Beat the Post-Vacation Blues

By Melaina Juntti

After touring the Tuscan countryside with your sweetheart or camping with the kids, getting back to the everyday grind sounds less than appealing. Catching up on email at the office and tackling the piles of dirty beachwear at home can cause enough stress to wipe out the hard-earned rejuvenation you scored while away. These simple steps can help you beat the post-vacay blues and maintain that island-hopping ease even after you stash the suitcases.

Start easy. Knocking the simple stuff off your to-do list, such as signing your son up for soccer, will provide a sense of accomplishment and the confidence to go after larger, more complicated tasks like drafting that monster proposal you’d been putting off.

Eat feel-good foods. Zinc-packed options like turkey, barley, and pumpkinseeds help your brain produce the anxiety-easing compound GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), while spinach, beans, and artichokes are stocked with depression-fighting magnesium. Cheese, chickpeas, and beef give your body the amino acids it needs to make mood-boosting serotonin and norepinephrine.

Herb up with mind-easing supplements like St. John’s wort, valerian, and B vitamins, or sip green tea, which offers the serious stress buster L-theanine.

Hop on the treadmill, bike to work, or take the dog for a hike. Exercise clears your mind, burns off stress, and gets those endorphins pumping for an unbeatable natural high.

Take time to relax. Don’t run yourself ragged trying to tackle every task. Reserve 20 minutes for midday meditation, or pencil in a qigong session to break up the frenzy.