As the days grow shorter and the air turns crisper, September often marks the return to routine after the carefree days of summer vacation.
I just finished a session with a client (to protect her privacy, let’s call her Sarah), who had just returned from a blissful two-week beach vacation with her family. The sunsets, laughter, and relaxation had been therapeutic. However, as September rolled in, so did the anxiety.
Her inbox was overflowing with work
emails, her children needed school supplies, and the thought of returning to her daily commute felt suffocating. The holiday had been a refreshing escape, but now Sarah was grappling with the post-holiday blues. For many of us, this transition can bring on a wave of post-holiday depression and anxiety. It's a phenomenon that affects people of all ages, from students reluctantly heading back to school to adults readjusting to the demands of work.
Understanding Post-Holiday Depression and Anxiety
1. Loss of Freedom: One of the primary reasons for post-holiday blues is the sudden shift from the freedom of vacation to the confines of a daily routine. During vacations, we often experience a sense of liberation from our usual responsibilities. Returning to work or school can feel like a harsh adjustment.
2. Nostalgia: Memories of the holidays, whether it's a family road trip, a tropical getaway, or even a staycation, can create a sense of nostalgia. The longing for those moments of joy and relaxation can lead to feelings of sadness.
3. Routine Shock: After a period of irregular schedules, returning to the rigidity of daily life can be challenging. It's like switching gears from cruising on a scenic highway to navigating a congested city street.
I first asked Sarah what about her day-to-day life makes her feel excited, energised and relaxed. I then suggested that she adds those activities to her agenda. Her face immediately lit up. Next, I asked her to reflect on her life and to reassess her goals. She reminded herself what was really important to her and why it was important.
Sarah decided to ease back into work by dedicating her first day to catch up on emails and setting clear priorities for the week. She incorporated mini breaks into her working days for breathing and mindfulness exercises to fight anxiety and sense of overwhelm. She also planned a weekend getaway with her family, ensuring they had something to look forward to.
Coping Strategies for Post-Holiday Depression and Anxiety
1. Ease into Routine: Instead of diving headfirst into your regular routine, give yourself a few days to transition. Start by organizing your workspace, setting achievable goals, and gradually increasing your workload.
2. Plan Mini Getaways: To combat the nostalgia, plan smaller getaways or day trips throughout the year. These can provide a sense of anticipation and break the monotony.
3. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises can help manage anxiety. Taking a few minutes each day to center yourself can make a significant difference.
4. Set Realistic Goals: If you're struggling with work-related anxiety, break your tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Celebrate each achievement, no matter how minor, to boost your confidence.
5. Stay Connected: Reach out to friends and family members who understand what you're going through. Sharing your feelings can provide emotional support and lessen the sense of isolation.
The post-holiday depression and anxiety that often accompany September's return to routine are entirely natural. By understanding the reasons behind these feelings and implementing practical strategies to cope, you can ease the transition and even find joy in the everyday. If you, however, feel like you need some extra help in finding ways to make your day-to-day life enjoyable, don't hesitate to reach out.
I write here hoping that my words will inspire you to find your answers within. My mission is to help you increase your self awareness, heal parts of you that need healing and realise your inner-power to create a life you love living.
Much love & support,