How Do You Deal With Post-Vacation Anxiety?

Because right now I feel like my heart is going to explode.
Publish date:
February 16, 2016
open thread, depression, vacation, anxiety, anxiety management, Hong Kong

I'm going to indulge in some not-so-helpful reminiscing, just to catch y'all up.

At this time last week I was smack dab in the middle of my mostly-vacation. I say "mostly" because I still had to do some light daily work for my various bosses, but it was nothing that couldn't be done early in the AM or late in the PM. Basically long days of flitting around Hong Kong for Chinese New Year stretched before me everyday for two weeks.

Most notably, my parents were in town. I hadn't seen them in nearly two years, and this was their first trip back to their hometown of Hong Kong in almost 20 years. Everything was a memory — either revisiting old ones or building new.

My mornings were spent drinking coffee with my mom or eating jook (thick Chinese rice soup) with my dad. Afternoons, we'd wander around the city looking for "that one old sweet shop" that might still be there, or looking for childhood homes that had long since been gobbled up by urban progress. "This used to be..." or "It's so different now..." hung in the air wherever we went.

In the evenings, we'd find a night market or parade or lion dancers on the street, then go to an inexpensive, local "tea restaurant" where we could gorge ourselves on fried rice, tofu skin rolls, fish ball soup, and mango pudding. Chinese New Year exploded around us, and for the first time I understood the hope and excitement of the holiday.

It all felt so precious. I couldn't hold on tight enough.

For two weeks, I enjoyed the luxury (or trap, depending how you look at it) of telling myself, "I'll worry about it later, I'm on vacation." Then later became now.

The moment the door to my parents' taxi slammed shut, my heart started using my stomach as a trampoline and the Anxiety Troll in my brain shouted, "HEY SUCKER! We've got some catching up to do!"

And now I am in a maelstrom of depression/anxiety. I'm mourning for the good times and my parents' company, but I'm also TERRIFIED that I will drown under all the work I have to do now that I'm back. It's irrational, but I don't quite trust my abilities right now. I'm operating under a low level of panic.

Between the two opposing forces, I feel paralyzed. But I don't have that luxury — I have to work.

Have you ever felt this way?

How do you deal with post-vacation anxiety? How do you get back to your "work self"? How do you get through the panic/anxiety/fear?