As all good things, holidays too must come to an end. The excitement of a trip quickly becomes a memory and we are left with the all too familiar feeling: the holiday blues
Ever since I can remember, I have always experienced the dreaded post-holiday blues the second a holiday ends. It is a perfectly normal sensation to go through - even as a kid returning from a classic 1990's holiday to Cornwall with my parents and siblings, and all our possessions packed inside the boot of a Ford Cortina Estate.
I distinctly remember the end of these trips leading to a very miserable me. I recall seeing the rusty, dirty 'Welcome To' sign to our dreary home town upon our return. A stark reality call that the holiday was over and school was edging closer.
Since becoming a father I have felt the blues gradually getting worse after every holiday. It now manifests in an overpowering, often uncontrollable sensation of worry and dread that our holiday is coming to an end and I'll be back amongst the daily grind of life.
Brain or Change?
The holiday blues are maybe a reminder to yourself that areas of your life away from the beach and holiday villas are in need of a change. A kind of new year's resolution type of feeling. Or maybe it is a natural response from the brain as it deals with being away from familiar surroundings.
Six of us (including the in-laws) have just returned home from a two-week trip to Florida. Incredible memories were made and a real sense of closeness as a family was re-established. After only a couple of days into the trip, my mind would suddenly find itself worrying about having only 12 days left. I was constantly thinking about time. Even on holiday. Why?
Final day Emotions
As the holiday progressed, so did my focus on the fact that it was coming to an end. The final day of a holiday is always an emotional rollercoaster for me. One minute you are down in the dumps and feeling miserable about going back to light drizzle and 17 degrees. And then within minutes you are reminiscing about how on day three your daughter ran out of the room when meeting Disney's Olaf. A very strange cocktail of emotions. Nothing new for me, just a little more intense as a father.
Little things like the blossoming relationship between my daughter and her aunty stuck with me when I returned home. They would sing songs together at the back of our hired car when on a journey. Very sweet. I didn't want those moments to end.
When I am safe and sound back inside my house and back into the thick of things, the blues never last longer than two days, but those two days are incredibly emotionally powerful. Your mind is on high alert and links in everyday objects, smells and sights with a memory of the holiday. A memory that may never happen again. It's as if you will never go on holiday again and you are mourning the death of your holiday.
A Brain at Work
When you think about it, on holiday you are suddenly spending all day every day with your child and partner as opposed to the daily grind of the breakfast rush, repetitive evening routines and the over-so-quick weekends. You are creating memories on an hourly basis. Every day. And your brain is responding to this.
Memories. That is what the holiday blues are all about. Memories. Memories of the moment your daughter waved at her favourite Disney characters during a parade. And moments. Moments that you are afraid will never happen again.
These thoughts and feelings are very short lived and a good way to calm them down is to plan a few exciting social occasions, or, better still - another holiday.
If you've yet to take your summer holiday - enjoy every minute of it. If your holiday, like mine is now a memory - it's time to start planning for another one!