Vedic meditation expert Will Williams advises Female First readers how to combat post-holiday blues

Will Williams

Will Williams

Whilst many of us spend much of the year looking forward to our holiday; a significant number of us also report a genuine dip in happiness upon our return, something commonly referred to by experts as post-holiday depression.

Whilst it might sound dramatic, Will Williams, Europe’s leading Vedic meditation expert, explains otherwise: “Having to get back into the routine of work, school, and daily life in general can be a source of genuine distress, disorientation and discomfort after a holiday. This crash is partially due to an adrenaline comedown, the withdrawal of which may cause you to feel a bit under the weather and depressed.”

“Another factor is a psychological problem known as the contrast effect, where the brain has to adjust between radically different experiences. The amped-up expectations of your summer holiday giving way to the mundane return to reality is a classic example of this.”

Worry not though, because Will has pulled together some top tips on combatting the post-holiday blues:

Use your return to set new goals: Combat the psychological perspective that the anticipation of new things is over, by filling the void with new objectives to look forward to. Use this time to start assessing what you really want from life. Start by setting a long-term objective, then break it down into smaller, bite-sized goals, to keep you on track. Whether it’s getting a promotion, conquering a new sport, learning a language or making new friends – channel your post-holiday emotions into a quest for change.

Banish Jet Lag: Jet Lag is a chronobiological disruption to our body’s natural circadian rhythms, caused by a change in time-zones. This can hinder sleep patterns, which in turn drives feelings of anxiety, depression and unrest. When coupled with the natural dip in mood after a holiday, its effects can be extremely challenging. Vedic meditation works by resetting the body’s nervous system; delivering 30 – 40% deeper rest than the deepest point of sleep.

Brighten up your life. There’s no denying itthe weather in good old Blighty is never going to match up to the delights of a sun-drenched beach overseas. When you consider that sunlight has been proven to impact our mental wellbeing, it stands to reason that spending as much time as possible outside, and/or buying an artificial light (also called a light box), will help the cause. Doing this for 30 minutes per day can be effective. You can even grab a cocktail and picture you’re back on your hols, if you feel so inclined…

Recharge and reboot. Take the time to nurture your mood back to positivity. Vedic meditation is 250% more effective at reducing anxiety than any other technique[1], as well as bringing about a 33% reduction in the stress hormone cortisol[2]. The process involves silently repeating a personalised sound (mantra) for twenty minutes, twice a day, and can be practised anywhere.

Get back on an even eating keel. Lots of us use the holiday as an excuse to indulge, and there’s nothing wrong with this occasionally. It is worth bearing in mind though, that the foods we eat can have a drastic impact on our moods[3]. In fact, research has proven that eating processed foods, such as refined carbohydrates, sweets, and processed meats, can increase the risk of depression by about 60 percent[4]. When you return, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as fish (high in omega 3). A little bit of dark chocolate is a good choice too – it causes the release of the mood-lifting hormone, serotonin.

Get moving. We know, getting out of bed to work out after a week of lying by the pool feels like torture. It’s worth making the effort though, as exercise has been proven to release feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids). Try even getting up a little earlier for a walk, it’s a far more positive way to start the day.

[1] Journal of Counselling and Development (1985), 64, 212-215

[2] Scientific American

[3] BMC Psychiatry, 2013

[4] The British Journal of Psychiatry

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