The post-Disney depression is real, you guys.
On the last day of our last visit to Walt Disney World, Dane and I sat next to the window near the water wheel at Port Orleans Riverside, eating a late breakfast/early lunch. I felt overwhelmingly and astonishingly hopeless over having to leave and return to normal life.
Sure, I’d miss the castles, characters, and amazing food, but what was I really upset about? Returning to a hectic, stressful job that left me attached to my phone and expected to answer work calls and emails and solve problems practically 24 hours a day. Not being able to take a day off without clients being angry. The same routine day after day with nothing new. No creativity and very little fun.
While I couldn’t take the castle home with me, I could take the very best part of vacation: the way I felt at WDW. Constant wonder and awe. Laughter all day long. Great conversations. Lots of exercise. Amazing food. Taking beautiful photos. Feeling so physically tired and mentally fulfilled at the end of the day, then waking up refreshed and excited to do it all over again. No feelings of stress rising in my body like mercury in a thermometer whenever my phone would ring or the little red email indicator would pop up. No expectations to respond to non-urgent emails at 7:00 AM on a Sunday. No feeling growly, irritated, or stuck.
The problem wasn’t only that I needed more vacation… the problem was I didn’t really like my life.
So, how could I (and how can you!?) incorporate the best parts of a Disney vacation in my (your) daily life?
Figure out what you love so much about Disney World and incorporate it into your life. Is it the sense of discovery? The hundreds of details? Leisure time, sweet moments, and laughter with your friends and family? Getting lots of exercise and spending time out in the sunshine? Cute characters and nostalgic music at every turn? The opportunity to try a huge variety of food and adult beverages?
Think it over. Write it out. If you brought more “magic” into your life, what would it look like for you? For me, it meant accepting a position that didn’t demand every moment of my time (nor the use of my personal phone!), reclaiming my downtime, taking my dogs to the bluffs on the weekends (fun and exercise for all of us!), subscribing to a WDW-related podcast and a Disney Pandora station, and cooking a few adventurous things. Later, it meant moving to a new city for my husband’s dream job, getting really clear on what I wanted for my life and work, minimizing our possessions and living space, and spending weekends immersed in the magic of Disney.
For you, it might look different! You might want to make some big changes like I did, or you may be able to make a few small changes and be totally pleased! It all depends on you and what you’re seeking.
But while you’re mulling it over – or even if you really love your life but just want to add more Disney to your days – Here are a few fun, actionable things to try:
If you’re an American living in suburbia, chances are you got WAY more exercise at WDW than you get at home. Make time for some long walks outside. You’ll feel so much better!
Indulge in your favorites.
Did you fall in love with a particular dish or drink from one of the parks? Look for that soda or beer locally, or re-create that awesome steak or cupcake at home. Or, if your favorite treats are small and portable (hello, matcha KitKats from the Japan Pavilion), stock up to enjoy them in your “normal” life!
Discover your own city.
Instead of heading to your usual sushi place on Friday night, try the new one. You know that cute bistro downtown you’ve been longing to try? Go! How about that yoga studio you’ve been curious about, or that fundraiser 5k you’re working up the courage to sign up for? Try the things! Chances are, there’s a lot of cool stuff around you that you just haven’t experienced yet.
Add some Disney to your day.
Use your princess mug at the office. Make your desktop background the amaaaazing photo you took of Happily Ever After. Save your PhotoPass pictures on your phone so you can flip through them when your day needs a magical boost. Like I mentioned above, I subscribed to a podcast and and a Pandora station so I could get Disney news and sing along to songs from my childhood. It helped make my commute a lot more fun!
Share the joy.
There’s a big, lovely Disney community on Instagram, and we’d be thrilled to welcome you! Come say hi to me (@theearcollector) and check out the gems I follow.
One of my favorite tips comes from fellow Disneygrammer @wishesdishes_wdwdelights: Plan your next vacation! If you won’t be traveling anytime soon, you can always pretend plan. How fun is it to daydream about the parks you’ll visit, the rides you’ll experience, and the treats you’ll devour!?
To summarize, my top tips for easing post-Disney depression:
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and water.
- Think about the small things you can do to make your life happier. Implement them. How about big things? Start working on those.
- What did you love about Disney World? Add more of that to your life: great exercise, dinners with friends, time in the sun, white space to daydream, and so forth.
- Look for new ways to explore and enjoy your hometown.
- Bring plenty of Disney home with you: snacks, mugs, souvenirs – anything you’d like! Make a point to enjoy these things regularly.
- Add some magic to your day! Plan a weekly Disney-related family movie or game night. Display a figurine of your favorite character. Listen to a Disney podcast. Hop into the Disney community on your favorite social media outlet.
- Start planning your next visit!
What are your favorite ways to soothe post-Disney depression? Let us know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: this post does obviously not use the term “depression” in a clinical sense. If you’re struggling, please check out the resources available to you. ❤️