Post holiday blues

The pool near our bungalow in Ubud
The pool near our bungalow in Ubud

For the first time that I can remember, I’ve suffered from post holiday blues.

As a full-time worker (and later a PhD candidate) I never experienced such lethargy. The end of holidays always meant I was refreshed, ready to get on with the next  thing. Even short breaks were energising. Often, my holiday notebook would bulge with events that I looked forward to. Plans for new ventures bubbled. My energy levels soared.

We were in Bali for two weeks. I’d felt free, young again. We had fun. But once home, I fell very flat. I wasn’t depressed, merely empty of inspiration. A bit aimless. My husband’s response to our return was even worse than mine. He’s been in bed with a full-blown cold, poor man.

Many things contributed to my malaise.

The night we got home, well after midnight, our house was not as we’d left it. Some cupboard doors were ajar. The mat in the hall was twisted. Nothing was exactly as we left it. It was obvious that someone had been in the house. We were disturbed.

The following morning we discovered that the alarm had gone off while we were waiting in the Denpasar airport. My darling granddaughter, Claire-Helen and her husband, Bhen had dealt with the problem of a possible burglary. But the surveillance firm had also called the police who met Bhen when he arrived. Several officers went inside with him and they checked very thoroughly for intruders.

‘We don’t want the old couple to come home to a nasty surprise,’ they told Bhen.

In Bali, we swam every day. The pool was warm in the morning and sometimes very warm in the afternoon. After years of not swimming, I was amazed that after a little practice I could swim a few laps. The number of laps increased as the holiday went on. We bought goggles in a market and planned to swim often in future. There was a thunderstorm the first day we were home. Lots of rain. Mid-November in Perth is usually summer – but not this year. My plans to swim obviously didn’t take into account the possibility of such cool weather. A nonchalantly tied sarong, the perfect to-and-from the pool covering in Bali, wouldn’t do.  I’d need to dig out track-suits already packed away for summer. Little wonder I have post holiday blues!

There had been hot weather while we were away. My garden had flourished. Plants had overgrown paths. The vegetable bed was well past its prime. The Pierre du Ronsart rose bush was heavy with faded blooms. Unlike the frangipani blossom that drifted in the warm air into the pool where we swam, petals flew wildly around our garden in the cold breeze. Our garden under the grey sky looked like a project for a professional gardener.

Perhaps I would feel better if we looked at the holiday photos. That would brighten my mood. But for some inexplicable reason the camera had saved most of the snaps as .dat files. When I tried to see them, the computer rebelled. Next I tried to download a program to do the job. In the process some diabolical monster appeared. It told me my trusty old desk computer was on its last legs, and would crash in two days unless I mortgaged the house and bought a new program.

Every time I turn it on, the same tedious message. Tomorrow I’ll call the technician and see if the condition really is terminal. At the same time, I’ll ask his advice about the holiday snaps. In the meantime, the poor old machine has slowed to slower than snail’s pace.

Several writing chores were waiting. There was a talk to prepare to set the scene for a Society of Women Writers WA full-day workshop. I’d accepted the invitation months ago. Of course I’d left the preparation until I got home. All right! I’d left it until the last minute. I spoke from a hand-written, dot-pointed prompt sheet. That worked!

Months ago I’d also agreed to prepare a brochure to advertise the times of Advent and Christmas ceremonies in our parish church. Before we went away, there seemed to be plenty of time. Not so. There was also some writing I’d agreed to write, but couldn’t find on the computer.

Obviously I needed a plan to get over the post holiday blues. It was a relief to check on line and find that I wasn’t the only person who suffered from this malaise. There were solutions there, too. Of course there would be solutions to any problem. But they didn’t fit for me. Time to create my own.

My post holiday blues plan

  • Make sure chores are up to date before the holiday
  • Unpack, wash and iron clothes as quickly as possible on return
  • Find a few flowers for a vase inside
  • Get back into the old exercise regime – and swim later
  • Find recipes and cook holiday fare
  • Catch up with family and friends and reconnect with them
  • Sort out minor problems that have mounted up
  • Get the garden looking beautiful
  • Write!
  • Plan another holiday


That should work.

I’d love to hear about other people’s post-holiday mood. Please use the comments section.

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