Your Ultimate Guide for Coping with Post-Adventure BluesAugust 2, 2019
-Words by Dhwani Anand of VentureSeekr-
There can be a multitude of reasons as to why we feel depressed after an adventurous vacation. In a nutshell, we feel the blues because we start comparing our life at home with our recent trip or adventure. This transition from the freedom that we have in our adventurous vacations to the usual everyday routines of our regular life can be tough and hard-hitting. The spontaneity and liberty of having no fixed plans that you get while travelling is part of what makes the experience so enjoyable. The excitement of the unexpected is what keeps the curiosity within you alive. The more we start comparing the details, the more upset we become and these contrasts can further enhance our anxieties. This happens more especially when we have stayed abroad for a longer period of time. Returned travellers with extreme sadness or nostalgia often begin to compare the food, culture, daily rituals, and lifestyle on the whole to their hometown or place of residence once they arrive back home. This is also known as reverse culture shock, which is the opposite of culture shock wherein readjusting back to your hometown takes time. Having experienced an adventurous journey overseas for a long period opens you up to a world of new possibilities, making adapting back to your home culture and lifestyle a lot more difficult. Another cause of your post-travel sadness can be knowing how much you have spent in the trip. Those long bills from all the shopping and travel expenses can certainly give you a financial shock, especially if most of your payments were made by your credit card, as that further increases the financial burden post your trip.
Several signs can indicate that you are experiencing post-travel blues. Below are some of the common symptoms that you would encounter post an adventurous trip, however bare in mind if these symptoms last longer than a week, as it could be something serious to consider.
- Inconsistent Hours of Sleep: The sadness post a fun and adventurous trip can disrupt your sleeping patterns. You may experience long hours of sleep or suffer from insomnia, having a tough time getting an adequate amount of sleep. Research also says that those who are extremely sad or depressed tend to sleep more than those who aren’t. With little to no sleep, your body will feel tired and your head heavy, which could lead to several other health problems.
- Sudden Change in Appetite or Weight: With greater anxiety comes loss of appetite. Extreme sadness or depression can cause you to lose interest in usual activities like eating. The heavy feeling of grief and vacation sickness can lead to loss of hunger or overeating. Eating is considered to be an instant mood lifter that can make one happy and emotionally stable. This can cause you to eat more and unhealthy food but it is a form of temporary pleasure, and would not be the best way to get yourself out of the blue feeling in the long-run.
- Lack of Concentration: As mentioned earlier, people with extreme sadness or depression often tend to lose interest in everyday activities. Your mind that is still on vacation mode busy reflecting back on all the fun and beautiful memories from the trip, has trouble concentrating on daily responsibilities and settling back to normality. Concentrating on your daily responsibilities becomes a challenging task and you are trying your best to get out of the vacay mode, and move on, taking away all the positives from the trip.
- Constant Mood Swings: This is an obvious symptom that anybody experiencing post-travel blues would encounter. The fact that your adventure is now over is hard to accept and with your mind constantly juggling between the 2 different worlds, it can be mentally exhausting for you to remain emotionally stable. With a host of different emotions spurring within you, it is normal for you to feel happy, sad, depressed, angry, and irritable all at once.
- Fatigue: Yes, it is normal for you to feel super tired post-travel. Prolonged hours of sitting, standing or walking can all cause us to experience travel fatigue. Moreover, the jet lag you get when travelling to countries with different time zones further disrupts your body clock which makes adjusting back to your regular life even more difficult. On top of that, if you experience post-travel blues, you are bound to feel anxious, low or upset most of the time which can further cause you to become fatigued and lethargic.
- Increased Desire to be Alone: As you begin to compare your home with the host cultures, you start criticising how things are done at home. The more you compare, the more you tend to avoid interacting with your friends, family, and the locals because you feel that they don’t get you anymore. Everything seems to be unfitting, and you simply don’t feel like engaging with your home culture with the genuinity that you used to before. Eventually, you may begin to believe that life will never be as exciting as it was overseas and your desire to be alone gradually increases.
At the end of the day, it is totally normal to experience these symptoms and feel this way after coming back home from a memorable trip trying to adjust back to your daily routine, while your mind is still reminiscing at the beautiful view from the hike or the delicious food that you indulged upon. Whether it is a matter of concern depends on the duration and severity of the symptoms. It usually takes from a few days to a week to settle back to your normal life, but in extreme cases it can last for several weeks for the mood to fully wear off.
Now that you know all about the blues, why you experience it and its symptoms, how can you cope with this feeling? Accepting your new reality is part of getting over the post-travel blues. There are several other things that you can do to make the transition easier. Here are some ways through which you can narrow the gap between your thrilling adventures and your everyday life, so you don’t feel adventure has ever left you.
- Give yourself some time: Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Be realistic. Give yourself a week or two to get back to reality before you make any decision out of anxiety. Like other low phases in your life, this shall pass too. Know that anything that starts has an end as well, and treat post-travel withdrawals as part of the travelling process.
- Allow time for a good night's sleep: With all the travel and jet lag from your latest adventure, your body must be very tired and drained out. Make sure to give your body enough rest. Try to arrive back earlier in the day so that you can get some time to readjust your body clock to the new timezone and get a good night's sleep so that you feel well rested the next day. Sleeping in the airline is good to catch up on some sleep in the midst of all the travelling but it surely isn’t the most comforting and relaxing experience. So, try not to get a flight that arrives you back very late in the night.
- Reflect on the memories: Share your trip with your family, friends, or anyone who would be willing to listen about your adventure in great detail. They may not care and resonate with you as much but this will definitely help you relive the memories. Also, check out on all the photos and videos from the trip. I’m sure you have loads of them! Pictures are a great way to transport you back to that place. This is why you take a lot of pictures and videos in the first place. With all the memories being refreshed, you will surely feel like you have revisited the place, and adventure will always stay by your side no matter where you are. Oh and of course, don’t forget to post your favourite Instagram worthy pictures to share your adventures with the rest of the world. Don’t have an Instagram worthy picture or couldn’t capture many due to environmental constraints? Well, with Catalyst’s Impact and Waterproof Cases you can now “Adventure-Proof” your device. It’s high quality performance impact and waterproof cases fully seal your device against dust, dirt, and other debris, allowing you to get that perfect picture in all kinds of environments. Catalyst cases are designed to give you the confidence to take and use your device anywhere. Design features such as non-slip rubber surface, signature rotating mute switch, sensitive touchscreen and TouchID, quickly accessible ports, ease of installation and included wrist lanyard make it the perfect case for everyday use as well as all for all your wildest adventures.
- Practice what you learned: Every trip teaches you something. Take back what you have learned and apply it to your daily life back at home. Learned a new language? Continue practicing it at home by conversing in that language if you have someone you know who speaks the same language in your home country or read local news, and watch a movie in the target language. Likewise, there can be a host of other skills that you may learn along the course of your trip which shall be useful for lifelong.
- Talk to your travel mates and stay connected: One of the best ways to get over post-travel blues is to be around other people. Isolating yourself can amplify your post travel blues, so get out there and reconnect with your old friends. Also, connect back to your travel mates, share your experiences, laughter, and stay in touch to make more memories in the future.
- If you can’t be there, read about it: If you can’t be adventuring, reading may be the next best thing. Grab a hiking magazine, read a camping forum, or check out nail trails that you would want to do in the future.
- Infuse adventure in your everyday life: Just because your trip is over, and you are no longer surrounded by the delicious food, or the beautiful landscapes back at home doesn’t mean you cannot live an adventurous life anymore. Find places that serve similar food. Spend a day at the beach, or hike a trail in your home city. Get out there! There’s always so much more than you ever thought there was. You can also bring adventure home, by trying out new things aside from your usual boring routine. You probably got really good at getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things when you were abroad, so use those skills to get psyched about something in your home country. Join a community of your interest or volunteer and give back to the society.
- Buy yourself a new piece of gear or gadget: Sometimes a retail therapy is all that you need. Prep up for your next adventure by buying a new outdoor gear, gadget or accessory for yourself. This purchase shall surely keep you pumped up for your next adventure! Catalyst’s wide range of Impact and Waterproof cases including iPhone, Samsung, AirPods, Apple Watch, and iPad cases give your device the complete protection without sacrificing on functionality, making it the most rugged, must-have accessory for outdoor enthusiasts to use everyday.
- Plan your next trip soon: Yes, the best and more obvious way to get over your post-travel blues is to plan your next trip asap. It doesn’t need to be a big excursion, even an overnight or a day hike can be an exciting distraction for your post-trip sadness. The excitement about your next trip or adventure shall surely help you remain pumped up and energized, letting the blues from your last trip fade over gradually.
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