“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Perhaps this is one reason why returning from a vacation or a long voyage abroad brings a sense of post travel sadness. When removed from your ‘normal’ everyday life to set off on a journey somewhere new, it brings a sense of peace to your inner soul. You also tend to see things differently and appreciate the world from a new perspective. The unique experiences become a part of your heart forever.
FEELING THE BLUES
Post travel blues is a really interesting topic and something most don’t discuss. Perhaps it relates to those who have been on an extended journey around the world and had to live minimally out of a bag from remote locations. It could also relate to an extended weekend or a week’s get-a-way with family or friends for a vacation to a beach, the mountains, or even a cruise. When you think back to all the pre-planning and excitement to come … in a blink of an eye, it’s over.
Regardless of a short getaway or an extensive trip, returning to your ‘normal’ life again can be tough! You almost need another vacation for recovery! The point is, time away teaches many lessons on life and yourself, which is bittersweet. How you deal with adapting back into reality and integrate the lessons learned post travels is what matters.
POST TRAVEL DEPRESSION (PTD)
Post travel blues does exist and can affect everyone. It’s a feeling of depression or anxious mood that holiday makers often experience towards the end of a trip or once you’ve returned home. Post travel depression can affect your mental well-being by feeling dissatisfied with your life, returning to your reality, and can produce tears. It can last for several weeks or months unless you understand the indicators, learn ways to cope, and move beyond the symptoms.
CAUSES OF THE BLUES
There are a multitude of reasons why we feel depressed after a vacation. Travel is beneficial to our health in so many ways. It’s a time to escape from the everyday norm to rest, relax, enjoy, explore, laugh… this list is long. However, there are valid reasons for feeling the blues when returning and reasons why it’s so hard to adjust back into your normal way of life. One main reason this occurs is because travel is transformative.
Here are some post travel depression symptoms you may experience:
- Sadness: saying goodbye to people, places, and things you enjoyed
- Exhaustion: constantly being on the go to see, do, and experience
- Lack of motivation: not sure where or how to start reality again
- Nostalgia: knowing you cannot return to the past and it’s a once in a lifetime memory
- Resigned: returning to a routine and picking up where you left off
- Reverse culture shock: getting used to home again
- Financial shocker: paying all the bills and extra expenses
- Where to now: Immediate response to plan the next trip
These symptoms of depression can also include the following feelings of anxiety, irritability, mood swings, headaches, over or under sleeping, inability to concentrate, increased desire to be alone, feeling ‘stuck’ and loss in interest in things you usually enjoy. It takes time to settle in when you get on vacation and will also take time to unwind when you return.
For those of you who don’t know, I LOVE traveling and exploring the world. It’s one of my passions in life along with fitness. It fuels my soul with love for life and teaches me so many valuable worldly lessons. I never knew there was an actual condition of travel depression until I went through it too. I first had to understand what was creating this sadness and then learn how to cope with why I felt so down from returning from a magical high.
Post travel depression is a feeling that not all can relate with nor is it something you can easily explain to others, especially if they are not regular travel goers. For example, have you ever wanted to share an experience with someone and in mid story, they change the subject as if you were done telling your tale?? You may feel the ‘lack of interest’ vibe so you end up keeping it all to yourself. It’s best to share travel stories with other like-minded travelers who can relate.
If you have ever felt this feeling and didn’t understand why you were so low after such a high, know you are not alone and there are ways to keep your spirits uplifted.
PREVENT THE ‘SLUMP’
Luckily, I have discovered a few things that have helped me recover from returning home from a trip and ways to prevent a post-adventure slump. Here are a few ways that have helped me stay positive and active in my mind, body, and spirit. Hopefully these will help you too.
Prepare for the Blues
This may sound like such a total downer, but you may feel worse once you’re home from vacation. The time away passes so quickly and then it’s back to everyday reality again. Just the mere thought of returning home may cause anxiety or sadness. Therefore, if you prepare for it and know you may feel a bit blue, it will be easier to cope once you are home.
Journal Each Day
Journal daily to keep the memories fresh. You may think you will never forget, but it’s the little moments that refresh your memory of the experience that took place in time. The sites, scenery, foods, activities, new cultures, people, laughs, cries, and ah-ha moments become your story. Keep it fresh in your mind so you can look back and remember the details.
Make a List & Keep Adding to it
Take time to come up with a concrete list of things you want to accomplish when you return home. It could be simple to-do’s or activities you want to achieve. When in a different environment, it’s easier to focus on what matters most in your everyday life. Making a list can keep you accountable to stay on task when you return home. Be sure to continually add to this list to keep evolving.
Movement lifts the spirits, releases endorphins, and creates a natural high. Most people are more active on vacation. When you return home, make an extra effort to stay active and keep the adrenaline pumping. Walking around the block may not be the same as walking on a beach, but… it’s movement and this will combat sadness by keeping your mind and body in motion.
Be grateful for what you experienced and reflect on those moments anytime you start to feel down.
TOTAL GYM DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY WORKOUT
Upon returning from your travels, get right back on your fitness routine. It will help clear your mind and keep your body in motion. Use this workout time to reflect on what you want to accomplish for yourself, make a plan, and get back into life’s action!
I’ve created a unique series of dynamic stretches that actively stretch your muscles through different ranges of motion. These stretches can be performed in a flowing sequence on your Total Gym to combat post travel sadness. It’s relaxing yet dynamic. It’s effective for your muscles to stay limber and it will set you up for success for the activities you love most.
Perform these stretches in a dynamic series to lengthen and recover tight muscles.
- Hold each stretch for at least 10- 30 seconds OR dynamically move through the stretch to feel a different sensation where the muscle(s) are tight by moving the glide board or your body
- Move slowly with supporting muscular control and stability through each stretch. We all have different flexibility strengths and limitations. So, honor them!
- Turn on your favorite tunes and flow with your breath into the stretches!
- Repeat the sequence as many times as you’d
Seated Chest/ Shoulder/ Torso Opener
- Sit straddling the glide board and facing away from the tower with the cables in each
- Open the arms to each side and keep the torso elongated as you hinge forward to open the shoulders, chest, and
- Hinge forward and slightly arch the back to feel a different angle of the
Gliding Figure 4
- Lye supine with both feet on the squat stand and the glide board
- Bend one knee and place the ankle onto the supporting thigh to form a “figure 4”.
- With control, slowly lower the glide board into the stretch and dynamically rotate the lower body into different angles to open up the hip where your body needs it
- From the Figure 4 stretch above, the lifted leg will twist across the
- Shift the hips to one side of the glide board and hold on that side with one hand to brace your
- Gently press the lifted knee down with the opposite hand to feel the stretch in the leg, hip, and
- Dynamically roll into different angles to feel the stretch where you need it
Dynamic Runners Lunge
- Face away from the tower and stand at the bottom
- Place the hands on the top of the squat stand and the inside leg into a kneeling lunge on the glide board. (The supporting leg in line with the )
- Keep the hips square to the front and press the glide board open with straight arms to feel the hip flexor and quad stretch. (This is a kneeling lunge )
- Gently the glide board up and down the rails to feel the stretch where you need it
- Option: bend the kneeling knee and grab at the ankle to feel a quad
- Dynamically move through different ranges of motion to feel the stretch in tight
REMOVE SQUAT STAND
Dynamic Inner Thigh
- Stand at the bottom base positioned to the
- Place one foot on the glide board and lower into a lateral lunge keeping both feet facing the (The supporting legs is bent to 90 degrees and the leg on the glide board is straight.)
- Place the hands inside the leg on the floor for support. (Use a lifted object such as a yoga block or stool to accommodate )
- Slowly open the glide board to feel the inner thigh and groin
- While in the the stretch, dynamically roll the leg through various ranges of motion to achieve different flexibility
Check out the video to see how these dynamic stretches are performed on your Total Gym.
Take in all that you learn from your travels and about yourself, then apply your wisdom in all that you do. It’s the actions you take to progress your knowledge and skills that ultimately matter.
Sending travel love,