Among the common sentiments that are rarely ever talked about traveling is the quickness with which the trip is over and the depression which sets in soon after. After months of planning and finally taking the actual trip, you find the whole experience went by way too fast and are left feeling sad it’s already over. It seems that the more amazing the trip, the harder it is to return home to the reality of your normal day-to-day routine. Don’t expect sympathy from those around you either; friends, family, and coworkers will expect you to be riding on high and won’t understand how you could be feeling depressed after returning from such an exotic location.
So you will have to deal with your post-trip depression on your own. Luckily for all of us, there are several ways to beat back those travel blues, and here are just a few that we’ve found really help to recapture that high you felt while experiencing an amazing trip.
Take some time to recoup
You’ve been on a high probably every day of your trip – experiencing the things you wish to see and do without the constant worry of your normal work schedule. This is something we’re not accustomed to as working adults and not something easily recognizable or thought all that often about. So it’s no surprise that returning home will inevitably leave you feeling exhausted – especially if you’ve had a long journey, across multiple time zones and are feeling the effects of jet-lag.
Give yourself at least a couple days at the end of a long vacation to rest and recoup. We’ve found that returning on a Friday gives us a couple days to lounge around, relax, watch movies or TV, unpack and do laundry, go grocery shopping, or any other errands we need to accomplish before the normal work-week starts again on Monday. Whatever your schedule looks like, having a couple days to ease back into your normal life is far better than getting home the night before you’re scheduled to be back at work.
Redirect negative energy in your life
“You can’t see the forest for the trees,” an expression referring to someone who has focused too closely on the many details and has failed to grasp the broader picture or overall view. Travel grants the amazing ability to step back from your own “trees” to be able to see your own “forest”. In other words, it allows you reevaluate the choices you’ve made that have lead you down the path you are on in life and whether or not you need to make some drastic changes to get you to where you will be happiest living your ideal life.
We’re not saying you need to return from every trip ready to make major life-changing decisions but rather that travel gives you fresh eyes and the clarity to see what changes you might need to make to re-steer your ship towards a more fulfilling life. This can go a long way towards combatting depression over time.
Appreciate the positives
Enjoy the little things in front of you that you enjoy so much while traveling:
- Nice restaurants in your own city
- Activities in your area
- Stroll through parks and other sights near you
- Visit museums close to home
You don’t have to travel far to experience all these things – often, something amazing is right in front of you waiting for you to discover.
Use those “clear eyes” we discussed in the previous section to identify the positive aspects of your life and spend your time and energy nurturing them. These can include:
- A loving partner
- Your children and/or pets
- Friends and Family
- Your health
- Your career
- Your home
- Whatever allows you to travel more, or to see and do the things that make you happy
This may be easier for some than others and your most recent travel may have heightened the fact that your home life is not ideal and you are struggling to find the positives in your life. If this is the case, it may be time to make the changes we discussed above so that you are living a fulfilling life.
Re-live your trip through videos
Capturing video of our trips and then editing them into short home movies has been one of the best ways we have found to fight post-trip depression. Unlike pictures, video gives you the ability to easily relay the mood of a particular moment – especially when you pair it with the right music. You can add your own commentary either in the moment, at the end of the day, or as narration once you return to capture how a place made you feel while you were experiencing it.
Video allows you months of re-living your trip as you edit clips into a cohesive movie. It’s a fun and creative process that allows years of enjoyment once you’ve completed the final product.
Do something with your pictures
We live in a fast-food society. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are fleeting, momentary experiences we rarely use to re-live moments in our lives. We post our pictures and within a day (or sometimes hours) they are forgotten – lost among the billions of other posts never to be thought about again. Worse yet are the people who dump their photos into a folder on their computer never to be looked at or shared.
Do something with your pictures!
- Organize your photos as soon as you can upon returning from your trip
- Delete duplicates, blurry, and bad photos
- Select your favorites and edit them
- Make a photobook, or scrapbook: Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Mixbook appear to have the best reviews online
- Use ticket stubs, receipts, and brochures you collect on your travels to include in your scrapbooks
- Blow-up your favorite pictures on canvas, metal, or glass and hang them in your home to share when entertaining guests
Surrounding yourself with photos from your travels is a surefire way to beat post-trip depression.
Plan your next trip
For us, nothing cures travel depression better than immediately planning our next trip. The anticipation of a new trip is exhilarating so it’s key to always have another one to look forward to.
- Figure out where you want to go
- Set a target date for your next trip even if it can’t be for another year
- Start saving immediately
- Research the details – Pinterest, Youtube, and guidebooks are great for this!
- Get your plane tickets – it makes the trip official
Always having a vacation to look forward to is our number one way to battle the monotony of work-life, and the quicker you get started the easier it will be to get over travel depression.
While we’re not much for collecting souvenirs, many people find a ton of joy in being able to pull a tangible item off a shelf to be able to re-live the experiences they had on their favorite trips.
- Sand and Seashells –Did you have a beach trip? Bring back some sand and/or seashells and display creatively or make jewelry from them.
- Postcards – If you purchase postcards from your destination, you can write brief notes on the back that capture your memories. When you get home you can create a book from them that you can refer back to over and over again.
- Candles/incense – purchase scented candles or incense from your destination and when you burn them at home you will be reminded of the wonderful memories of the location you came back from.
- Food – make or find restaurants in your town with the different cuisines you enjoyed from the destination you visited.
- Music – find music from the area you visited
- Shirts/clothes/jewelry – purchase clothes and/or jewelry from your destination and each time you wear them you’ll remember your great trip.
- Any other knick-knacks that bring back the memories of your trip. Some people enjoy collecting shot glasses, magnets, ornaments, and other things that remind them of their trip. If this is your thing, be sure to display them somehow that you can see them easily.
- Learn a new activity that reminds you of the location – for instance learn how to play the ukulele (Hawaii) or learn how to knit (Iceland)
We hope these tips will help you the next time you return from an incredible trip and are feeling the effects of post-trip depression.
Do you have any other tips for how you have dealt with post-trip depression? We’d love to hear them, feel free to let us know in the comment section below or drop us an email.