It's blissful to get away from it all. The getting home part? Not so much. After weeks of sightseeing, the only sight you see now is a mountain of luggage, laundry, and work to catch up on. It's all too easy to fall into a major funk. After all, your vacation lifestyle is quite a sharp contrast to the realities waiting for you back home. If you're like most people, you need a little help easing back into everyday life.
While it's tempting to maximize your vacation and return to the daily grind without missing a beat, don't do this! Make sure you schedule some breathing room in between your return and your re-entry. If possible, build in at least one day to rest, replenish food in the fridge, do laundry and get back into the swing of things.
Is there anything more deflating than coming home to a messy house after a dream vacation? Cleaning is the last thing you want to worry about when you get back. For that reason, do some prep work before you leave for vacation. Clean the house as thoroughly as possible, put stuff away, vacuum the floors, empty the trash, and most importantly -- make the bed with fresh, clean sheets, so you have a pristine place to crash. Coming back to a clean house will make it all the more easy to jump back into reality.
If you have the flexibility, it's a good idea to book your return flight for a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. This will make your return to the office slightly easier to bear. All you have to do is get through several days before it's the weekend again. You'll go back in knowing you'll soon have a couple more days to refresh and recharge.
Before you leave the office for your vacation, make sure you get as much done at work as possible. Wrap up projects, delegate your tasks to coworkers with clear guidance, and send out reminders that you will be out of the office. Nothing kills your post-vacation buzz like having to put out fires the moment you return.
The same goes for your home life. If there are things that can be dealt with before your vacation, like bills or chores, get them out of the way. Your transition back will be smoother with less to deal with.
While you might be tempted to squeeze everything you can into your precious vacation time, pace yourself, so you have a little downtime. You don't want to come back burnt out from overambitious excursions peppered with early mornings, late nights and overindulgences. A little bit of excess is okay -- it is a vacation, after all -- but make sure you avoid anything that might compromise your safety, finances, health or peace of mind after your tan has faded.
As the end of your trip draws near, it's normal for sadness to set in. Don't let this slow you down. Make the final days of your vacation the busiest of the whole trip. Take tours, shop for souvenirs, explore. Keeping active will help keep your mind off the fact you're returning to reality soon, and it will allow you to continue enjoying where you are to the fullest extent.
Your productivity might plummet. Your mind might meander off. You might not have the same enthusiasm, let alone energy, that you once had for your everyday responsibilities at work and home. Accept that these feelings are perfectly normal, and know that they're not permanent. Be realistic, and don't take on too much too soon. Allow yourself to ease back into your daily routines slowly. With time, this uneasy feeling will eventually fade away.
Give your post-trip buzz a booster shot by putting on your favorite music and going through your photos. Don't make the mistake of leaving them on your phone indefinitely. If you don't get around to going through your pictures while the vacation is still fresh in your mind, you probably never will. Get them out there! Spend some of your recovery time editing them to your liking, and share with your friends, family, and followers on social media. You can even get physical prints made, frame them, and put them on display around your living space -- you know, the old fashioned way. When you reminisce, you're giving yourself a chance to relive those happy moments, and you'll feel the same positive emotions you felt then.
Traveling is intense. You were probably having more eye-opening experiences in a single day than you'd have in a typical month back home. When you return, those new and different experiences come to an abrupt end -- and that can be difficult to unwind from. This restlessness tends to fade away within three to six weeks of your return. In the meantime, take full advantage of it. Get out there. Go on a few day trips or head to local events.
Chances are, you spent a lot of time and effort planning your upcoming trip. As it loomed on the horizon, it was probably all you could think about for a long time. Now that it's behind you, you probably feel at loose ends. The upside to this? You can now focus your energy on a personal endeavor -- perhaps a fitness milestone, a career ambition, or a creative undertaking. It might not be quite as thrilling as travel, but creating smaller goals for yourself and seeing them through will give you great satisfaction.
You might have learned a few things about yourself while you were on your trip. Maybe you don't need to be tethered to your phone 24/7. Perhaps you discovered some amazing new foods. Travel opens your eyes and forces you to see the world from a brand new perspective. Make sure you don't lose your newfound worldliness. Instead, make it a part of your everyday life. Learn to cook the foods you loved. Decorate your house with souvenirs. Read books, listen to music, or watch movies and TV shows from the place you visited. Just because you left a place, doesn't mean you have to leave it all behind.
Part of the heartbreak of returning home is having nothing to look forward to anymore. It might sound crazy to start daydreaming about your next trip as soon as you get home, but thinking ahead does a world of good for your spirits. Start small by scoping out places to go. Once you've figured out the location, start working on a budget to make it a reality. Set a goal to book your next trip within six months. You'll be cheered up by the simple fact that before too long, you'll be on vacation once again.