Feeling Stabby? Smile! You Have Post Vacation Syndrome.


Why does your life suck? Let us count the ways. It is raining, and you wore jeans, which are now damp, but forgot to wear a jacket, because who knew you needed to wear a jacket, given that it’s only early September and last Friday — long ago, far away last Friday — was simply gorgeous. Also, you didn’t sleep last night because you were all off from your three-day weekend, and your upstairs neighbors were “moving furniture” or whatever they do at 3 a.m. You’re feeling cranky and especially uncoordinated, and when you went to get a much-needed cup of coffee you stabbed yourself in the hand with a spike of your umbrella, which, in a strange way, almost made you feel better for a minute. But, in the world of crankiness, it is better to acknowledge why one is cranky instead of just stewing in it or engaging in accidental self-mutilating behavior. Especially satisfying: The reason you are so cranky has been justified by psychologists, who clearly love you even when you’re being cranky.

The Wall Street Journal explains this horrid phenomenon further. See, what’s happened is, your vacation time has ended, even if you never took it. You’re back to work, or school. And you are experiencing that familiar “stab of dread” because everything is changing! We hate change. We hate stabs of dread!

Researchers have identified this malaise, which some have taken to calling Post Vacation Syndrome, handily acronymed as PVS, “characterized by a combination of irritability, anxiety, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, and a feeling of emptiness that lasts up to a few weeks after returning to work.” Sound familiar? Some people suffer this every week, on Sunday night! Others drink their way through it. But at any rate, PVS is real and affects “35% to 75% of workers in Spain, where many businesses close for the month of August.” We do not feel that sorry for them, that is how much PVS we have.

Here is the slippery slope, the special nastiness of PVS: The more you vacation, the more likely you are to have PVS. You see, you’ve come to see life outside the daily grind, and that is dangerous. With great highs come great lows, and so forth. Still, researchers say, give it a few days and you should return to the zombie-like placid tedium you’re used to. If it doesn’t go away, you might want to consider a new job, or professional help.

In the meantime, revel in your PVS. There is no medicinal cure for it, which means you can, at the very least, use it as an excuse for being kind of a bitch all day long.


The Post-Labor Day Letdown [WSJ]