7 Ways to Cope with Post-Travel Depression 

My sister drops me off at the airport. I give her a big hug goodbye and walk inside the Phonix airport. It hits me as I hand the TSA agent my ID.

I hate coming home from a trip.

I spent the last five days hiking in Arizona. The return of a trip leaves an uneasy feeling in the gut. I get so bummed out after coming back from an incredible travel experience.

The trip was perfect, but now back to reality.

Anxiety mixed with post-travel depression creep in. The return of a trip leaves an uneasy feeling in the gut. I spent the last five days hiking in Arizona. The trip was perfect, but now back to reality.

As much as I love my home, friends, and job, I don’t want to return to Chicago. After the best five days of hiking and seeing the Grand Canyon, returning to my everyday life seems dull and disappointing. Can’t I vacation all year round?

It doesn’t help when I arrive home in Chicago, it’s -14 degrees. Outside and the road is covered with snow. I was hiking in shorts this morning and am heading home toward icy winter weather.

It’s nearly 2 am when I pull into the driveway at home. Exhausted, I crash into bed, dreading that I have work at 9 am the following morning.

Thankfully, I am working from home. I wake up at 8:50, have the coffee brewing at 8:55, and start work promptly at 9:02. The coffee is hot. I read emails and catch up on tasks from the days I missed, and daydream about hiking in Scottsdale again.

Life feels drab.

Should I move, quit my job to live on a yacht, or dye my hair? I realize that I have felt this before. Post-travel depression is a real thing. I get so bummed out every time I return from an incredible trip; I wasn’t ready to leave. While traveling, time goes by slowly because everything is new and exciting. Then I go back to my everyday life, and it all feels depressing.

Coming down from an exciting trip is terrible, but I have found several ways of coping with my daily life to combat post-travel depression.

Relive the memories 

Go through pictures of the trip, write in your travel journal, or talk to a friend about your trip. Talking about your experience can help you relive it and remember why you loved it. I share photos of my journey with my parents, and they listen to every detail.

Stay out of the office the first day

Although I love my job, jumping back into work can be stressful. Even if that means you work from home the first day, don’t jump back into your routine if you have to. It’s easy on vacation to want to spend all your time exploring new places, but scheduling a rest day after the holiday will help you get back into everyday life.

Go out with friends 

The downside of traveling is missing your friends and family. Odds are they are itching to hear about how your trip too. Plan a catch-up date with your friends over coffee, drinks, or even a walk.

Clean and do laundry

The one thing I hate about traveling is dirty clothes. It’s gross. Sometimes on a more extended trip, I have to re-wear dirty clothes or hand wash them in the sink. This trip, after hiking knee-deep in the snow. I had a pile of wet soaks I couldn’t wait to get out of my suitcase and in the wash. Coming home, cleaning, and doing laundry can feel like a fresh start after a long journey.

Self Care 

Traveling is fun but exhausting. I don’t take care of my hair, skin, or body as I do at home. Do a face mask, take a hot bath, and relax with a novel you have been meaning to read. Take this time to pamper yourself, drink a green smoothie, go on a job, or eliminate a few breakouts you got while away from your skincare routine.

Explore new places in your town

There are ways to experience newness without hopping on a flight. Stay in that traveling mindset by exploring your town. Try the new restaurant, visit a museum, or drive a couple of hours to a new hiking spot. Finding a way to make your hometown seem new will give you the same excitement as traveling.

Start planning a new trip

Pretty soon after I got home from my trip, I started Googling flights to Paris. Planning a new journey is a great way to release the sadness you get after a trip has ended. You don’t have to get rid of the urge to travel. While your last trip is over, the next trip is right around the corner. Start planning now.

Not every part of life can be one grand adventure, but another experience is always out there. I am ready to book my next flight. Try to cope with post-travel depression until your next trip.

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