There’s no better feeling than being on vacation but, try as I might, I can’t stay on vacation 24/7/365. For that reason, I’ve come up with a plan so I can maintain the good vibes I feel while I’m traveling — even though, eventually, I must go home.
Here’s how I do it and how you can feel good, even though your trip is (very sadly) over:
Delay Your Re-Entry into the Real World
One of the worst things you can do is come back from vacation on a Sunday night and hop back into real life on Monday morning. I’ll talk more about paring down your post-vacation workload later, but it’s important to take it easy in general once you’re back home.
Try and return from vacation on a Saturday if you have to work on Monday. That gives you plenty of time to get your house in order, restock your groceries, meal prep, catch up on Netflix… whatever you need to do before a real week. You’ll appreciate having a transition day between vacation life and real life, I promise.
Ease Back into Work
Do not — I repeat, do not — leave yourself a big pile of work before you leave for vacation. I schedule all of my big meetings for before my departure date and set big deadlines for the days and weeks leading up to it, too. That way, when I get back, my schedule will be much less heavy. It’ll be hard enough to go back to work after lounging on a beach, but if I slowly scale up your workload, I’m able to ease back in with that vacation smile still intact.
Clean Up and Organize, Too
You probably walked into your hotel room and felt oddly refreshed by the lack of clutter and accessories — I always feel the same way. Sleeping in a sleek, modern space reminds me of how much I really do appreciate simpler living and simpler working.
So, before I go on vacation, I make a point to clean up and organize my desk and my living space. I put away my clothes, wipe down surfaces, file papers away… anything to make everything look tidy for me when I return. A clutter-free space reduces stress, and the last thing I need after a great, de-stressing holiday is that.
Pick Up a Habit Known to Boost Good Vibes
If you’re not feeling the good vibes, you might have to make them yourself. After my last trip, I just couldn’t keep my happiness levels as high as they were before I left, so I did a little bit of research. Turns out, a workout can boost your endorphins and make you feel good. So, I started hitting the gym three times a week to maintain my moods after an incredible trip.
You can try other hobbies: journaling, meditating, cooking, yoga… find something that makes you feel good and dedicate a little extra time to it after your vacation so that you keep that smile as long as possible post-travel.
Revel in the Memories
Your co-workers and friends might not appreciate it if you go on, and on, and on about your vacation. But I’ve found that I light up post-vacation if given the chance to talk about my trip. Of course, I keep it short and sweet, but whipping out my phone and swiping through a few pictures won’t hurt anyone, and I’ll get a flash of the fun I just had while I was away.
I also always make a vacation playlist of all my favorite songs of the moment mixed with a few oldies. Create your own to play on your trip and then, once you are home, listen to it when you’re feeling post-travel blues. I promise, you will feel those relaxed vibes flooding right back: the power of music over our mood is real.
No Matter What, Prepare
These may not be the right way for you to feel your best during and after your trip. But they’ve worked for me, and I hope they’re effective next time you’re feeling the post-travel blues. If you find they’re not quite right, don’t fret: the most important step to take is to prepare for the way you’ll feel post vacation and have a plan in place that works for you to put that smile back where it belongs.