PVSD (Post-Vacation Stress Disorder) is a Real Thing

Blog by Rick Grover

Have you ever experienced PVSD (Post-Vacation Stress Disorder)?  It’s a real thing.  I looked it up on the internet. 


Laura and I just got back from “vaca” a few days ago, where our thoughts of COVID-19, national turmoil, political warfare, and E91’s “new normal” were gloriously suspended for about a week.  We sat by a pool and read, hiked in the Hoosier National Forest, and visited some amazing restaurants in B-Town.


And then . . . home again, home again, jiggety-jig. 


If you ever experience any of the following symptoms, you know you’ve got it—PVSD that is: Trouble concentrating during conversations, lack of awareness of people around you, unable to process own thoughts, not conducive to doing things like: work, thinking, crossing streets, being mindful of your general safety.  If it feels like you’re wearing a giant pair of dirty contacts over your brain, then you definitely have PVSD.


So, what can you do about it?

Here’s the best remedy I’ve found, especially when you’re stepping back into a world of chaos such as we have right now: RHYTHM.  When you go on vaca, you step out of your normal rhythm and into a new flow of life, even if it’s only for a few days.  That’s a good thing.  We all need a break in order to recalibrate, renew and refresh.  This is the whole concept of the Sabbath, not only resting because we’re tired, but breaking out of our daily rhythm in order to do a reset. Vacations can do the same thing.


Here’s the catch, though.  We don’t reset in order to just go back into old rhythms that burn us out and drag us down.  We reset into improved rhythms that deepen our spiritual and emotional health. 

Sometimes my iPhone 6 (yes, I’m one of those guys) gets stuck.  I can’t navigate through my calendar or my address book, and the only thing I can do is reboot my phone.  When I do, it’s good as new.  That’s a great metaphor for our need to vaca, our need to sabbath, and our need to establish regular, consistent, healthy rhythms. 


God ordered the universe as such, and He’s oriented our lives to the quality of consistency.  Not boredom and blandness, but consistency. 


Every day the sun rises and the sun sets.  We sleep while God works, and we awake to His new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).  We work five days, sabbath one day for celebration and contemplation, and reserve another day to catch up for our multitudinous honey-do lists.


When we keep a healthy life rhythm, we discover that our re-entry from vacation doesn’t have to lead to PVSD.  Our vaca reboot helps us improve our life rhythm, even when the world’s rhythm is out of whack.