Even the thought of flying home from a blissful holiday is enough to dull your mood. After days spent relaxing in the sun, seeing breath-taking sights and indulging your sense of adventure, returning to normality can seem near impossible. Luckily, there are things you can do to bring your holiday home and prolong those feelings of freshness.
Get your vitamin D
If your family’s been taking it easy on the sparkling Italian coast or an exotic Caribbean island, touching down in gloomy English weather can literally be a shock to the system.
Our ‘Your Body on Holiday’ report highlighted the fact that sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a chemical that helps to lower our blood pressure, boost immunity and heighten our mood. But the changeable weather back home needn’t dampen your spirits, as we only need around 3 – 15 minutes of UVR exposure, two to three times a week, to boost our vitamin D levels. Why not spend your lunch break outdoors, go for a morning run or a walk before dinner?
If you’re really struggling to get your daily dose of sunlight, however, you could always invest in an SAD lamp. These lamps act like natural alarm clocks, gradually waking you up with varying degrees of light around the time of your usual blaring alarm, to help you feel more rested.
Did you know that, once you return home from a trip, it can take just four weeks to lapse back into your pre-holiday frame of mind? Luckily, one of the best ways to lift your mood when you start feeling the post-holiday blues is also one of the easiest. All you need to do is get moving.
As well as boosting your mood, exercise gets you into the great outdoors and can help you grab that much-needed daily dose of vitamin D. Once your outside and away from potential stresses, you may find yourself slipping gently back into that feeling of travel-related tranquillity.
Regulate your sleeping pattern
Sleep tends to come more easily on holiday, and not simply because of sightseeing-related tiredness. Experts agree that increased exposure to sunlight can help to regulate our melatonin levels.
This hormone dictates our sleep patterns, peaking during darkness and easing off during daylight hours. This means that when you’re on foreign soil where, in many destinations, light levels are clearly defined between day and night, your body’s much less likely to get confused and make you feel groggy when it shouldn’t.
Since you’re more likely to walk under gloomy clouds than a bright blue sky here in the UK, the best way to try and replicate this melatonin-friendly atmosphere is by regulating your sleeping pattern. Set a sleeping and waking time you can stick to each day and slip into a routine, limiting your use of bright screens in the evening.
Try something new
For many travellers, a holiday means the chance to revel in a host of new and different experiences. And whether these experiences involve sampling the tantalisingly spiced cuisine of Africa, walking the captivating landscapes of Asia or experiencing an adrenaline rush in the Alps, they can all light up the reward centre of your brain. This, in turn, releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of enjoyment.
So, why not keep the adventure going back home? There are plenty of new things to experience back on home soil, from rock climbing to wine tasting. Scheduling in something different to look forward to can be a real mood-booster.
Relive your trip
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may still find yourself pining for your recent piece of paradise. When this is the case, all that’s left to do is relive your holiday of a lifetime.
Sit back, relax and pull on those memories. Imagine you’re still led on a pristine beach with the water lapping at your feet, or remind yourself of your favourite dish from the trip, vowing to recreate it yourself. Chat to your loved ones about your favourite memories and scroll through your holiday snaps together. Bringing your trip back to life is a great way to keep the blues at bay.
Book your next break
Did you know that studies have shown that taking regular trips can be beneficial for both our physical and psychological health?
The beneficial chemical processes and feelings of relaxation we experience while away could actually help reduce heart disease, speed up recovery and reduce feelings of stress. Plus, taking your holidays can regulate your work-life balance, making the process of returning to work after a break much more manageable.
What more excuse do you need to book your next escape?