The long-awaited holidays during the year are over or are coming to an end. We explored, ate, slept, we were outdoors and we had fun, in short, we spent some very pleasant moments. However, we begin to feel great anxiety that increases as we resume everyday life, juggling work, family and daily chores. This anxiety takes away a lot of energy and the risk is to quickly lose the effects of the holiday. So what can we do to counteract the well known post vacation blues? Let's find out on the basis of scientific research.
More relaxing and less adventurous holidays
If you immediately start feeling sad and anxious after returning from your holiday, one of the causes could be the holiday itself. Of course, everyone likes planning an adventurous holiday but there is a detail to consider. One study found that regardless of the length of the vacation, if it was particularly relaxing then the feeling of joy experienced during those days lasts for a long time. On the other hand, in the case of more demanding holidays, with continuous excursions, programs and activities, the joy passes immediately once you return to everyday life. In short, if your problem is that you immediately feel tired and devoid of joy, try to give yourself, for the next time, a truly relaxing holiday, in which you leave home schedules and commitments, maybe even just for a few days, for a weekend, in order to really recharge the batteries (Nawijin, Appl Res Qual Life, 2010).
A help from the diet against the stress of returning
During the holidays we may have made several dietary deviations from the rule. The return is therefore certainly the right opportunity to resume a healthy, varied and balanced diet, based on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and dried fruit, the cornerstones of the Mediterranean Diet. Did you know that studies have made it possible to observe that the more you follow the Mediterranean diet, the lower the risk of developing stress, depression and anxiety (Sadeghi et al, Nutr Neurosci, 2021)? Then, do not miss the almonds, excellent to eat whole as a healthy snack in the middle of the morning. In fact, almonds have been shown to improve the body's response to stress and make the heart more resilient (Dikariyanto et al, Curr Dev Nutr, 2020).
Be more outdoors
Often the change of life after returning from vacation is really relevant, since we can go from whole days spent outdoors to others in which we close ourselves at home or in the office. On the other hand, it is important to maintain the habit of taking walks in the open air, perhaps in a park or, if you live near a forest, in nature. In fact, more and more scientific studies show the benefits of a walk in nature, capable of relieving psychological and physical stress (Ewert et al, Behav Sci, 2018). And then, since stress and anxiety weaken the immune system, being among trees, like when we walk through a forest, strengthens our natural defenses. In fact, in this way we can breathe the volatile substances released by trees, called phytoncides, which are antimicrobial compounds capable of improving and supporting our immune system, increasing the activity of natural killer cells, which are cells of the immune system that play a key role in the fight against viruses and tumors (Li et al, Environ Health Prev Med, 2010).
Meditation to improve mood
Yoga and meditation techniques, aimed at shifting attention into the here and now and letting obsessive thoughts flow without blocking them, have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, even in people who perform demanding jobs such as in the hospital (La Torre et al, J Clin Med, 2020). In the Yoga section of the App you can find videos of yoga sequences designed specifically to counteract stress and anxiety, while in the Meditation section, small guided meditations are ready for you to find calm and serenity.
Herbal medicine against post vacation blues
Even herbal medicine takes the field to chase away anxieties and fears and restore serenity and well-being. An example? Why not try a cup of lemon verbena infusion, scientific name Aloysia citrodora. The lemon verbena leaves, left to infuse in water, showed an important anxiolytic and muscle relaxant effect! Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a tablespoon of dried herb, leave to infuse for ten minutes then filter and drink (Razavi et al, Avicenna J Phytomed, 2017). Verbena also helps you sleep better by lengthening the deep sleep phase (Martinez Rodriguez et al, Nutrients, 2022).