hope these strategies can help you enjoy your vacation to the fullest, and stay more grounded, present and positive.

With over 25 years of experience building great workplaces, the team at Cenera can help you and your employees stay happy, healthy and motivated at work.


If you need support in developing innovative policies and processes for modern workplaces, reach out to us to learn more about our custom solutions.


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