The post-holiday blues

After a holiday, it's easy to feel like 'real life' just isn't cutting it. You've had a great time, lived in a gorgeous place, done things you might not normally do and had access to a different lifestyle - one which doesn't involve going to work every day! 

Holidays feel great in part because they are a break from the monotony, and they allow us to live a lifestyle that is unattainable - and in some ways, undesirable - the rest of the year. Sometimes we know this other world wouldn't really work out as a full time thing; other times we start to wonder if we shouldn't just quit our jobs and move to the Caribbean!

So, how to manage when the blues set in? For some people, the blues are a transient state, a bit of deflation at being back to real life. It's natural to feel the bump of coming back down to earth and if, in general, the routine and responsibilities that make up the fabric of 'real life' are largely satisfying then there's not much to worry about. There may be a lesson about novelty, about invigorating your routines with new experiences and that can be easily managed with doing some simple things, from walking a different route to work to planning a weekend away to a city you've not been to before. 

For others, the blues are an indication of something deeper, a longed-for change, which the busy schedule of day-to-day life protects us from seeing. This can be scary or exhilarating depending on your circumstances. Either way, this time - between the end of a holiday and before you are fully immersed in the usual routine and back on auto pilot - is a window for possibility. It's a space for you to reflect on what is important and meaningful for you and consider what you really want from life and the rich possibilities that may be available to you. I'd caution against taking action at this point, but instead think of this as a creative space, where you can play around with ideas about what you might want to change. The post-holiday blues can then mark the start of a process of discovery around what you want to be different. Be patient and don’t rush; sometimes when we are uncomfortable we want to get rid of that feeling so we spring too quickly to action. Instead, sit with it and see what emerges. It may take time before your yearnings coalesce into a plan that fits with your life and sits right in your heart.

When you use the 'blues' to learn, they feel less like stuck places and more like fertile ground from which something wonderful can grow. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Dr Sally Hilton, Integrative Psychotherapist (HCPC & UKCP reg.)

Sally Hilton is an integrative psychotherapist with 10 years’ experience of working with clients on issues including anxiety, depression and relationship problems. Sally also offers sports psychotherapy/sports counselling to sports professionals, with an emphasis on the particular pressures of elite sports participation / transition to retirement.… Read more

Written by Dr Sally Hilton, Integrative Psychotherapist (HCPC & UKCP reg.)

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