Post-vacation depression: What it is, How to Avoid it, and Keys to Overcome it

April 10, 2023

A disease invented for some and a harsh reality for many others, there is no doubt that post-vacation depression is a topic of increasing concern for workers and employers. 

Does it exist? What are its symptoms? Can anything be done to prevent it? We will answer all of these questions, and many more, in this blog post. So, from now on, let your vacations never become your worst nightmares!

What is post-vacation depression?

Post-vacation depression is a state that occurs in a worker when the process of adaptation between a period of vacation and leisure and the return to active life fails. This can cause discomfort, making us respond to our routine activities with lower performance and lethargy.

This relatively new syndrome is causing headaches for psychologists because it is complicated to classify, as its symptoms do not follow a pattern. What is clear, however, is that an increasing number of workers are affected by this type of depression. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition "a lot" worse and 40% "somewhat" worse."

Symptoms of post-vacation depression

Symptoms of post-vacation depression

Many people think post-vacation syndrome is silly, and everyone gets in a bad mood when they return from their vacations. That, to some extent, is true. However, the symptoms presented by this syndrome are very similar to those offered by anyone returning to work. The only difference is that if it is depression, these symptoms will persist for much longer. 

The most common symptoms include:

  • Easily getting irritated.
  • Feeling sad.
  • Never being able to concentrate 100%.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Feeling apathetic.
  • Constantly feeling tired or getting tired quickly.
  • Experiencing insomnia.
  • Episodes of anxiety.

If indications of any of these symptoms are detected, especially if they persist over time, it is very likely that the person suffers from depression.

Things that can influence its appearance

This syndrome doesn't appear just out of anywhere. There are several reasons that influence the manifestation of its symptoms when returning to work after vacation.

A boring job

Symptoms of post-vacation depression

Everyone dreams of having an ideal job, but unfortunately, few people can live that dream. If a person is unhappy in their career, the chances of suffering from post-vacation syndrome increase exponentially. A good leader's task is to create a healthy work environment that stimulates their employees and makes the company work efficiently and correctly.

Bullying at work

After a dull job, the other primary reason for suffering from post-vacation depression is experiencing workplace bullying. Also known as mobbing, it consists of psychologically crushing a worker through constant belittling of their work continuously. Another form is discriminating against workers for something that has little or nothing to do with their job performance. There are two types:

  • Vertical: this occurs from a superior to an employee. In this case, the aim is usually to get the worker to "voluntarily" leave the company to avoid paying compensation.
  • Horizontal: if the harassment comes from coworkers themselves, usually due to sex, religious beliefs, or disagreements. It would be best if you faced workplace conflicts as soon as possible.

If a worker finds themselves in such a situation, it is typical for the mere thought of returning to work to cause them stress.

Poor vacation routines

There is no doubt that we are supposed to enjoy our vacations. But it would help if you kept sight that they will eventually end. During this period of rest, it is normal to eat at irregular hours, go to bed later, wake up when you are no longer sleepy, and set aside your obligations. All of that is fine, but if you extend that lifestyle until the moment of returning to your job, the shock of returning to the routine can lead you to a state of severe depression.

Preventing post-vacation depression

There is no better treatment for a disease than avoiding it, or as our grandparents said: "prevention is better than a cure". So now we will give you some guidelines you can follow when returning to work, which will help you avoid suffering from post-vacation depression.

  1. Prepare for your return before you leave.

A typical thought of many people as their vacation approaches are to leave tasks unfinished with the idea of picking them up again upon returning. That, to some extent, is logical, but it is a double-edged sword because you are loading yourself with work for your return. So, leaving as many problems solved as possible is a good idea. That way, everything will be more bearable on your return from vacation.

2. Take shorter vacation periods.

If you know that returning to the monotony of work will be difficult, a solution is not to take a full month of vacation but to divide them throughout the summer. This way, your body will not lose the rhythm of work but at the same time, it will feel the benefits of rest.

3. Maintain some routines during vacation.

As we mentioned before, changing all your life habits during your vacation is normal, but that freedom of schedule can hurt your return to work. Try to maintain some routines. Although if you skip them one day, it's okay. Your body won't lose its rhythm, and everything will be more accessible upon your return.

Tips to overcome post-vacation depression

Tips to overcome post-vacation depression

Despite everything we've told you, and you're experiencing symptoms of post-vacation depression, these tips will help you overcome it more easily.

Take a weekend getaway.

Your vacation doesn't have to end when you go back to work. Plan well and take a weekend getaway to a nearby location. It's a great idea to keep recharging your batteries.

Maintain some of the habits you had while on vacation.

If you've adopted any habits during your break, you don't have to lose them when you return to work! Summer days are very long, and if you organize yourself well, you'll have time to continue with the routines you had during your vacation. However, keep in mind that post-vacation depression often comes from losing those habits.

Set manageable goals when you return.

You've recharged your batteries and love your job, so you have no problem returning to work. Do you think you're free from danger? You've gained a lot, but be very careful with the goals you set right at the beginning of the work week. It's better to start with easy tasks and gradually move on to the more complicated ones. Remember that your body and mind will need a few days to function at 100% again.

In Conclusion

That's all we wanted to tell you about post-vacation depression. Now we want your opinion: does it exist or not? Have you ever experienced it? 

Whatever your point of view, we would love for you to tell us in the comments. And if you have personally experienced it and have been able to overcome it, please tell us how you did it. 

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