Post-holiday blues and how our pets can help! 

During the annual long holiday like Songkran, many of us have packed our bags, leashes, and luggage to enjoy this season! Only once a year we can cherish this time together with our closest friends, loved ones, and furry companions! 

But once our holiday shades go back into their cases, the reality of our day-to-day lives can seem so mundane. The contrast between activities and the realization that returns once we get back on our daily routine can feel repetitive. Your tiredness might start to sound like “when is it gonna be my vacation again?!”

Post Holiday Blues 

Post-vacation blue or Post-Travel Depression is the feeling of sadness, sorrow, dread, loneliness, negativity, and disappointment that comes after a long holiday or vacation. This happens temporarily for 2-3 days up to 2 weeks after the break from reality. 

Causes of Post-holiday Blues 

If any of you have felt this way after an amazing time off from work, no matter what the occasion was, MyFriend would like to remind you that you’re not alone. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 64% of people experience Post-holiday blues. Although there is limited literature on this specific phenomenon, there are some super interesting findings and facts we can draw from the existing studies! Like the fact that the hormone Adrenaline decreases dramatically since the excitement of the change in environment is no longer there! It’s found to be one of the main causes of the Post-Holiday blues. During the holiday, we get a surge of adrenaline from the exciting things we get to do! Once that’s over, the uninspired feeling of ordinary life creeps in from the stark difference in circumstances. 

There’s also the Contrast Effect that affects our brains by comparing the differences between two scenarios – instead of judging them separately. In this case, we are comparing our holiday experience with our normal day-to-day job. Once we get back to our reality, clearing all the deadlines and crunching out reports suddenly seems so much more depressing compared to sipping margaritas on the beach while you’re sunbathing. 

Heal your heart with your furry friends

Although these symptoms and signs don’t last too long (if your low mood lasts longer than 1 month, please seek professional help for some further insight), be reminded that our pets can feel it! When we reminisce and hold a mini memorial in our heads about the good old days laying by the beach, our furry friends can sense our unhappiness. 

Dogs are sensitive creatures. Especially when it comes to a human’s emotions – let alone their favorite human! Our canine friends can distinguish between basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust through our tone of voice. No matter what language we speak, if we are happy when we speak, they can hear it in our voice! But the opposite is also true, if we are sad right after our wonderful holiday, then they can also sense it as well. 

Cats are also extremely sensitive and observant of their surroundings. If their favorite human is feeling a little under the weather or stressed, they know! They might not be super expressive about it, but they can sense it from our demeanor and our voice. They might try to console us in different ways, maybe by staring at us, sitting next to us, coming to ask for pets and cuddles, or even purring to try and relax us! 

Luckily our pets aren’t just good at detecting those Post-holiday Blues, but they also have these superpowers to make us feel better! Just from sitting next to each other, our brains produce love hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine because of their love! It’s not just our emotions that benefit from this, but our heart health is also positively impacted! Simple head pats and petting motions lower our heart rate, letting us feel calmer and more relaxed.

Activities to help emotional hurdles

If the funk that you’re in makes it hard to even function, it’s okay. You’re not alone and we have a small step-by-step guide to help you! These are just guidelines and ideas for inspiration to improve your mood, but remember: go at your own pace! Everyone has down days. 

  • Try to find time to incorporate fun activities! We know work can get busy and hectic, but fun things to do after work are an excuse to get your mind off repetitive tasks. Maybe taking your furry friends out to the park, dog-friendly malls, or even buying new ingredients to try out new menus in the kitchen can also be a great way to spice things up. 
  • Take care of yourself. Self-love is the best love! Get your 8 hours of beauty sleep, get your body moving, get good and nutritious food into your system, and make sure all your basic needs are met.
  • Take a breath. Slowly exhale, then inhale. Stressing about when to stop stressing will not get you anywhere. Everything takes time and perseverance – everything will be okay in no time!

*Depression after a long holiday should only last temporarily, if you don’t feel better after your trip for 1 – 2 months, and every time you think back, you only experience more sadness, please contact a professional.

Human emotions are not linear or constant. Once we experience various things, our emotions are bound to shift according to the circumstance and situation. The most important thing is being aware of our feelings and slowly healing ourselves with the help of our furry friends by our side! 

Longing for the next vacation is natural, but once it starts to have an effect on your day-to-day life, try out our little tips and pick up cute photos of your pet to help warm your heart! Once you get home from work, play fetch or take a walk together. Sooner than later, your next vacation will arrive! 

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