Buvette Masthead

Beat the post-holiday blues

Heather Wallace

After time travelling around, seeing new places and living every moment, it’s not easy coming back to normality.

At first it’s exciting just to sleep in your own bed, but the gloss of home fades quickly in the face of bills and life’s routine. It’s not long before you hear yourself wailing, “I feel like I’ve never been away!”

I’m certainly no stranger to the post-holiday blues, the worst bout lasted six months. It was after I’d spent a year working and travelling in the UK; coming back to Canberra in winter, I started working in a new job almost immediately and missed the freedom I’d had. Friday evenings would come round and I’d get depressed, musing on all the amazing places in Europe I could have been spending the weekend, and think bitterly “Great, I could go to Wagga…”

It has given me a chance though to reflect and come up with some ways to beat those nasty blues…

Build in some time at home

When you’re first planning a holiday, your only thought is to spend as much time as possible at your destination. Try to resist that temptation, it’s worth allocating a couple of days at home before you go back to work. There is nothing worse than being exhausted from a long flight and walking straight back into work. Usually you’ll find all those things you left behind are still there waiting for you, plus a couple of unpleasant surprises colleagues have put on hold for you to sort out.

So if you have the leave available, build in a couple of days at home. It gives you time to get over jet lag, do your laundry and adjust to being home. Take naps, go to the movies, read a book, go out for coffee, go for a walk or do absolutely nothing at all. It’s just as much part of your holiday as being in an exciting location.

Plan your next holiday

I have a good friend whose maxim is “the best time to plan a holiday is while you’re already on one.”

Lying on a beach is a great time to reflect that a trip to the mountains would be fun. Planning a holiday when you’re already relaxed means you have time to find the best deals and not make a snap decision out of desperation to get away. And you have something to look forward to when the holiday you’re on comes to an end.

Have something to look forward to

If lack of money or time is stopping you planning another trip, have something else to look forward to. Go to a show, have dinner with friends who want to hear about your holiday, or even get a bit of body pampering like a massage.  Make it for when you come home and do something else in a couple of weeks when reality has really started to seep in.

Play tourist in your own city

Everywhere seems interesting when you’re travelling. Even going to a supermarket in a foreign city is an adventure in itself. It’s hard for home to compare with experiences of new things and places.

Coming home with travel-eyes though is a great way to explore your hometown anew. Try and see it as you saw those places you’ve visited, do something you normally wouldn’t: ride the bus going around the lake foreshore, visit CMAG, hop on a Segway, go for a walk in a park on the other side of town.

Even though I’ve only been away four weeks, so many new restaurants, café and bars have popped up that I can eat my way around town for weeks without repeating myself.

There is so much to do, don’t wait for interstate visitors to come to town, play tourist for yourself!

Come home to a clean house

This one might be evident to most people, but it’s a lesson I learnt the hard way: coming home from a long weekend…and realising I hadn’t emptied the garbage bin with the remains of a fish dish I’d had before I left. The stench!

Since then I make sure I do a tidy up around the house and empty the bin before I go away, so a (fairly) clean home welcomes me on my arrival home. And it is lovely being able to slide into bed between clean sheets when you’ve just had a 24-hour flight. I can barely work out fitted sheets when my brain IS working, let alone when I’m in a jet lag induced zombie state.

Be the person you were on holidays

I am at my best when I travel. I am curious, positive and excited and present in the moment. I talk to people around me, chat to diners at tables next to me in restaurants, find out their stories and share a bit of myself. I love that feeling and I want it to continue even when I’m preoccupied at work or tired after a busy week. That’s the best way to sustain the joy travel has brought me.

Others might find that the most important thing was relaxing, turning off contact with the world, not planning things too much, not having to hurry the kids. Whatever made you the happiest on your holiday, try and recapture a bit in your everyday life. Turn the phone off for the weekend, cut back on after school activities or just hang out with the kids.



Heather Wallace

Heather’s career in arts and heritage PR spans 15 years, with highlights including working for Sean Connery at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and promoting Australia’s World Heritage places. Her blog, Myths and Misadventures, (http://mythsandmisadventures.blogspot.com.au/), is about life lessons we can learn from the Romans. You can follow her on Twitter @Missmythology. More about the Author

  • Belladonna

    We’re sooooo glad you’re back, Heather! These are fantastic tips. I especially like ‘Play tourist in your own city’ and ‘Be the person you were on holidays’. I usually find them the hardest, most challenging things to do/be after an exciting adventure away, because it’s just so easy to go back to the normal humdrum routines of life pre-holiday.


    Don’t knock poor old Wagga, though. When you live in a town of 2800 people and no decent clothes shops then even shopping in Wagga can get you excited!! The Country Sister.

    • Amanda Whitley

      Wagga was our once-a-month roadtrip when I was growing up in Tarcutta (300 people). We must have looked quite strange dressed up in our best clothes to ‘go to town’amongst all the other locals.

      But Heather’s from Binya, so she probably understands 🙂

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