Just because summer vacation is over doesn't mean you have to stop having fun.
The end-of-summer blues didn't hit me until this past Monday morning, when I woke to iron-grey skies, pouring rain, and a temperature so low I had to turn on the furnace to take the edge off. That's when I fully understood that summer is over. Those two glorious months of sunshine and heat have come to an end, and even though they may reappear briefly throughout the fall, it's back to reality now.
Post-holiday letdown can be a real problem for many people. We enjoy so many pleasurable activities during vacation that the daily grind can feel demoralizing, discouraging, and depressing in comparison. There are ways to fight against that letdown and to preserve the feeling of joy that infuses the summer holidays. Some of the following suggestions come from a great article on this topic that I found in The Telegraph, as well as my own tips, learned from personal experience.
1. Reassess your routine.
September is the best time to establish a new daily routine. Analyze what you like and do not like about your current one, and take steps to make it more appealing. Use your holiday memories as inspiration. What was it about your time off that you loved most? Did you watch less TV or spend less time on social media? Be aware of these time-suckers and keep up the momentum in your daily life.
2. Take care of yourself.
Physical wellbeing begets mental wellbeing. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and nourishing your body. If you're feeling really down, indulge in a massage, facial, manicure, hair conditioning treatment, or other procedure that boosts your mood.
3. Be a tourist in your own town.
Try to see your hometown through fresh eyes. Search on Trip Advisor to see what there is to do in the area; you might be surprised at what you discover.
4. Schedule empty time.
Much of the holidays' appeal is in the chunks of open, unscheduled time, but there's no reason why you can't incorporate that into your everyday life. Commit to keeping several evenings a week wide open, or every Sunday. (I realize that scheduling 'unscheduled' time is an oxymoron, but it's unfortunately necessary in a busy life.) Protect those quiet times as you would any other commitment and revel in the hours of nothingness.
5. Choose your autumn reading.
Everyone gets excited about summer reading, but I find my reading really picks up in autumn, once kids are back to school and going to bed early. This is when I go back to ordering books from the online library catalogue and spending cool evenings on the porch with a book and a cup of tea. What's on my bedside table right now? "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah, "iGen" by Jean Twenge, and the old classic "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" by Thomas Hardy.
6. Get excited about your autumn wardrobe.
Who doesn't love autumn clothes? All those jeans, leather boots, cute jackets, and scarves? Embrace the look. Dress up in the mornings so you feel like a million bucks when you're walking down the street.
7. Make great food a focal point.
Divine meals don't exist only in vacation destinations; you can have them at home, too (although, admittedly, the setting does play a role in how food tastes). Put some extra effort into your meal prep and it will boost your mood. Shop the farmer's market, which is at its peak at this time of year. Get excited about the autumnal dinners you'll soon be able to prepare -- braises, stews, and soups with home-baked loaves of bread, apple crumble pies, and pans of roasted vegetables. Plan dinner parties to share the feast with friends.
8. Go outside.
Spending time outdoors is always an effective antidote to the blues. Make a plan to hike a new trail each weekend, have a picnic in a park, or just sit outside to eat your lunch each day. Soak in these last weeks of warm(ish) sunshine before the real cold hits.
9. Sign up for a new activity.
Push outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to something new. Try an art course, a musical instrument, a choir, a fitness or dance class, a knitting group, or cooking course. Not only will you develop a new skill, but you'll make new friends, and that's key to feeling happy, no matter where you are.
10. Plan your next vacation.
Having the next getaway on the calendar, no matter how far off, helps to recover from the post-holiday blues. It can also keep you on track with budgeting, if you know exactly what you're saving for. It gives you something to look forward to, perhaps another language to study, and sightseeing destinations to research.