Going back to work on a Monday after being in Croatia for 7 weeks I will admit was quite the struggle. Post-Croatia-Depression (PCD) set in pretty much after a few hours from landing and It actually frustrated me how quickly reality set back in. Those "Oh you look so refreshed and happy” comments from friends, family and work colleagues faded and the stress of a busy work day returned.
Now as much as we feel like it’s just something we have to accept and get back into the usual 9-5 work grind, there are things that you can do to prolong that holiday feeling and incorporate it into your life.
Leaving work on time
Overworking is routine to many these days. More and more people are working through their breaks and eating their lunch at their desk, then getting home later than anticipated because there’s always that report you just need to finish up on. Or the comment of ‘let me just do this now so that tomorrow will be easier’ comes into play when in actual fact tomorrow you still end up leaving work the same time and the comment becomes a repetitive excuse.
So how can this exactly ‘prolong’ my holiday feeling? Take the time to use your break. Have your lunch break (maybe even making more prsut and sir sandwiches or bringing some sarma into the office) and enjoy the sunshine. Be sure to have that ‘me’ time you need to be refreshed.
Remember those 1000+ photos you took? When was the last time you looked through them?
Rather than letting those memories captured collect dust or, given we are in 2016, use up the memory in your phone and/or hard drive, get them printed. There are a few companies out there that can help you print out your instagram or smart phone photos with good quality.
Going through these photos or watching the video clips you captured helps you relive those great experiences and you’ll notice the excitement rushing back.
I can’t tell you how many time’s I’ve already gone through my Pula 2016 Gibonni + Oliver concert clips and still manage to get the same goosebumps just like I did on that night.
Another great way to eliminate the PCD after getting back from a holiday is making sure you make use of your spare time by taking those small breaks and turning them into mini-holidays.
Now I’m not saying that the places you go to will be anywhere near to what Croatia is like, but you will be surprised with the amount of Croatian heritage that lies in many cities across the globe that let you enjoy that experience back home.
I recently was talking to a friend of mine from Perth who from time to time likes going on relaxing bike rides through Swan Valley where they’re known for their Croatian heritage vineyards. These vineyards are owned by migrants who came to Australia from as early as the 1920’s and have a big role in helping to develop the Swan Valley land into vineyards and do so with a little touch of Croatia in their vino.
Sometimes it can be a simple task of taking a bike ride through places like these that can give you that sense of happiness you felt being with family in their vineyards overseas.
Another benefit of getting outdoors more often is the exposure to vitamin D.
Be sure to use any moment you can to take advantage of the sun being out to get some vitamin D and enjoy being outside.
There are multiple studies out there that confirm it just takes 20 minutes of exposure to the sun each day to increase your serotonin levels in your brain which make you more happier.
And while your 20 minutes in the sun may not be accompanied by a cold Karlovacko pivo or a cocktail, it will keep you relaxed and happier so why not?
Weekend off? Free? Perfect. You probably won’t be able to go see anything like the Velebit in Australia and none of the sunflower fields will have that sense of being in Slavonija but there’s a lot to enjoy in your own country too.
Even a weekend drive to a place like Berry to enjoy the countryside or maybe even a trip to Melbourne to go to Dalmatino restaurant and enjoy a bowl of mussels along with some Posip vino from Korcula. Little trips like this can make all the difference to conquering PCD.
Listening to music
My favourite thing to do when at home and doing some work is put on Narodni radio which can be easily accessed on smart phone apps such as ‘Sloosaj' that are streamed live.
Warning: Doing some work around the house while having this on may result in the neighbours complaining as you may be singing more loudly than you think you are and you may think you have a better voice than Oliver but i won’t stop you from dreaming that you do...
Regardless of the neighbours complaints, at least listening to songs like Kalelarga might take you to Zadar even for a few minutes.
Supporting local Croatian communities and events
Last year I was fortunate enough to meet and chat to Oliver Dragojevic at his Sydney concert and something rang true in what he said that will always stick in my mind. When asked what he liked most about performing his songs abroad in other countries he said it was his chance to bring that feeling of being in Croatia back to those that lived and worked somewhere else.
When you think about it, the Croatian communities everywhere across the world are trying to achieve the same thing. The local Croatian churches wants to not only keep our faith alive but help with events such as picnic’s that bring the community together while enjoying your cevapi roll and listening to live music in the background.
Similarly, the Croatian communities throughout the country are trying to bring that experience here for the communities and need your continual support.
By supporting the local football clubs, radio stations, restaurants, folklore dancing groups and churches not only will you help strengthen the community but also it will make you feel that much more closer to the homeland.
Planning your next trip
They say the best way to get over that depressing feeling of getting back from a great trip is to plan your next one. Whether it’s just a short weekend trip somewhere domestic or planning your trip for next year back to lijepa nasa, start planning!
So as much as we think those holiday’s we have been on are now just a distant dream and memory, remember there are ways to extend that feeling and experience back in your everyday life.
I’ll admit that while writing this blog article, I regularly made sure I was listening to my favourite songs from my 2016 trip, looking at videos and reminising. Don’t think I’ve smiled at a laptop screen for that long but somehow, unexpectedly, I kind of escaped back to Croatia while writing this and now it’s time to head back to the reality of helping others in planning their trips and looking forward to my next one!