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Dealing with post-holiday guilt (and how to adjust back to our normal routine)

The summer is pretty much over and it sure feels like autumn is upon us. And whilst we’re all ready for cosy evenings, spooky movies and pumpkin-spiced everything, there might be a glimpse of post-holiday guilt still creeping up on us. What we mean by that, is that feeling of guilt that we may have after we’ve spent a week - or three - on holiday, or even barbecuing in the back garden, indulging in not-so-nutritious food, not exercising very often and generally letting our wellbeing take a back seat. And whilst that’s more than acceptable when we’re on holiday, here’s some tips for dealing with that post-holiday guilt.

Holiday’s are literally designed (and to whoever invented them, we owe you) to have a break from our normal lives. A break from routines, responsibilities and rather stressful days! Whatever our daily routine looks like - parenting, managing, working, cleaning and everything in between - we all deserve a holiday every now and then.

There’s a reason why they exist - and it’s not to catch up on our emails.

So whilst we all enjoy the sunny beaches, colourful beverages and all inclusive everything, we might be feeling a bit rubbish when we return home to a routine we’re not exactly jumping back into. We might be regretting the amount of food and drink we’ve consumed, lack of movement we’ve done and maybe even some questionable decisions… but we won’t go down that route!

How can we deal with the post-holiday guilt?

Go easy on yourself

First thing’s first, don’t beat yourself up. It’s absolutely normal and valid, to not prioritise our wellness when we’re on our holibobs. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to be doing whilst I’m on my summer holiday is go for a run or limit the cocktails! We all deserve a break, and we definitely deserve to have fun - that’s what the summer is for! Especially as we spend the rest of the year working hard, regardless of what ‘work’ looks like for each of us.

Take it slow

It’s easy to try and jump straight back into normal life, but truth is, it’s definitely going to take some adjusting! We’ve spent a lot of time doing things we wouldn’t usually do, so don’t stress if it takes a few days (or weeks!) to get back into the swing of things. If you’re struggling, try doing one thing at a time, whether it’s eating a healthy breakfast one day, then the next day adding in a bit of movement. Go at whatever pace works for you.

Remind yourself why you need a holiday

Going crazy trying to lose the extra pounds you might’ve gained, or lost if we’re talking about our wallets, is completely and utterly pointless! All that’s going to do is send us into a spiral of guilt and frustration - not what we need. Remember all the reasons why you took a holiday in the first place… to relax, recharge and refresh yourself after all of the hard work you do! And if it was to escape the kids or the dog for a while, that’s valid too, we won’t judge.

Be compassionate

Guilt is a normal, human feeling that everyone experiences, and it’s definitely not uncommon to feel it on the return of our summer getaway. But reminding ourselves that it’s all completely valid to feel whatever we’re feeling can make it easier to help those feelings along and get back to feeling okay again!

And if you’re struggling to get back into a routine after late nights, lay ins and karaoke till the early hours of the morning (guilty…), we’ve got some tips to help you with that too.

Fill your schedule with things you enjoy

Filling our days with things we’ll look forward to will make it that bit easier to get past the ‘bleurgh’ feeling of getting home after our time off. For example, you might promise yourself your favourite meal for lunch, a dance class with your friends after work, or your favourite series and a (guilt-free) treat to enjoy in the evening. This will help going back to work, dealing with the usual stressors of life feel a bit less daunting, and prevent us from shipping ourselves off to Hawaii without telling anybody…

Don’t overdo it

Trying to go straight back into our normal days without any adjusting is totally unrealistic, by the way. Do your best to not dive head first back into emails, parenting, laundry, dog walking, school runs, food shopping, presentation planning, cleaning and meal prepping. It’s ok to not tick off your entire to-do list before the plane has even landed. Just take it one step at a time!

Phone a friend

If you’re in need of a little help - use your lifelines (anyone else miss Who Wants to be a Millionaire?). Friends, family, neighbours, whoever it is you feel comfortable asking for a bit of support, make sure you do exactly that. There’s no shame in asking for a hand if we need it, even if it’s just picking up a loaf of bread on the way home, or sharing the chores with your partner - ask if you need to. Maybe even train the dog to bring you the mail if you’re in need of five more minutes with your feet up!

Welcome home: Returning from holiday can be hard when it comes to adjusting to normal life. But just making an effort to be kinder to ourselves and taking it easy can make a real difference if we’ve got a spot of post-holiday guilt. Don’t feel bad, holidays are holidays for a reason, and they’re there to indulge, relax and not give a… Well, you get it. Just take it easy and you’ll be back to your normal routine in no time!




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