How to cure your “Holiday Hangover”
So, it has happened. Your colourful holiday has come to an end, and you find yourself sitting at home wondering if it was this dreary and drab when you left. The last grains of sand have been shaken out of your sneakers. The gentle waves in your hair are all that left of the intricate braids. You find yourself staring at the paint under your fingernails – remembering the fun you had in Vic Falls – meeting an African elephant and painted the scene on canvas, and if it is acceptable to keep it as a memento (it’s not). In this moment, you are experiencing the post-vacation blues, or a “holiday hangover”.
Here are a few of the symptoms:
· You close your eyes in the bathtub and then violently thrash around, pretending to be rafting the Zambezi and impressing everyone with your mad skills.
· You cautiously approach the house cat you have had for years, offering her your hand to smell and staring at her with saucepan eyes, then telling her she is a majestic creature (still seeing Sylvester, Cheetah Ambassador in your mind).
· You lather yourself in sunscreen before heading off to work, giving a knowing wink to your confused neighbour, as if they too are cautious of the blistering sun.
· You head into Starbucks for your morning latte and accidently ask for champagne and orange juice.
· When your friends come over for drinks, you put the speakers on, and “In the jungle” starts playing on repeat.
· You return home after work and experience genuine shock that your bed hasn’t been made, there is not mint on your pillow and your laundry is in the exact same position on the floor as when you left.
· You find yourself listening to the rumble of the Victoria Falls in utter awe of Mother Nature for a good half hour, before you realise that you are back home and are, in fact, revelling in the sound of traffic.
This is not a full list of the possible symptoms (please comment if there are any sever ones we may have missed out), but they can result in mood swings, wistful facial expressions, a wandering mind, and episodic odd glances from people passing by.
Fortunately, there is a natural, organic remedy that can help alleviate your holiday hangover (aside from a Bloody Mary).
Visit the people that would have missed you
Often when we travel, the experience is enriched by the diverse, intriguing and wonderful people we meet. Whether they are fellow travellers, or locals to the land, we bond with them over shared appreciation of the adventure, and intertwine them into our stories. However, the people back home will have missed you, and are a great audience for your tantalising tales, who are waiting and ready to “ooh” and “ah” in all the right places. You have the artistic freedom to explain the myriad of activities on offer in Victoria Falls or the best restaurants to visit… You are the hero of your own story, and a raptured audience awaits your tales.
Get back into a healthy routine
While on holiday it becomes easy to forget that grapes can be consumed in ways other than liquid form, and that tea and treats is not a necessary part of the day or diet. Getting back to yoga, Zumba, or aerobics classes and eating clean will revitalise you and make you feel good about being back, even is just for an hour or two.
Keep in touch!
Find your new friends on Facebook, read our blogs, and download travellers newsletters. This will not only keep you connected to the journey you have had and the lessons you have learned, it will also remind you that there are more people to meet, more places to see and more things to do on your next expedition.
Keep busy with travel related activities
Reach out to your high-school self and dig up your old scrap booking kit to make a collage of your adventure. This will make you closely examine the different colours in each picture and remember the thoughts you had when it was taken. Take a leisurely stroll back in time, and then artistically place these memories onto a page next to hand-written accounts and complementary colours. Another great activity would be to create a vision board of what you would like your next holiday to look be. Fill it with brochures you collected, pictures you found online, and your own dream locations.
Keep newfound passions alive
Being in a new place offers people the unique opportunity to try on different identities without feeling judged, or as though they are tainting an image that they spent years creating. For example, a successful CEO may realise that being encompassed by so much natural beauty spoke to the poet inside him, and thus wrote exquisite poems on his travels. The grouchy teen may realise that they love all things green and growing, and start a vegetable garden upon their return. If watching the setting sun was the favourite part of your day on holiday, then do it whilst you are at home. It is the same sun, after all.
Treat your hometown as a tourist would
Your next great adventure may not be as geographically distant as you might assume. Often, there are dozens of awe-inspiring places to visit in our own hometowns, that get overlooked by our wondering souls. Turn to TripAdvisor and have a look at the exciting times visitors to your country are having. Restaurants they are loving and landmarks they are appreciating. Having a special place to visit that is not far from your back door will remind you that coming home isn’t so bad. Start to explore your immediate world, you might be surprised by what you find.
Start planning your next trip
And most importantly, start planning your next trip! Make a saving jar, reminisce with the people you travelled with, keep an eye open for season specials. All travellers have a contagious and insatiable sense of curiosity. We share the burning need to leave our footprints dotted over the globe. Start thinking about your next trip, dream of travelling and exploring the world, and you won’t be blue for long. The time will come when you can chase the sun again.
An important thing to remember when that holiday hangover starts to pull you down is this: You have travelled to a patch of earth so magnificent, that it has tattooed a memory of itself onto your heart and mind. You are indescribably fortunate. You feel sad, because for such a long time, you were incredibly happy. Things seem dull, because for so long you have been exhilarated. You have seen different colours, tasted exotic food, breathed sweeter air. And you will do it again. If you are a traveller that has discovered the magic of Africa, then you are a lucky one.