How to shake those summer blues


With Autumn upon us, it’s time to wave goodbye to that holiday feeling. But there’s no need to let those summer blues get the better of you. Remember that holidays are good for humans. Research shows taking less than three weeks holiday a year can make us one third more likely to die young. So how better to combat this scary statistic than to bring your holiday home? Through the help of our senses, we’ve broken down the best ways of applying your new experiences to your daily routine.

Find a new ingredient from your holiday to cook with at home (Photo by Monika Grabkowska).

Taste

Consistently in contention for ‘most memorable holiday moment’, foreign food never fails to get those taste buds tingling. Delving into new tastes and cuisines, or simply revisiting your personal favourites, is always a holiday must. If you were inspired by a particular dish or taste this summer, think about how you can implement it into your own home cooking. Be careful not to overindulge in your new discovery or you run the risk of normalisation: sapping out the explorative, novel experience that comes with it. Make it a special occasion with friends and family or focus on a specific ingredient and experiment with new recipes.

Cling on to those sweet tastes of summer by bringing summery fruit delights into your daily routine. For those first few weeks back to work, fill your breakfast and lunch with summer fruits like peaches, strawberries and apricots. Reopen the doors of novelty and try to shop at local markets for fresh fruit (if possible). Finding perfectly ripened summer fruits close to autumn can be tricky, but there’ll be plenty of jams and jellies knocking around to fill your sweet holiday void.

Smell

According to Jessica Chilvers from the Talent Keeper Specialists: “Holidays are very sensual experiences. We are more attuned to sounds and smells when we are somewhere different.” Holidays often expose us to smells that we rarely experience at home. This could be anything from the perfumed aroma of Grasse, to the chocolatey waft of Chicago.  Even more common scents, such as the salty sea breeze that comes with practically every coastline or simply the smell of after-sun, can create an association with your vacation.

Think about how you can project yourself back into that environment. Treat yourself to some of Grasse’s world-famous perfumes or give yourself an excuse to buy chocolate and reminisce about Chicago; buy a candle or air freshener with a seaside theme or utilise after-sun’s capacity as a moisturiser and apply it daily.

Sight  

“Paying attention to nature is a source of very positive experiences on holiday,” says Dr Gosia Goclowska, a social psychology lecturer from the University of Bath in her research linking novelty seeking to increased creative performance. When we’re on holiday, it’s easy for nature to take our breath away. And although it’s difficult to replicate the jaw-dropping sight of the Grand Canyon, the Stone Forest of Shilin Yi or the Matterhorn mountain whilst at home, creating a similar psychological response is by no means impossible. Think about your time away: did you use your phone less? Watch less TV? What did you notice about your surroundings? By extracting yourself from your usual, indoor activities, and taking some time to gaze into the garden or stroll around the local park, you may find yourself taking some satisfaction from what’s around you.

In addition, Dr Goclowska states: “Going on a guided tour may allow us to see our immediate environment from a new angle.” Research your local area as though you would a holiday destination. Try this by typing your postcode into the ‘things to do’ section on websites like Trip Advisor and Airbnb Experiences. Or search events through social media sites, such as Facebook. You may find new and interesting experiences on your doorstep.

The Matterhorn, Switzerland (Photo by Sven Scheuermeier).

Touch  

Holidays are perfect for inspiring that hidden something tucked away inside of you. Perhaps you found yourself unleashing your inner Strictly as you salsaed your way into the Spanish sunset. Maybe you were one half of the two it took to tango through the streets of Buenos Aires. Either way, follow up the new holiday you by joining a club back home. Interacting with people through dance, team sports and other activities you may have encountered during your time away, can help to build new friendships and keep you healthy!

If your main holiday goal is to reach maximum relaxation, you may have visited the masseuse once or twice. As well as holding the key to complete tranquillity, massages are great for relieving muscle soreness and tension. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience also found that massage, as a means of therapy, decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. This makes the massage table an ideal place to revisit when that back to work stress kicks in.

Sound 

Few things can really evoke your emotions like sound. Creating an association with certain sounds during your holiday is almost guaranteed. Relive your spellbinding stroll through the markets of Marrakech with a simple internet search for Moroccan music. Cast yourself back into a state of sheer holiday bliss by listening to hours of ‘sounds of the ocean’.

If you found yourself particularly taken aback by a historic building or place, download a podcast for more information and retake the tour at home. We all love a holiday playlist, whether we’ve made it pre-holiday or moulded it together with songs we’ve heard when away, the effect is the same. Boot up your holiday playlist every so often, close your eyes and it’ll be like you never came home.

Few things in life can evoke human emotion like sound (Photo by Mark Solarski).