The post-holiday syndrome

What is the post-vacation syndrome?

Although it can really be said that this syndrome as such “does not exist”, practically all of us who return from vacation have it, even more so if you have small children or if the vacation has been quite short, since then the feeling of rest or disconnection from daily stress has not been enough.

The post-holiday syndrome, post-holiday stress or post-holiday depression, tries to describe those negative physiological and emotional symptoms that arise when people return from vacation and have to readapt to the work routine after a period with much more flexible schedules and more recreational activities.

What are the symptoms?

symptoms of this post-vacation syndrome are not different from the typical physical symptoms of anxiety: palpitations, difficulty in breathing, uncontrollable tremors, desire to cry, sweating… These symptoms are accompanied by a feeling of low mood, decay, lack of energy, feeling of boredom and feeling of not being able to adapt to the usual routine.

Who tends to present it to the greatest extent?

It is a syndrome that, above all, is presented by people who have had or have had problems at work, either mobbing (harassment at work), that their work does not present a special gratification, endless working hours or possible problems of dismissal (or the dreaded ERES), it goes without saying that the current economic situation has increased the cases of post-vacation syndrome.

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Another quite common group is that of parents with small children or people who have had dependents in their care during the vacations. Usually during the day, children and dependents are usually at school or in places where they are cared for. During the summer period, however, both children and dependents are cared for by these parents or caregivers who are already tired from their work period and during the vacations are subjected to significant stress, so that upon returning from vacation, the feeling of rest is practically minimal and facing a new work period becomes very uphill.

What is the most recommended treatment?

The post-holiday syndrome is not classified as a disorder and it is significantly rare that people who suffer from it have to go to therapy for these symptoms, however it is possible to prevent the appearance of this annoying symptomatology by following exercises such as those described below:

– Anticipate the return home in a programmed way and with time, not waiting “at the last minute” or “holding out on vacation as long as possible”. Gradual habituation is key.

– Regarding schedules and activities: it is important to maintain regular schedules, both during the day and at night. You can continue with healthy habits that you have been doing on vacation such as moderate exercise, walks, going to the pool if the weather is still good. It is also advisable to sleep as many hours as possible and gradually reduce them as the week progresses.

– As for the intensity of the work: start from less to more. Start with the simplest tasks or those that require less effort and gradually intensify. It is advisable to dedicate the first day to socializing with co-workers, so that the return is less intense. It is important during the first days or weeks, not to occupy the space dedicated to leisure or rest with more work.

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– It is advisable to perform relaxation exercises to prevent the onset of anxiety symptoms.