PHB Syndrome and How to Manage it

PHBNo, no it’s not catching. Honest. But I’m willing to bet a cup of coffee that a lot of us are experiencing this at the moment. Sweaty palms? A tendency to look at the pictures taken for the last month with a heavy sigh? Daily yearnings for an ice cream cone in the afternoon? Maybe a G&T before 6pm? A dread of getting on the scales?

‘Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will no withdraw from us.’ Maya Angelou

Yup, the diagnosis is definitely ‘Post Holiday Blues.’ But don’t worry. It’s fixable.

We writers need a break just like the rest of the population. It’s a great opportunity to do some people watching and character development if nothing else. Not to mention visiting places that might feature as a setting. See, we’re really never off duty are we?

I took August as ‘time out’. We didn’t go anywhere – I’m a poor writer, remember – but I did down my writing tools for most of the month. Here in Italy, August is the holiday month. The 15th is a bank holiday ‘Ferragosta’ originally implemented by one Emperor, Augustus presumably. It’s a time when our normally very quiet lane becomes full of ‘city’ folk occupying their country homes for the one month of the year. In addition to that this year, my lovely son and his family visited and I wanted to dedicate all my time catching up with my rapidly growing up grandchildren before I forget who they are. And I had a wonderful time, swimming at the local pool, playing cards and Cranium, colouring in (so relaxing, I heartily recommend it), bathing on the beach, strolling around local markets, going out for lunch and Pizza and practising my dodgy Italian with my short-term neighbours.

‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.’ Plato

Then September 1st arrives. All the visitors have gone home and the lane is as quiet as a mouse trap- well apart from the fact that hunting season has begun. And my head is now swimming with stuff I need to do in the last quarter of this year. Stuff that has kept me awake the past tow nights with that building sense of doom.

So how to cope?

Write it Down

Well a big tick for that one. I’m doing this blog as a kind of therapy. I find that ‘writing stuff out’ really helps to clear my mind, slow my quickening pulse and put things into perspective. Things aren’t all that bad are they? See I’m feeling better already.

Make a List

I’m a copious list writer. It often gets me into trouble, especially when I produce a list for someone else. It’s a hang up passed on from my dear father and it’s the only way I can operate. Trouble is I’m now on page two and the palms are all sweaty again so much that the pen is slipping from my fingers.

Prioritise List in Order of Importance

I know, none of this is new! Having a long list and one that is frequently lost doesn’t help to get things done. Decide on what matters today (get this blog posted), tomorrow (revisit list) next week (panic).

Plan Next Holiday/Break/Treat

Having something to look forward to other than writing is essential. Chocolate usually does the trick. I’m not that big on organised holidays – and anyway it’s impossible with our menagerie of animals – but a new walk with the dogs, lunch out at a local agritourismo, or even a catch up with an old friend via Skype is good for the soul.

Oh, and I think I mentioned it earlier. Colouring in. My granddaughter brought a large book full of pictures to colour in and it’s the best therapy out. Try it.

‘A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.’ Roald Dahl

There, feeling better?

Until Later,

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2 thoughts on “PHB Syndrome and How to Manage it

  1. After the holidays I always say I’m working on my Ph.D…Post Holiday Depression! Still a few days to go, though…hope you’re soon over it!

  2. Yes, I remember you talking about PhD a much better acronym! My list is growing but at least I know what I have to do. Now to decide what is important….

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