There is a post-vacation small talk conversation that is so familiar it's cliché. It goes a little something like this: You return to your workplace or regular post-vacation scheduling, someone asks how your vacation was, and you say, "Good, but I'm so tired!" or "Ugh, I need a vacation from my vacation!" For many people, the holidays are a very busy time, equal parts celebration and emotional stress, so post-holiday or long weekend exhaustion is somewhat inevitable.
"A lot of it is the anticipatory anxiety of returning to real life, and catching up with everything, and transitioning back to post-vacation mode," says Debra Kissen, PhD, clinical director at Light on Anxiety, a cognitive behavioral therapy treatment center. "It's more what you’re returning to than the vacation [itself that] is exhausting you." In other words, vacation is just like the Sunday scaries, only longer and "exponentially more mammoth," Dr. Kissen says.
The good news is, it's possible to feel well-rested — and maybe even refreshed — when a break is over. It just takes some mindfulness. Ahead, Dr. Kissen explains a few mental tricks that will help you harness your energy this weekend, so you're not feeling like a deflated Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon when it's time to return to reality.