For a while now I’ve noticed that I feel extremely lethargic when I get home from traveling. I chalked it up to just having the blues of getting back to reality or missing my girlfriend, who lives in London. After dealing with this for quite some time and having it negatively impact my life, I decided to look into it. The causes are vast and vary widely on the individual. For sake of this post, because it is in fact my blog, I’m going to focus on my issues and what helps me! Hopefully this can assist you but I am by no means a doctor so if you are suffering from jet lag depression, I highly recommend speaking with a professional.
I spend a lot of time traveling, often times a month at a time and switching from several time zones. Any scenario that messes with your internal clock can also affect your mood. Although it can be difficult, try to stick to a solid sleep schedule and adjust accordingly when traveling to different time zones. I’m writing this the day after getting home from London. I fell asleep at 8pm, woke up at midnight and don’t plan to sleep again until tonight. I try not to force myself too much with sleeping or it tends to make it worse. I will do my best to stay awake throughout the day and be exhausted enough to fully sleep tonight, which typically works. Not getting enough sleep is bad enough but combined with confusing your eating schedule is a recipe for disaster.
Even if I don’t have an appetite, I make a point to eat proper meals and drink extra water when I get home. It’s easy to forget and be extremely busy when arriving back but you need to properly fuel your body. I do notice that I’ll crave breakfast during dinner and vice versa but that’s fine! It’s all about getting back on a schedule.
Speaking of a schedule, try to get back into the swing of things with work and social life. My biggest problem is not wanting to hang out with people when I get home. Like depression, I want to sit at home alone and zone out a bit. I know that once I go out I’ll be okay, so I make plans with friends that aren’t overwhelming but get me out of the house to readjust.
Although I love my friends and life at home, sometimes it’s hard to leave the excitement of traveling. It’s important to not fear going home. I know it can feel like the ultimate Monday blues but try to focus on how amazing the trip was and how excited you’ll be for the next one. I don’t feel like this specific aspect affects me as much as others because I am so lucky to travel so much, but it’s more so about not having stability in traveling or being home. I spend my time roughly 50/50 at home and living out of a suitcase so being home and not really feeling like it’s a home can really trigger the sadness for me.
Overall, don’t stress the depression or force yourself to snap out of it. Let it come and know that it is temporary. Create a plan and a schedule to get back to everyday living and focus on the exciting aspects of everyday living. If you can’t find many, create some! Turn an average day at home into an adventure and try something new.