Why You Feel Depressed After Travelling and What You Can Do About It

Coming back from a really great time away can often make people feel depressed for numerous reasons, and it can be hard to stop it. Here are a few tips that can hopefully help minimise the feeling when you return if you feel depressed after travelling.

My Personal Experience:

depressed after travelling

Every time I go abroad, I always feel depressed after travelling, even if I’m really excited about coming home. When I’ve been abroad for really long periods of time, that’s when I often feel worse for longer – but I’ve been daydreaming about cuddling my dog and eating food from home. I’ve tried working out why I feel like this, and it always comes down to a few main reasons:

  • When I’m abroad, I can escape my problems and be anyone I want to be.
  • Different cultures make me prioritise different things in life and make me want to live another way.
  • Quality of life in the UK often feels worse, especially since Brexit as I’m constantly reminded that many of my European friends have opportunities I can’t access due to being outside of the EU.
  • Everything feels the same – monotone, boring and lifeless.

Recently, after coming back from living in Poland for the 2nd time, I felt really down – I think more than I’ve ever felt before. I know that there were other personal reasons that contributed to this, but I also knew that coming back to the UK was another factor. I know, this sound like such a nice problem to have and the UK isn’t a bad country – I really am grateful to live here instead of some other places, please don’t misunderstand me, but it does have its faults too.

One of the reasons that coming back made me feel really down was because I had such a fun and unpredictable time in the countries I was visiting. There was always something new to be discovered. However, in the UK, everything feels the same – but even more expensive than when I left. It was such an eye-opener about how unnecessarily expensive the UK is. For instance, in the UK, one single game of bowling costs £9, but in Czechia, it costs £2 for an HOUR. In Poland a cinema ticket costs around £3, but in the UK it costs around £12. The cost of a train across Thailand costs £4 for a comfortable seat and service, but in the UK the train to the village next to me, about 6 minutes away, costs £5. How is this justifiable? I understand the wages are different in other countries like in Poland it’s sadly around £3 for every age depending on the job, which is also not okay. In the UK, the minimum wage is also not enough for the cost of living either, which makes the prices of doing activities very hard for someone like me. Currently, the minimum wage for 20-year-olds is £6.83, and the train to uni costs me £20 a day, meaning I need to work almost 3 hours to be able to go to university.

I also find that many people in the UK are a bit ignorant and stubborn about others’ viewpoints and cultures. Of course, I don’t mean everyone, but I see this often, especially in small towns. I remember in high school, lots of the children would act up for no reason, just to make the teacher’s life a little bit harder – but when I ask my friends abroad about what their class is like, they’re shocked when I tell them about it in the UK. I’ve noticed that a lot of people here are also very work-centric and never have much time to relax. Whereas, in other countries, they make time for their family and work doesn’t come home with them.

How To Stop Feeling Depressed After A Holiday

1. Do something to remember the trip

photo of person holding cup

This always helps me feel slightly better. I have a scrapbook, where I print lots of photos from the trip and place them all in there, as well as any random items, such as tickets I’ve kept. I also have a special travel journal, where I write random memories and events from the trip, so when I’m old and forgetful – I’ll be able to remember what happened.

2. Make plans

a man and a woman in the bowling alley
depressed after travelling

If you come back with nothing to look forward to, then chances are high that you will be longing to be somewhere else. You don’t even need to make plans abroad – they could just be plans with friends or family to do something such as visit the cinema or go shopping.

3. Cook delicious recipes from where you went

person holding sliced vegetable

Cooking can be very therapeutic for some people, so it is a nice idea to remember where you visited by cooking some of the regional dishes and attempting to replicate how they tasted. It will help keep your mind busy for a few hours, and you will *hopefully* be rewarded with something good at the end. If you feel depressed after travelling, then it’s worth a try and might be a fun few hours!

4. Catch up with your friends

depressed after travelling

If you’ve been travelling for a while, it can be good to catch up with your friends and talk about each other’s lives in person. It would also be a nice gesture to bring them a small souvenir of your travels if you spot something they might like.

5. Try and keep the mindset you had whilst travelling

depressed after travelling

Maybe this one might sound a little weird, but when I’m abroad, I romanticise almost everything, so if you do that too, it’s good to try and practice that in your daily life. Maybe if you’ve seen a certain culture do something a particular way, you can try to incorporate that change in your life. You could even make a challenge out of it and practice it for a week.

Overall, these tips are only tips, and if you genuinely feel very depressed and your mood doesn’t increase after a few weeks, then please seek help and go to a GP. Mind has some very good resources to help you if needed. Just know that you’re not alone and that feeling depressed after travelling may be something more serious.

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