Feel worse than you did before you went on holiday? Don't worry, you're not the only one.
"It's common," says life coach Carole Ann Rice. "After the summer holidays is my busiest time. If you're unsatisfied with life, you think: 'I'll book a nice holiday and it will give me a chance to reassess my relationship/job/health/life.' Of course, you don't. You get your holiday brain on – partially marinated in piña coladas, it's hot, you're on a sun lounger – so you have zero motivation to think about hardcore things.
"Then you come home, feeling wonderful... and the harsh reality is you haven't changed anything. It puts life in sharp focus and you come down to earth with a bump."
But this can be a positive thing, a wake-up call for change.
"Your initial reaction might be to just push on through and get back to normal," says Carole Ann. "But it's a great opportunity to recognise what you're dissatisfied with. We all love a holiday, but you don't want to just live for the weekend or the next break."
Here's how to address life in-between...
1. First, make a list of things you don't want
Get it out of your system
This is the easiest list in the world to make. We know really well what we don't want or don't like in our lives: a long commute, the overbearing boss, the tummy flab, the messy house or garden. It's good to write it down and own it, because it can help you work out what you want to change and how.
2. ...And then make a list of things you do want
Get it out of your system
This is harder, but it can show you what changes you need to make. What do you want for your health, career, social life, relationships and yourself? Look back at the list of what you don't want, and be specific. Hate your long commute? Maybe you want to work somewhere closer to home. Don't like having to clean constantly? Maybe it's time to downsize.
"By going through the smallest questions, you can start seeing what you're working towards," says Carole Ann. "When people say they don't know what they want, they do: they've just not gone into the details. Think about what makes a really good day for you. What one small thing could you do to get more of that feeling in your life?"
3. Plan things - but NOT your next holiday
Avoid planning your next trip straight away
It's really tempting to start dreaming about your next escape before you've even finished unpacking, but living from holiday to holiday is a sign you need to make the everyday more enjoyable. Organise things to look forward to now – this week or the coming weekend. Perhaps a new exercise class, or a glass of wine with a friend you haven't seen for a while.
4. Make a new-season resolution
Autumn is a good time to make changes
Autumn is a lovely time for change, with the turn of the seasons, the new term, and a lot of evening classes starting. Look back at your New Year's resolutions and take a second chance at them.
"After eight months of the year, you might be able to see even more clearly what needs to change," says Carole Ann. "Find a creative evening class to make cupcakes or a jewellery design course, something fulfilling to focus on."
5. Don't compare and despair
'Oh my god, she's in Bali AGAIN'
If you're feeling sad after your holiday, going online to see pictures of friends still sipping martinis will only make it worse.
"Compare your life unfavourably to someone else's and you will lose 100% of the time. It's an instant way to feel horrid, even if life is actually pretty good," says Carole Ann.
Get off Facebook and concentrate on seeing people in real life.
"Giving up social media can feel like you'll miss out even more, but in the end you'll feel better not knowing," she says. "Get people to tell you about their latest adventures in person: you don't need to see 100 photos of them sunbathing in Barbados."
Five things to make you feel better straight away
● Unpack immediately and put luggage away. There's nothing worse than having cases hanging around reminding you of your trip.
● Recreate your favourite meal from your holiday – rather than a bleak reminder, make it a new recipe in your repertoire.
● Buy a new houseplant to replace any that died while you were away. It doesn't have to be expensive – something small and fast growing (like bamboo) can be
● If possible, give yourself some time off work after your holiday. It might seem like a good idea to get the maximum time away, but getting back at 1am before work at 9am will only leave you frazzled.
● De-clutter. You survived out of a suitcase for two weeks, so fill a bag with stuff you don't need and take it to a charity shop.
For more information or advice from Carole Ann Rice, visit Realcoachingco.com