Sometimes the worst part about vacation is coming home to real life responsibilities. Instead of waiting out the negative sluggishness for days after you return (and refusing to unpack, procrastinating on a pending project, and ignoring your inbox), take a more proactive approach. If you’re still feeling unplugged and disconnected when back-to-work beckons, here are some tips to help you return to routine without forfeiting all of the benefits that the leisurely holiday provided.
9 Tips To Find Your Way Back To Life-After-Vacation
1. IMMEDIATELY UNPACK. Control the urge to let suitcases sit unattended in your bedroom for days, and instead unpack as soon as you arrive home. While taking clothes to the laundry, unloading toiletries, and designating a spot for new purchases, make the task an enjoyable way to recall favourite holiday moments while they’re still fresh in your mind. Unpacking greatly reduces the feeling of overwhelm if returning to clutter and uncompleted chores.
2. WELCOME HOME. Before you leave, insist on cleaning your home. Nothing makes you feel more positive about arriving back home than feeling gratitude at the beautiful environment where you live. Returning to a clean house reminds you of the accommodations you experienced while away (so focus on bathroom and kitchen when cleaning). This is also true of returning to well-stocked cupboards and fridge. Shop before you go for non-perishable items that will keep until your return and those that can quickly be pulled from the freezer for hungry, tired vacationers.
3. GET BACK ON TRACK. If you haven’t had the healthiest holiday, getting back to your routine will help you to resettle. Making extra nutritious meal choices and exercising daily works wonders for post-vacation lethargy. Perspire out every bit of jetlag and fast food left in your body by going for a long walk or getting back to the gym! Stretch muscles weighed down by luggage, or stiff from long drives or sitting around a pool too long. Consider a two-day juice fast to kickstart your return.
4. EASE YOUR WAY. Take some time. Allow space to be alone. Plan your first work day, and prioritize what needs to be done. Focus on doing what you know how to do easily and requires the least time. Face each task one by one because crossing items off your list builds momentum. For one solid hour, remain focused without any distractions (no phone, internet, TV, conversation, email) to get lots accomplished. Take breaks during the day — going full throttle without breaks will burn you out and contribute to post-holiday blues. It serves no good to let guilt force you into believing that you have to work extra hard because you were away. You deserved your vacation. Take breathing breaks to relax — deep, expansive breaths can go a long way in relieving tension that you didn’t even know was creeping back into your body. Stay in the present moment and remind yourself you’re exactly where you need to be.
5. Start a new project. That said, instead of coming down from a high with a “life is so mundane at home” attitude, launch yourself into an inspired state by writing down and then taking steps to begin something exciting and fun. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new hobby project, volunteer fundraising effort or work initiative as long as it brings you joy every time you think about it.
6. BRING YOUR VACATION HOME. A souvenir reminds you of special moments away each time you look at it, offering a mini break that transports you back to your holiday. New clothing, a personal gift that sits on your desk or transportable treats that travelled back with you (chocolate, cookies) can help you to enjoy your trip a bit longer. Photographs of your holiday don’t need to stay on your cellphone. Print one and place it in a frame as an old-fashioned memento that earns its keep on your desk.
7. GET A NEW SET OF EYES. Sometimes, waiting until after your holiday to complete a project is a good idea. When you are away from a situation for a while, and your mind is actively engaged in other activities, you will get inspired thoughts and a new perspective about something you’re working on that will offer solutions to a challenge, and add new creative flow. This may be the best argument for employees to insist on taking vacations.
8. BOOK FUN AT HOME. Looking back at holiday fun should be balanced with present moment fun to avoid post-vacation doldrums. As soon as you get home, begin making plans for events and get-togethers to look forward to. See a friend, stage a group picnic, enjoy an outdoor concert, go for a hike, plan a mini getaway to a cottage or the beach to help ease your transition. You’ll reframe your thoughts to appreciate the experiences you've had, but also be glad to be home, instead of mourning the inevitable return to daily life.
9. RE-EXAMINE YOUR RETURN. Being away also provides an enlightened and objective perspective on life at home that often can’t be observed otherwise. If you find yourself truly unhappy and unfulfilled when you're back, maybe you're not just missing your vacation. Have issues around a life situation: job, home, relationships that you have been avoiding suddenly become more pronounced and clearer upon your return? Give yourself a couple of weeks before committing to any life-altering decision, but do use the time after vacation to reflect on elements of your life you'd like to change.