Post Vacation Syndrome: Scientists Explain Why Labor Day Leaves You Feeling Like Crap | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Post Vacation Syndrome: Scientists Explain Why Labor Day Leaves You Feeling Like Crap

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Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM

click to enlarge Hot-dog hangover doesn't help any.
  • Hot-dog hangover doesn't help any.
One would think, after one whole extra day of not doing whatever it is you've signed up for, life-wise -- work, school, saving celebrity geese from massive drainings of Echo Park Lake, etc. -- that one would feel rejuvenated; autumn-crisp; ready to face the season at hand!

But clearly, one doesn't. For our counterparts in New York, what should have been a dewy-fresh start to September has turned out to be a horribly rainy day of damp jeans and umbrella blunders. Here in L.A., we've got quite an opposite set of environmental depressants, if equally crap:

Whereas Labor Day Weekend was a little too cloudy and weird for a beach trip (#whitepersonproblems), this coming week is doomed with just the kind of heat wave that could make good on fire officials' promise that 2011 be the Worst Fire Season Ever. As predicted, it seems the wildfires are closing in on all sides today: The road to Vegas is burnt to a crisp, and nearly 20 homes have succumbed to a monster blaze ravaging Kern County just to the north.

But an East Coast-West Coast apocalypse alone can't explain away how lame you're feeling, post-holiday weekend. We distinctly remember good old days in which natural disasters were things not to wallow in, but to brag about!

Nope -- greater forces are at play in the making of your September 6 funk. In a sympathetic Wall Street Journal piece this morning, L.A.'s experts take pity on your overwhelming want to fly the cubicle, justifying it with some bona fied -ologist speak.

Some adults who get the summer off face Labor Day blues "because they've had a taste of life outside of the hamster wheel," says Farrah Parker, a corporate trainer in Los Angeles. "They've done things they love and it reminds them of what is truly important in their lives. And when the fall comes, they feel like they are losing a part of themselves. I see it all the time, especially in high-profile industries with demanding schedules."

Phew. Not just you, see? But you shouldn't take this as an excuse to quit your job and indulge in some Post Vacation Syndrome-nursing retail therapy, warns the Journal:

Try to pinpoint the real source of unease, and don't make any rash changes during a post-vacation funk. Instead, wait a few weeks and see if the feelings subside. ...

Some people find buying something new particularly tempting this time of year. But be wary of overdoing it. "Retail therapy is a slippery slope," says Barbara Neitlich, a Beverly Hills, Calif., psychotherapist.

In other words -- don't go all Bridget Jones and drown yourself in a one-man Ben & Jerry's pity party, citing an incurable case of PVS. But do feel a wee bit better about feeling crappy today. Remember: It's not you. It's science.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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