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Sometimes our vacations are spontaneous, but most of the time they are carefully thought out. In fact, one of my favorite parts of booking a vacation is all the planning and anticipation that comes with it. The further out it’s booked, the more I can daydream, prepare, and get excited! The time leading up to a vacation can make the vacation that much more enjoyable because I’m just so ready for it.
And then coming home is rough. I know the post-vacation blues all too well. I believe I’ve been a victim of post-vacation blues since I was a kid, but didn’t realize that it was a real thing until later in life. I’ve traveled around the world and loved it so much that when I came home I went into a legit depression for a few days. It can be all too easy to just check out from life and be bummed about my normal routine. Getting back from a vacation can simply be depressing, overwhelming, and sad.
Luckily, over time, I’ve learned that I can battle the post-vacation blues in healthy ways. Personally, I have to make a game plan before I even leave on vacation. And while the battle varies whether it’s a weekend getaway or an adventure abroad, knowing my plan is part of the recovery.
PREPARE BEFORE YOU GO
Before leaving on your vacation, whether it’s a quick weekend trip or four weeks long, prepare for your arrival home before you leave! This might sound like one extra thing to worry about on your packing list, but it’s a huge help in battling those post-vacation blues.
When we’re heading out of town we prep our home like we’re having guests coming over. We do all the cleaning that we don’t want to deal with when we return. So for us, we dust, vacuum, clean the dishes/empty the dishwasher, do all the laundry, put clean sheets on the bed, and add fresh towels in the bathrooms. Coming home to a clean home is much better than being greeted by dirty dishes in the sink. If we leave for more than a few nights, we even empty the refrigerator of anything that might go bad while we’re away. When our home is clean, we can just enjoy being there upon our return.
You can even go a step further and take advantage of grocery delivery services or order a box of Hello Fresh to arrive when you return home. [Get $40 off your first box. We’ve tried 4 different services and Hello Fresh is still our favorite!] Grocery shopping can be such a pain after getting familiar with a vacation lifestyle. Whether you choose to pick up your groceries curbside or you have a box of dinners waiting for you at the door, it’s one more thing to check off your list and make life a little easier.
ENJOY THE VACAY!
This seems like a no-brainer, but seriously, leave your worries at home! Now that the vacation has finally arrived, allow yourself to just soak in your surroundings. Be in the moment and remind yourself to have as much fun as possible. The more you can appreciate the vacation while you’re on it, the less you’ll miss it later on. The memories you make, the things you experience, and the fun you have will hold you over during those post-vacation blues.
I love to keep a little journal on vacations and write down things from each day that made me happy. It’s fun to look back on the little things that made me happy during vacation. My husband and I will always talk about our highlights from the trip later on so having little notes of my favorite moments is a great way to reminisce.
PLAN FOR DEPARTURE
Ok, so when you have 24 or 36 hours left of the trip (depending on the length of the vacay) start mentally preparing yourself for going home. Set your alarms a little earlier than the other days, slowly start packing, and start thinking of things you miss from home. By the end of any trip, I miss my own bed and that will start building some excitement for our return home.
As you pack everything up from vacay, put all of the dirty clothes in a packing cube or two so that they’re together. [I like these packing cubes, but there are so many to choose from nowadays.] This makes unpacking and laundry a total breeze instead of a chore. You’ll be organized as soon as you open your suitcase and you’ll know what to put away and what to wash. The less time it takes to unpack, the more time you can enjoy being home again.Vacation Tip: Use packing cubes to organize your clean and dirty laundry. It makes unpacking so much easier! #beatthepostvacationbluesClick To Tweet
COMING HOME ROUTINE
Do what works for you, but try to bounce back into a healthy routine. Some people (my husband) unpack and are back on the grind the moment they get home. Other people (me) need a hot minute to recover from the traveling. However, exercise is usually my go-to stress reliever so I like to jump right back into my fitness routine. Just remember that laziness fuels more laziness and activity will fuel more activity. There’s a difference between relaxing and just ignoring your responsibilities.
It might be different for everyone, but here’s what works for us. If we come back on a Wednesday or Thursday, we can start work the very next day. This gets us right back into our daily routine while allowing us to adjust to a short work week before giving ourselves the weekend off again. That makes the following Monday so much easier. If we fly home on a Sunday after a long trip, we give ourselves a day to recover from jet-lag and travel stress. I would rarely suggest going back to work on a Monday after a big trip. The shock of a Monday after two days off for the weekend can be overwhelming, but add in the post-vacation blues and it could be so much more depressing.
Even if you love what you do, post-vacay blues can be real. When you do arrive home, give yourself a moment to relax. Self-care will be your best friend and because your home is already clean, you can take the time to take care of yourself.Laziness fuels more laziness. Activity fuels more activity. #beatthepostvacationbluesClick To Tweet
START PLANNING YOUR NEXT TRIP
If post-vacation blues are still creeping up and getting the best of you, it’s time to start planning your next trip. Like, immediately. The trip could be months down the road or just a dream, but planning it will start releasing that same excitement that you carried with you before this vacation.
But don’t book another vacation simply for the booking “high”. Just plan. Start dreaming of another destination, research things to do, and when you may want to go. If you need an immediate pick-me-up, be a tourist in your own town! I’ve had plenty of weekends where I lay on the beach in my hometown as much as I would on vacation. Visiting new restaurants and going to local attractions like museums or parks will help you appreciate your home just as much as a vacation.
I’ve learned that coming back from a trip doesn’t have to suck. Reality can be just as sweet as vacation and when you’re prepared, it can be an easy transition. Following these steps has helped me mentally prepare for the end of any vacation. I no longer spend days in a funk or sulk after one trip ends. Instead, I spend more time appreciating everything I have at home and the time I get to spend in my usual routine.
Have you ever been a victim of post-vacation blues?
Tell me what works for you!