It’s Tuesday morning, and I find myself staring directly in the ugly face of an emotional phenomenon that professionals of all creed and color are bound to face during the span of a career: the Post-Vacation Blues (PVBs).
Sitting under fluorescent office lights after a dreamlike Kenyan safari holiday with my dad, step mom, sister, and soon-to-be brother-in-law inspires a certain, very particular brand of self-pity. Ridiculous and entitled negative thoughts fight for room in my stream of consciousness. My real life sucks! Happiness is only real when shared, at a hotel pool, with gin and tonics in hand! Work is a prison, and I’m fit for a jailbreak!
As I try to drown out the external sounds of factory machinery and the internal sounds of my woes with my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, I wonder to myself: is there a better way? Can the collective we defeat the PVBs? Is misery inevitable? Will I ever be happy again?
In keeping with the Vacationland theme, I’ve created a beginners’ Guide to Overcoming the Post-Vacation Slump using collated research from relevant clinical studies and statistically significant psychological data. See below.
Step 1: Snapback to Reality
It’s important to remember that vacations are special, and shouldn’t be all-the-time-real-life. If they were, we would all be eternally fat, sunburnt, tipsy and poor. In order to maintain optimal fitness, dermal health, liver function and finances, ease gently back into your normal routine. Make achievable, realistic to-do lists for both work and personal items. Sample:
- Log sales data
- Approach grotesque pile of laundry in corner of room
- Answer emails
- Limit gazing longingly at vacation pictures to >60 minutes per day
- 2pm meeting
- Eat normal meals at normal times
- Revise project proposal
- Watch latest Broad City episode
- Buy ice cream for unscheduled emotional eating
The sooner you dive into your every day schedule, the sooner you’ll re-realize that your life, in fact, does not totally blow.
Step 2: Don’t be an Asshole
The PVB experience is a very distinct and singular one. It’s hard to sympathize with a PVBer* when you yourself have not been on vacation recently. Your coworkers, who presumably did not join you on your ~unreal~ getaway, won’t recognize that you’re only being a total doucher because uhhh helloooooo, you just had the best week of your life and now your job makes you want to pierce your eyeballs with a salad fork. They will simply think you are a bad person.
Be kind to others. Their reciprocity may help you out of your selfish pit of anguish.
*One suffering from PVBs
Step 3: Plan Fun
Put something on the calendar that you can look forward to. All rote office life and no weekend plans makes Anna a glum gal.
While you’re up to planning fun shit, go ahead and think about your next trip too. Even if your schedule/budget doesn’t allow it to happen for a while, start thinking about what kind of trip would make you happy, excited, enlightened or relaxed.
It’s crucial to remember that you are, and will continue to be, an interesting person that does interesting things, even if at the current juncture you are just another cog in the in Kenyan clean cookstove industrial complex.
Step 4: Gratuitous Gratitude
Above all else, take a moment or five to remember how #blessed you are. You went on a dream vacation! That’s great. You spent time with people that you love and that love you! Even better. You have a job to return to, and plans to look forward to! What’s better than that? Your life rocks hard, take stock of the good stuff.
Step 5: Write a Cathartic Blog Post About Your Feelings
Happy days and happy travels!
Lil’ Anna in the big savannah