Post Holiday Blues (and how to attempt to fix them)

So I’m home after our 7 nights and 8 days in Beautiful Bali. Yesterday at this very same time I was sitting on one of those big pink bean bag lounge chairs on the beach in Legian with a beer in my hand watching the orange sun set into the Indian Ocean. And now, I’m sitting on the un-vacuumed floor of my lounge room, with the heater blaring, watching an old episode of Friends. It’s not that Friends isn’t the greatest show of all time, and it’s not that I hate where I live. In fact I love where I live and plan on spending the rest of my life within 100m of my current location.

But it is just so depressing, boring, mundane and quite frankly, underwhelming being home after a holiday. Not to mention, cold! People often talk candidly of ‘Post Holiday Blues’. But I’m sure it’s a real diagnosis like getting the flu (although for some, clearly not as serious). Wikipedia have dedicated a whole page to PHB. The page discusses the symptoms of PHB including (and I quote) ‘tiredness, loss of appetite, strong feelings of nostalgia and even depression’. Apparently, the longer the trip the more ‘intense’ the depression is. It also says that jet lag may add to the effect.

For me other things add to this depression. Like the 3 loads of washing I have to do (shoot me now) or the catching up on cleaning I have to do (did I mention the un-vacuumed floors), not to mention the crappy cold weather and lack of sunshine. Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend that in the 2 months that you were away experiencing what the world has to offer, your friends and family have been running the same rat race, doing the exact same thing day in and day out for the entire time you were gone.

Of course returning work and the monotony of the 9-5 is something we all dread (even on a Sunday night).

Wikipedia has also discussed possible treatments for Post Holiday Blues including sharing your experiences with friends and family and planning your next holiday. WebMD talk about getting over PHB with making some ‘Big Audacious Goals’ for yourself like learning another language (maybe from the country you just came from), moving house (maybe to the country you just came from) and changing careers (like looking for a job in city you just came from).

The worst holiday blues I ever experienced was after a working holiday to Cambodia. I worked in an orphanage for highly disabled children. Returning to Australia to see beautiful healthy rich children crying because they had to leave the swing set by the beach to go back to their million dollar mansion for a lunch of organic vegetables and Camembert cheese, just killed me.

After this I planned a ‘big audacious goal’ myself of changing careers and started looking for work in the humanitarian industry. I also told everyone I could find (who was willing to listen) about what I had seen and learnt in Cambodia about how the Khmer people lived and there way of life, and of course, how these listeners could all help the situation.

But Cambodia is a story for another day. This post is about Post Holiday Blues. For me, part of getting over PHB is all the Ooo’s and Ahh’s I get over my awesome tan or hanging the new painting I brought on my travels or just physically printing photos (an ancient ritual of the 20th century). These are always a happy reminder of the experiences I just had.

And of course, continuously continuing to plan my next adventure and ensuring that that adventure is not too far away is something that gets me through the Post Holiday Blues every time.


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