Vivian Chiona is the founder and director of Expat Nest (www.expatnest.com), which provides emotiona...
How to overcome the post-holiday blues02 September 2014, by Vivian Chiona
Another summer gone by…another time most of us as expats have to say goodbye to our family members back "home." Now it’s time to start fresh and new and to slowly get back to our normal routine.
Unread emails, a flat to clean up, suitcases to unpack, kids to start school, complicated requests you've been avoiding... tasks are waiting for you but you feel you are not in the mood yet... or maybe you're even wondering where you are, and why?!
After a nice summer break, many expats may have strong feelings of nostalgia, feeling blue, tiredness, the inability to settle down and do usual tasks or an increase or decrease in appetite. Even anger can be experienced, especially if the holiday was supposed to resolve issues that remain unresolved.
This may result in a feeling that you no longer want to keep doing the same things in your life, that you feel fed up or bored with the way things are in your life and you keep thinking about making a (big) change to your life.
How to overcome the blues
Not sure where to start? Here are eight ways to get back on track:
› Work on your schedule
Simplify your schedule for the first two weeks back and stick to one main goal for this fortnight.
› Unpack immediately
You don’t want to be tripping over suitcases for days. Also try not to drag out the necessary tasks that will bring you back to your normal routine.
› Get some sunlight
Spend as much time outdoors as possible. It works!
› Reconnect with people
Call your friends in your host country, keep in touch with the ones who are far away and why not trying making some new friends?!
› Give yourself time
Experience your emotions and if you feel a bit blue after a great holiday, that’s ok. You don’t have to force yourself to feel better and happier from one moment to another.
The transition from the excitement of the holiday experience, or the goodbye to beloved ones back ‘home’, to the ‘ordinary life’ takes time. It is normal to feel blue for some time, this will get better once you get back to your daily routine.
› Share experiences and thoughts
Share your experiences or thoughts about the trip with a friend or family member. Be aware that others perhaps won’t get so excited because they didn’t share the experience, or perhaps they won’t fully understand why you are feeling down upon your return.
This doesn’t mean that others don’t care for you. Ultimately, sharing your experience will help you.
› Make small changes
Think about how your holiday experience can be useful to make good small changes in your life.
Use this time after your holiday to plan how you will achieve these small changes. Be specific and keep it short!
Also, be sure to include in your plan things that make you happy and give you a sense of taking a break once in a while.
› Reach out to professionals
If you're at a stage in life where you feel that holidays just put a hold on pressing issues and that you are now ready to move through these issues, then this might just be the right time to get help from the professionals.
Seeking professional help can be as broad as getting an accountant to sort out your finances, a handyman to redecorate your house, signing up for a self-growth course or finding someone to help deal with the unhappy feelings you're experiencing.
The sooner you deal with the things that are bothering you, the better.
What has helped you overcome the post-holidays blues? Which of the above tips would you use?