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Causes Of Post-Holiday Depression, Ways To Prevent And Deal With It

“Saturday”, “April 4” and “October 1” are familiar days for us Iranians; The days when no one wants to come! Of course, not only us, almost all people in different countries of the world celebrate the first day of the week, the beginning of the school year and the end of the holidays! 

Holiday Depression, They are not the main problem these days, it is the problem of depression after the holidays that comes to us due to the rapid return to normal life.

It does not matter if the holiday is as short as the weekend or if it lasts for weeks and months like the Nowruz and summer holidays; You will still feel sad after the holidays. Especially if you are traveling, you have not yet opened your suitcase and you feel that the home environment is heavy.

Post-holiday depression is quite real and natural; That is, do not think that it is an unusual feeling that happens only to you, and that you must have a problem that it is. However, if you pay attention to the causes of this good feeling, you can get rid of it very soon and maybe start a whole new life for yourself.

What causes depression after the holidays? Holiday Depression

Post-holiday depression - Why do we get post-holiday depression?

In general, the holidays are good for our mental health . It is during the holidays that we have the opportunity to do activities that we do not qualify for on normal days, to go to places we have not been before, or to like to go again. Holidays are an opportunity to explore a world full of wonders that we never pay attention to in our daily lives. Of course, the holidays are not going to cost us much or be too long. We just need to reach our minds and bodies that need to rest and should be less involved in daily activities.

A long-term study of working women found that 10 days of paid leave could reduce their risk of depression by up to 29 percent . Various studies have shown that vacations reduce stress and strengthen the human spirit .

However, what is surprising and astonishing to researchers is why all the joy and happiness we get during the holidays does not last, and when the holidays are over, in a few days the same initial level of happiness as before We were coming back. If all that good feeling and high spirits are going to disappear after we resume the normal routine of your life, then isn’t the holiday a waste of time and money?

no it’s not. Researchers say the question is like asking: Why do we sleep when we get tired again? Or why do we live when we finally die? So we have to control this unpleasant feeling that comes to us after the holidays.

How to prevent depression after the holidays?

Discomfort usually does not last long after a day or weekend break due to repetition at short intervals (because we have this holiday every week) and does not turn into severe sadness or depression. Most post-holiday depression is related to holidays that last one or two weeks or more (such as Nowruz or summer holidays); The situation is worse, especially if you are traveling. There are a number of ways to deal with this problem that prevent this feeling from occurring and are, in fact, a kind of preventive measures.

1. Arrange your home before the holidays begin

Dealing with Depression After the Holidays - Clean the house before you go

Before the holidays, especially when you travel, because you are happy and in good spirits, you think to yourself, “I will arrange them after I get back.” it’s wrong! It is always best to do this beforehand so that you do not panic when you return. Both because you are tired and you definitely need to rest, and because after a few days of having fun, facing a cluttered environment will definitely make you feel better. You need to make sure you feel comfortable entering the house.

In general, nothing depresses you more than a crowded and cluttered environment.

2. Give yourself a day to a week

No matter how many days pass, the holidays are finally over; So to return to a normal life routine, you need to devote enough time to yourself. Do not dive into everyday life all at once. By doing so, depression comes sooner than it should and goes away later than it should. When you return, there is a lot of work to be done, and if you do not set a time for it, things like your job or education will be stacked up and stress you out.

One day is enough for a short vacation. Come back one day earlier and do not postpone it for ninety minutes. Set aside a day for unexpected things to do in your absence, or things like shopping for a house, unpacking, putting things in place, and clothes that need to be washed. If you have been away from home for more than a month, give yourself a week. During this time, proceed with a completely slow process to return to normal.

3. Make plans for the holiday season to look forward to it

To return from vacation, make a plan to keep feeling good; For example, mark a lunch with friends or family on the calendar. Remember not to spend too much, because it still makes no sense to spend less after the holidays (unless you are a billionaire and it does not matter to you!).

Of course, do not plan this event right after the holidays; Because the week after the holidays will definitely be a busy week and you have a lot of work to do throughout the week. One day a month later is great. This date reminds you that entertainment is not going to end if the holidays are over.

4. Keep track of travel or vacation memories

Dealing with Post-Holiday Depression - Keep notes of what you learned from the process

Memories must be recorded, otherwise they will disappear; Because no memory is as durable as a pen. Take a notebook and write down your memories of the vacation and trip you will probably have. Writing down all the events and recalling the stories can be a source of comfort for you. If you can spend 10 minutes writing these stories while on vacation and just organize them when you get back, it’s great for your mood. Be sure to bring a camera or take photos and videos with your mobile phone.

5. Take some time to relax during the holidays

Many of us do not relax for a minute during the holidays and like to make the most of our time. We like to plan every moment of these days for adventure and all kinds of energetic activities. However, it is better to devote time to calm and so-called relaxation . Try to visit cozy places sometimes during the holidays, especially if you are traveling, or spend some time in silence. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. This will help you maintain a good mood for a longer period of time.

In a 2010 study comparing pre- and post-holiday happiness levels, researchers found that those who had a very relaxed holiday retained more happiness than others and were happier for weeks than others.

How to deal with depression after the holidays?

The measures we mentioned in the previous section were preventive and we could reduce the risk of depression. In this section, we assume that the holidays are over and that depression has taken its toll. Now we have to use effective solutions to solve it.

1. Connect with family and friends

If post-holiday depression has affected you, contact the people you care about. Plan to hang out with old friends or family and watch movies, chat, or have dinner together. You will return to your routine again, but this time you will feel better. Note that this connection may not be as normal; Especially if you have a long vacation and you feel separated. You can assess whether this relationship has really diminished or what it looks like after a while away from the normal routine of life.

2. Improve your lifestyle

Most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about ourselves. Many of us change our diet and overeat or re-eat the high-calorie desserts we have eliminated. Worst of all, our sleep patterns are disrupted. Nightclubs and parties that last until late change our sleep patterns. All of these can contribute to post-holiday depression.

To get better mentally and physically, try to eliminate any leftovers from your diet, drink plenty of water (especially if you travel by plane) and get back to your sleep routine. Also, if your doctor recommends that you take melatonin, take this medication as prescribed to help regulate your sleep.

3. Go more to the heart of nature

Post-Vacation Depression - Go More to Nature

Research has shown that most people spend 90% of their lives indoors. When we spend some time in nature , however, our mood improves, stress levels decrease, we sleep better and our physical health improves.

Regular short nature walks are sometimes as relaxing as a great vacation.

4. Increase the connection between the home environment and the outside space

Many of nature’s health benefits come to us through the five senses. Researchers have found that people benefit from seeing, hearing, smelling and even tasting natural elements.

  • Open the windows and listen to the birds or smell the plants and grass. Put natural flowers in pots or make a small garden for yourself. Please do not make excuses that you live in an apartment. There are many ways to have a small garden in the apartment . These things can make your home more attractive and lively.
  • Keep your living space clean and tidy. If the space around you is crowded and cluttered, a bad feeling of clutter will affect your mood. Do not worry. You are not going to do anything special or move house at all. Make very small changes to eliminate clutter.

5. Share your memories with others

Share the videos and photos you took with others. Tell us about your experiences and description of your trip or holiday activities. Your description of new places and activities may help others choose their destination or the type of vacation they will spend.

6. Include new activities in your daily routine

Post-holiday depression - Incorporate a new activity into your daily routine

One of the major causes of post-holiday depression is relapse; Because everything and everything is repetitive. You have spent some time on vacation and after returning, this lifestyle has suddenly stopped. The amount of energy you gain from doing new things and activities is suddenly depleted.

At least one small change in this routine can take away the feeling of depression. If you have met people on a trip or vacation and learned from them a new food or exciting activity, now is the time to incorporate them into your daily routine; Especially if you have traveled abroad and got acquainted with the culture of different countries and the customs of the people there. 

You can turn something that was attractive to you into a daily habit.

Of course, remember to evaluate whether what was really interesting to you fits in with our culture. If you have traveled to Japan and seen that they kill you while eating and you like it, do you dare to make it a part of your daily routine and perform it in front of family members or Iranian guests?

7. Follow your thoughts on the trip

Most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about ourselves. We think about the life we ​​would like to have. Goals, relationships, quality of life, and all of these are things we think about outside of our normal routine. “After the holidays” is the best time to gradually provide the conditions for the changes you were thinking about during the holidays. Start with small steps.

8. Practice gratitude and meditation

Holidays are a great time to focus on gratitude and practice positive thoughts that can help us convey our emotions and improve our behavior. As much as it helps us get away from everyday realities, it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives and appreciate the opportunities we have.

Practicing gratitude and meditation helps reduce depression, stress, and nurture well-being.

9. Research future vacations or trips

Whether you have a short-term or long-term vacation, whether you are staying at home or traveling, research your next vacation or trip after the holidays. This will make you have an activity to do and also the good feeling you get from this will reduce your depression. Save the images you find or post them on social media. Don’t even think about an empty bank account or a thousand ifs and buts. Do not let these thoughts discourage you. By doing this, you will feel better and you will not have lost anything, but you will have increased your knowledge about the world.

What if depression persists after the holidays?

Postpartum Depression - See a Therapist

If the days are over and you are still feeling depressed and not getting better, it is best to talk to your therapist . Sometimes within a few sessions you can adjust to the new situation; But sometimes the therapist may find that these feelings are the result of a bigger problem, such as job dissatisfaction or the pressure you feel from life responsibilities, and that post-holiday depression only contributed to them.

Remember that depression is a real and very serious illness. Asking a therapist for help is not a sign that you are weak. This is a kind of self-care and you should not hesitate to treat it.

You say

What activities do you do after the holidays that you can adjust to again? Please share your experiences with us in the “Comments” section.