by: Georgina Berbari
By far the worst part about vacation is the part where you’re on the plane or car ride home, realizing with a sense of dread that you have to start thinking about real life responsibilities again. *Shudders*. Who invented adulting, anyway? Can’t we all be in a perpetual state of OOO auto-replies and beach infused bliss 24/7? I think it’s safe to say that many people would be thrilled if that glorious “unplugged” and disconnected feeling you get on vacation lasted forever, but unfortunately, real life awaits and the post-travel blues are often very real.
While you’re traveling your brain conveniently forgets the meaning of “routine” and you adapt to whatever leisurely schedule your heart desires (which lets be real, quite frankly rocks). But as your jet-setting comes to an end, routine starts to impatiently poke you on the shoulder, nagging you to give all the duties you’ve set aside for a week or so your undivided attention ASAP.
Getting back into a routine after vacations, festivals, retreats, and the like isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be efficiently done. Sure, you could wait it out, embracing sluggishness and being a sloth-like version of yourself for a week after you return from your travels — refusing to unpack, ignoring your inbox, neglecting sleep, and all-together pretending that your bloated and sluggish post-getaway state doesn’t exist. Trust me, I’ve been there. But the truth is that procrastinating will just leave you feeling even ickier in the long run and wishing you had gotten back into the swing of things sooner. Bouncing right back, settling in, and embracing day-to-day routine after traveling is important.
So with most of our Summer vacations now behind us, here are six ways to ease back into things without feeling overwhelmed and overworked — and, yes, while still holding on to some of those glorious 3-day-weekend vibes in the process.
Hopefully, before you left for your vacation you turned on out-of-office replies on your work email. There’s nothing worse than returning to a slew of angry emails from people wondering where you are and why you’re not answering them in a timely manner. If you notified people what dates you wouldn’t be available, you won’t be returning to that much of a monstrosity of messages in your inbox. But there are still likely are a myriad of emails that need catching up on which could provoke some stressful thoughts and unrealistic pressure on yourself. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have to get everything done at once. Take a deep breath and arrange the messages into folders based on urgency, and give yourself a couple of days to get back up to speed. Maybe if you have a long plane-ride back, you could consider starting the inbox organization process then. Give yourself a realistic timeline in regards to email catch-up and try to stick to it so you don’t feel like you’re drowning in virtual responsibility. You’ve got this.
It’s pretty common that upon returning from vacation you’re going to feel like you casually transformed into the close relative of a water buffalo in terms of bodily sluggishness. More likely than not, you immersed yourself in the full experience of traveling by trying new foods, indulging in tasty drinks, and probably slacking on your overall water consumption. Good for you — live it up, friend! But now that you’re home, your body might be crying out for some TLC. Make sure you’re nourishing yourself with balanced and healthy meals, packing in the greens, and staying super hydrated throughout the day so that you’ll soon be relieved of those major water buffalo feels.
On that note, exercise works wonders for post-vaca lethargy as well! Pick your favorite form of joyful movement and get to it, sweating out every last ounce of jet lag or crappy airplane food left in your body. A yoga sequence to stretch your muscles will do amazing things for your physical and mental state, so don’t be shy when it comes to rolling out your mat and flowing your heart out. Going for a jog, hitting the gym, or even simply walking around the block if it’s nice out are all incredible options, too. Soon, you’ll feel ready to conquer all that you have to take on with the help of some awesome feel-good endorphins coursing through your body.
Too often, the importance of sleep gets brushed aside and only once we’re overly cranky, moody, exhausted, and burnt out do we ask ourselves: what is wrong with me? Even still, sleep isn’t taken into consideration, but getting the proper amount of shut-eye can be the “magical” cure to a lot of things in life. Upon returning from vacation, make sure you prioritize sleep. If you don’t, you might start blaming everything else in your life for your internal chaos, when really all you need is a blissful night of slumber.
Personally, when I come back from traveling I feel like I’m coming down from a high. When I’m sitting at home or at work the next day, I feel so sad and honestly, I used to completely judge myself for it. Nowadays, I’m gentle with myself when I come down with a case of the post-travel blues. I make sure to remind myself that it’s normal to fall into a mini-funk in the midst of a change of pace, and that it’ll pass in a few days. All things in life are temporary, and making sure to stay consistent with my meditation practice helps me ride the waves of change post-vaca — maybe it’ll help you, too.
Inhale deeply, exhale fully. Then, repeat. Breathing into your belly and slowing it down post-vacation is so important for your mental health in general. Set reminders on your phone to take actual breathing breaks throughout the day. A few deep, expansive breaths can go a long way in relieving pent-up tension that you didn’t even know you were holding. Drop into the present moment and remind yourself it’s exactly where you need to be. Embrace home base and groundedness, until your next vacation that is.
Georgina writes about health, wellness, and fitness for Elite Daily to empower women to nurture their innate strength. When she's not writing, she teaches yoga + meditation, tries to keep her plants alive, laughs at dad jokes, and runs the Instagram page @thelittleflowerpetal.