It’s been four days since I’ve returned from the Jersey Shore, and I have to admit, I’m fully consumed by vacation withdrawal. As a travel enthusiast and ardent advocate of weekend getaways, I’m very familiar with the sequence of emotions that takes place after a really great trip.
I had full intentions of writing up a detailed vacation recap for you. But since I can’t break out of the funk I’ve gotten myself into the past couple of days, I thought I’d share with you a breakdown of the withdrawal process. Plus, of course, a few ways I’ve learned to cope.
My withdrawal typically goes a little like this:
Stage 1. Depression
Stage 1 occurs almost immediately after, and sometimes before, my trip is over. How did time go by so quickly? Do I really have to go back to reality?
How to cope: Unfortunately, there aren’t many coping mechanisms for this stage. Unless, of course, you count crying and temper tantrums. Which I do.
Stage 2. Anger
When my tears dry up, rage starts to take over. This is probably (definitely) the most irrational part of the withdrawal process. Why can’t I be wealthy so I never have to come back to work and can spend all my time traveling instead? If I can’t be independently wealthy, why can’t I have a lifelong anonymous benefactor that keeps my bank account stocked and my passport in action? Is it too much to ask to be born into the royal family so I can spend my life jetsetting to castles around the globe?!?! So much anger.
How to cope: Some of us have a harder time letting go of anger than others, and admittedly, I’m one of those people. I’ve learned a great way to channel my anger is to put it towards something constructive. For instance, I’ll volunteer to work a couple extra hours, so I know I’m making a few bucks that I can put towards my next vacation.
Stage 3. Jealousy
The anger stage leads quite naturally into Stage 3. This is the stage when your Facebook newsfeed becomes lethal. How on earth is that couple going on ANOTHER vacation, and who exactly is funding that girl’s six-month jaunt around Africa?!
How to cope: I was taught (and often reminded over the years) that the color green is not flattering on anyone, so I try to keep this stage limited to a day. Or two, depending on how sorry I feel for myself. Take a break from social media and treat yourself to a day in the sun instead.
Stage 4. Nostalgia
While pouring over other people’s vacation photos, I start to get reminiscent of my own. Other people’s beach photos remind me of the fourteen days I spent burying my toes in the sand. Ahhh the Jersey Shore. I miss thee.
How to cope: For the most part, vacation nostalgia is harmless, so let yourself bathe in those memories. Take aaaall the time you need.
Stage 5. Hope
I know I’m officially coming out off withdrawal when I can begin to get excited about my next trip. Why wallow when I can busy myself counting down to my next big adventure?
Though it takes me longer to get through some stages than others (ie. Stages 1-3), I have faith in the withdrawal process and know that in due time, I’ll be looking forward to my next vacation. And until I get there, I have my ways of coping. If all else fails, there’s always wine.