Getting away is blissful — coming home, not so much; unpacking, laundry, catching up on emails, ugh. Don’t despair. That super-bored feeling you get after a great holiday is totally fixable. Need some help easing back into everyday life? Try these clever, sanity-saving moves.
Shorten Your First Week Back at Work
Book your return for a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday so that your first week back in the office is an abbreviated one. All you have to do is get through a few days, and then you’ve got the weekend to recharge.
Plan your next trip
Part of the heartbreak of returning home from a holiday is having nothing to look forward to on the horizon. Fix that by planning your next trip. Even if hopping onto another plane isn’t realistic just yet, you can start small by scoping out possible places to go. Once you’ve got the location down, decide how you’ll budget for the trip. Knowing the exact steps you’ll need to take to make the vacation a reality will make the time go by even faster.
Create something smaller to look forward to
Another fun aspect of going on a trip is all the planning that goes into it. Channel that energy into a new endeavor, be it a career goal, a personal fitness record, or a community service achievement. It might not be quite the same as international travel, but you’ll get the satisfaction of creating a plan and seeing it through to completion.
Re-establish a regular sleep schedule
Combine late nights out on the town with early mornings of sightseeing, and you’re bound to experience a bit of fatigue. Add jet lag to the mix and you’ll feel totally spent. Don’t spend your first night home rehashing your adventure with friends; go to sleep. The sooner you get back on a regular schedule, the better you’ll feel.
Use memories of your trip to reduce stress
Several studies have found that picturing yourself in a happy moment could help you feel better in the present one. The next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, turn your trip into a meditation. Find a quiet place and recreate a favorite 10-minute memory from your holiday. Add as many details as possible — dialogue, background noise, scents, tastes, and sensations. You’ll find inner calm and keep vivid memories of your trip.
Reassess the ordinary
“A well-established fact of international travel is the interesting mental phenomenon of de-realization,” writes Psychology Today. Most travelers recognize the sensation. “You feel as though your surroundings are not quite real,” they continue. “In a new place different from home there are so many stark and under-the-radar differences that, when absorbed by your sensorium for the first few hours or days, a dissociation from your usual conscious and unconscious expectations emerge.” So what’s a person to do once they return home? Channel those feelings of novelty into your ordinary life by choosing to see old things with greater appreciation. If it’s hard to put yourself in that state of mind, imagine your hometown as it must look through the eyes of a tourist.
Take advantage of your restlessness
Perhaps your vacation made you realize how much you enjoy being out and about more often. Take advantage of it by heading out to local events you might like. Most are free or low-cost, and almost all of them will help you see your city in a new light. Festivals, book readings, community theater events, and local art galleries are great places to start.
Share with people who care
While you don’t want to subject coworkers and acquaintances to endless vacation photos, there are certainly a few people who’d love to see them. Start with the people you went on the trip with or people you met in your travels. You might also swap stories with a friend who’s visited the same place.
Organize your memories
Upload your photos onto the computer and create a folder of memories for your trip. This will allow you to make sure your pictures actually get off your phone or camera and that you get to spend some quality time with them. If you’re feeling ambitious, print a few (or send them out to be printed) and tack a favorite shot to your bulletin board. Feeling particularly inspired? Write captions for your digital photo album or pen a journal entry about your trip.
Do Some Prep Work
Before you leave for vacation, clean the house as thoroughly as you can. Put stuff away, make the beds, vacuum floors, empty trash cans. Coming back to a spotless home is a mood saver — it helps you feel instantly organized and ready to jump back into reality.