Some studies show that vacations can leave you worse off than not if you don’t prepare and plan for your return to “normal” life. As much as I love and promote all travel experiences, it can be enormously stressful to return home. I find that it is easy to fall off the track feeling disorganized and more stressed out. Don’t let the anxiety of getting back into the swing of things take away from your recent fabulous vacation. There is no magic formula to seamlessly changeover to your work, home, and life routine, but these are my personal tips to staying energized and positive after travel and vacation.
10 Tips for Getting Back Into the Routine After Vacation
MAKE A PLAN Write out a list of all the tasks at hand. It is beneficial to categorize the importance of each task by creating a priority list–high, medium, and low. Before I leave on a trip, I make a list to later make changes and additions when I arrive home. Use a Bullet Journal, Wunderlist or Evernote smartphone apps, or simple Excel worksheet to organize your list.
RETURN A DAY EARLY If possible, plan to arrive home a day before you need to go back to work or school. Canceled flights, delays, and missed connections can easily disrupt plans to resume your routine.
ASK FOR HELP Whether it is your significant other, your kids, your friends, or your co-workers, do not be afraid to ask for a helping hand to lighten up the load. I’m happy to return the favor to someone in the future. First day back is the most difficult so don’t schedule too much too soon and delegate some of those tasks!
DON’T MULTITASK In my experience, if I try to do too much at the same time, I end up getting more stressed than I need to be decreasing my productivity. Instead, face each task one by one because once items start crossing off the list, you start to feel the momentum. I use and recommend the “power hour” method. Take your list of things to do, set an alarm for 1 hour and work for that hour without any distractions by turning off your phone, internet, TV, e-mail, etc. It’s amazing how much gets accomplished when you are focused, fast, and furious! Plus, there is a time limit on the “power hour” so the end point relieves pressure of an endless list of daunting tasks.
EXERCISE Getting back into my fitness routine is my highest priority. I lace up my sneakers and get my body moving. I often feel very sluggish after flying and unmotivated and bloated from feasting on delicious food and drink. Even if I really don’t feel like getting in a sweat session, I know I will feel a hundred times better afterwards. When you least feel like exercising is the moment you need it the most. I don’t set super high expectations for the best workout of my life, but you need to start!
NUTRITION Vacation and travel involves some overindulging by eating out and drinking alcohol. Resuming my nutritious diet and healthy habits are the keys to my success in getting back into my “feel good” routine. Prepare healthy meals at home and avoid eating at restaurants. Trust me, your body and mind will thank you and be much happier!
CATCH UP WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS Share your travel stories and experiences with your family and friends by highlighting your favorite sights, foods, and adventures–especially the amusing ones! Create an online photo book or post your content to various social media outlets celebrating your special vacation. Also, take time to ask about them! Catch up on the stuff you missed while being away. Keep in mind others may not be as excited as you are about your recent trip so don’t be overkill by knowing your audience!
SLEEP Schedule 7-8 hours of sleep a night. This is a widespread rule even when you are not returning from vacation. Proper sleep and recovery are the secret ingredients for great health and boatloads of energy and productivity. Generally, people do not get enough sleep. I set an alarm for bed and an alarm to wake up. Here is a great article on tips to get better sleep.
REFLECTION Reflecting and appreciating your travel and time away from home is so important! Beat the post vacation blues by making a cup of tea and going through your treasured pictures and videos. Do some simple meditations on gratitude for the new travel experiences and how you are growing as an individual.
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE Keep your thoughts positive and avoid dwelling on all the things you shoulda, coulda, woulda! Yes, it is easy to feel guilty about outstanding tasks, overindulging in food and drink, and not sticking to your typical routine, but we are human! Focus on today, your plan of attack, and start checking things off your list. MOST importantly, start dreaming, plotting, and planning your next trip!