Cures for the Post Trip Blues
BY SARAH BRYAN
This past weekend Dan and I and some friends of ours took a quick little trip to a hot spring in a cute little mountain town about 3 hours outside of Denver, called Glenwood Springs. For my West Coast friends, you actually pass it on your drive out to Denver. I’d highly recommend staying a night or two to walk around the town and go to the hot springs. It has such a cute small-town vibe and very relaxing.
Anyway, the weekend was great, and we had so much fun getting away for a bit, but what is it that they say? What goes up, must come down? Yeah, something like that. As the covid fog wears off, and we start going back to doing normal things like taking trips and such, the more I become aware again of the highs and lows surrounding a vacation. The beforehand is always a little stressful, but so exciting. And the end (at least for, but presuming not only me) is always a little sad. Not that I don’t love my everyday life, I’m always excited to get back to our fur babies and into our routine, but I can’t help but feel a little down when we have to say goodbye to our little getaway and the people we shared it with.
I think it’s mostly because it serves as a reminder that time passes, regardless of what we have to say about it, and that even good things must come to an end. I try to be as present as possible during trips like this, but I find it difficult at times when all I find myself thinking about is that it will inevitably end. It’s something I’m working on: savoring every moment while trusting that more await- moments yet to be savored.
We came home Saturday night, and I spent a good portion of Sunday and Monday feeling fairly bleh and finding it challenging to jump back into a productive mindset. I think this may also have had something to do with the fact that we had a decent amount to drink the previous 3 days and that I was about to start my period later that week; the perfect storm, really. And since vacations can’t last forever and we can’t always time it perfectly around our cycles or emotions or any other unpredictable aspect of life, I figured I’d share a few things that helped me climb out of my little hole of self-pity and lethargy and get back into the swing of things this week. My cures for the post-trip blues:
Lay in Bed
Seriously, sometimes all you need to do is nothing. It’s actually incredibly healthy to do nothing. And while it may not feel like you’re doing much at the moment (because you physically aren’t), you really are. You’re allowing yourself to rest. And though we may not always think we need it, we all know what happens when we don’t get enough of it. On Sunday, I lay in bed all day and watched at least 5 movies (I highly recommend this one– it’s my favorite). It was so comforting and therapeutic, and I really do feel like it was exactly what I needed after a long weekend of being out and socializing. Gotta recharge the batteries.
In the midst of my day spent in bed, I did find time to get up and clean up a bit. I unpacked, showered, and cleaned the house a little. Not sure about you, but being clean in a clean house is one of my favorite feelings ever. I made the bed, lit a candle, put clean cozy clothes on, and jumped right back into bed to continue my movie marathon. It was GREAT. Something about continuing my lazy day after a little bit of productivity to set me up for success later allowed me to enjoy my lazy day guilt-free and not feel so behind on things when Monday rolled around.
Set Small Goals
Speaking of Monday, that’s when things got a little more difficult for me. I wasn’t mentally ready for the week to start, but I knew it was best to start somewhere at least. So I set a list of to-do items for myself that was pretty straightforward and easy to do. I spent the day switching from unproductively watching a show or scrolling on my phone to then going to the grocery store or doing my laundry. By the end of the day, I felt pretty accomplished and caught up on life a bit more, which helped me go into the rest of my week with a bit more pep in my step.
On Wednesday, my period finally started, and I did take that day to be a bit lazy as well, but I felt my emotions balance out, and I was then able to go through the rest of the week feeling more productive. I had a newfound sense of looking forward to the future rather than stewing in the fact that our previous trip was over. And more importantly, I was able to find comfort in the present moment and really appreciate that place too.
I think post-trip blues come mostly from not liking the present moment as much as you did the most previous one. It’s never fun to come back from a trip and suddenly have to get back to all of your responsibilities. Some transition time is needed there, and that’s okay. With this in mind, I’ve found that making your present moment, regardless of whether that’s on vacation or in your living room, as pleasant a place to be as possible.
So often, we’re running off to the possibilities of the future or looking back to the lessons of the past. We then find ourselves uncomfortable in the present, romanticizing the past or thinking we’ll feel happier in the future. When, in reality, the only thing that will change how we feel at any other time is how we feel right now. If we can learn to sit with our thoughts and make the present a pleasant place to be, then it will continue to be, which will make it so for the past and future too. It may not completely take away those post-trip blues, but it will sure help you move through them and get you looking forward to all the exciting things that lie ahead.
Have you experienced the post-trip blues? If so, what have you found helpful to get over them?