Bouncing Back From Vacation

It’s been a couple of days since classes started back after Spring Break and I’m having a tough time getting back into the swing of things. This past Sunday night, I stared at my calendar, trying to will time to rewind, to go back to the beginning of Spring Break so I could have another week off.  I’m fighting off a case of the post-vacation blues. I know, I know, complaining about being able to take a vacation is a bit ridiculous. But, it’s tough getting back to my regular schedule and my motivation is low.Image

Some mental health professionals have actually put a name to this—Post Vacation Syndrome (PVS). For the first few weeks after returning to school or work, feelings of anxiety, difficulties with concentration, and lack of motivation are common.  It’s kind of like a severe case of the Mondays.  While an extended break can be fabulous, a 2010 study found that health and well-being of workers returned to pre-vacation levels within just one week of work.  Even if you did not actually go anywhere over Spring Break, readjusting your schedule can be tough and that relaxed mindset you had during break can quickly go out the window.

So, since we don’t yet have a time machine to do a vacation re-do, what can you do to shrug of the blues and make the most of the rest of the semester? Here are some tips to make the transition smooth:

  • Take care of your body. Break can sometimes mean a departure from your regular diet and exercise routine. As you return to campus, eat a healthy and balanced diet and increase your physical activity. It’ll help you feel better physically and get you back on track more quickly.
  • Keep reminders of your break around. Maybe its pictures of a trip or just a song you listened to a lot as you hung around the house. Take time to remind yourself about the great things about your break.  
  • Set some manageable goals for the week after break. Having specific goals you want to accomplish can make it easier to get motivated. But, make sure that you can actually get them done. There may be a lot of work piling up, but if you set smaller steps, you can chip away at it one piece at time and can feel more accomplished.
  • Take time each day to do something you enjoy. Connect with friends you did not see over the break. Talk on the phone to those you are missing from vacation. Spend 15 minutes reading for fun.  It can be easy to get pulled into the business of classes- but make sure you are able to do things that you enjoy for at least a portion of the day so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • It may be a little late for this one—but if you can, reserve a day between when you return from a trip and when you have to go back to class or work. Having one day to get errands done, send emails, pack your book bag, or just sleep can be really helpful.
  • Plan your next break! Whether it is a full out, week-long vacation during the summer or just a plan to connect with a friend over dinner Saturday night, plan something that you can look forward to. The anticipation is part of what make vacations great, so even if it is just a mini break from homework, having something on the books can lift your spirits.

Image from: Positive Sharing


Beck, M. (2011). The post Labor Day let-down. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

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