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The Zen & Art Of Derealization: How To Reintegrate Into Your Normal Life After An Awesome Vacation

by • July 12, 2013 • Canadiana, MeComments (0)533

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I just got back to Montreal from Vancouver after a blissful and sun-kissed 10-day vacation.  I learned and discovered many things while I was adventuring along Canada’s stunning west coast, one of which is the fact that Vancouver is undoubtedly the crown jewel of all Canadian cities.

From the mindblowing beaches of the small surf town of Tofino, to the amazingness that is Stanley Park, to the bounty of palm trees that are sprinkled all over the area — Vancouver and its surrounding paradise have completely captured my heart.  And like so many other great vacations through the years, I have found myself overcome with a mild case of the post-vacation blues.  Yes, returning home to my typical daily grind has me wishing for one and one thing only — the chance to hop on a plane once more to do Vancouver all over again.

So how does one best reintegrate into their daily life after an all too perfect vacation?  There are the standard tricks of “realizing that your vacation doesn’t necessarily end here” and “thinking about how your vacation experience can inform good small changes in your life”.  One of the most interesting, however, comes from the team at Psychology Today.  In a 2010 article on the subject, Jeremy Spiegel, M.D. gives his top six tips on how to beat the post-vacay blues, and of all six tips, tip #4 caught my eye the most:

“USE THE DEREALIZATION EFFECT TO ENHANCE HOW YOU VIEW OTHERS IN YOUR LIFE: A well established fact of international travel is the interesting mental phenomenon of derealization.  Occurring in healthy people, you feel as though your surroundings are not quite real.  In a new place different from home there are so many stark and under-the-radar differences that, when absorbed by your sensorium for the first few hours or days, a dissociation from your usual conscious and unconscious expectations emerge.  For many this feels akin to a waking dream, or engagement in a compellingly realistic film, but never to the degree that one is deeply unaware of what is going on.  All this to say that when one returns, coupled with residual jet lag and a stirring of emotions, one could take refuge in a kind of reverse-derealization.  Allow yourself to see friends and loved ones in a novel way, with greater appreciation for what they mean to you.  With derealistic feelings still fresh, you might intend to see a glow around the important people in a way similar to how you experienced others on your trip.”

So for at least the next seven days ahead, I plan on sporting my ‘derealization glasses’ in order to bring the Vancouver glow into my daily life here in Montreal.  I’m not sure if it will work, but it’s definitely worth a shot.  In the meantime, there’s always my huge new photo album of Vancouver memories that I can flip through from time-to-time to soften the blow of returning to real life.  Here are a few of my favorites.

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