We have just returned back from our first full family camping trip which was very much a success!
However, as someone who was diagnosed five years ago with Bipolar II, together with OCD and various anxiety disorders, I have to be very mindful of my triggers for depressive episodes.
One such trigger for my depression are the days immediately after I return from being away.
I believe this is a combination of finding going away tiring, being out of my normal routine and struggling with overwhelm when attempting to get back into work mode.
This is especially important given the added complexity of living within a family unit of 5.
Whilst it is common to experience the Post Holiday Blues, for me if I am not careful this can lead to full blown depression and can put me in bed for days.
One thing that I learnt early on during my CBT is that feeling the Post Holiday Blues is very common and experienced by many people whether they have mental health issues or not.
The good news is that there are lots of things we can do to manage these feelings so that they do not overwhelm us.
- Break our to do list into small bite size tasks that are achievable – whether it is our work, family or home to do list we can’t eat a whole elephant in one go. By breaking down our list into small and achievable goals this helps to avoid overwhelm and gives us a sense of achievement by ticking off items on our list
- Embrace the mantra of doing the next right thing – procrastination can be especially rife upon returning from holiday. Putting things off until tomorrow leads to overwhelm. If we keep doing the next right thing we will be amazed with the progress we make.
- If something is not working move onto something else – there is nothing worse that hitting our head against a brick wall and being unproductive. If we find this happening we can switch to a different task that we are able to work through.
- Write a gratitude list – after the highs of a holiday it is easy to feel down about things. However a great way to address this is to write a list of the things we are grateful for to focus our minds on all the wonderful things we have in our life.
- Listen to uplifting music – one way to counter wandering negative thoughts when we are trying to be productive is to listen to music that we find uplifting to elevate our mood.
- Speak to someone – isolation can be the enemy when we return from holiday and withdraw from interacting with others. Picking up the phone to speak to a friend or strike up a conversation with a colleague to air the fact we are feeling low, and just by talking about it, can help us to feel better.
- Don’t keep problems to ourself – following on from the above often the greatest impediment to productivity upon returning from holiday is not knowing how to tackle a particular problem or task, whether it be work, family or relationship related. Seek help from the appropriate source, after all a a problem shared is a problem halved
- Ensure we take regular breaks – when we have a to do list as long as our arm to do upon returning from holiday it is easy to dive head first into getting them done without taking regular breaks resulting in us undoing all of the goodness of recharging our batteries on holiday.
- Do some exercise – the endorphins produced through exercising can help to counter the holiday blues.
- Get out for a walk and some fresh air – giving ourselves a break through taking some fresh air can help clear our mind and enable us to focus on the outdoors.
- Drink plenty of water – ensuring we drink plenty of water is important to ensuring our body is hydrated. The human brain comprises of ~70% water and dehydration can compound the holiday blues.
- Ensure that we eat properly – together with drinking water ensuring we eat properly upon returning from holiday is very important. As holidays often involve overindulging, by getting back into the routine of heating healthily can help us feel much better.
Do you suffer from the Post Holiday Blues?
What steps do you take to counter them?
As always it would be great to hear from you with your comments below 🙂
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