If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “I need a vacation from my vacation,” this is the post for you. While vacations are great and, I believe, a necessary part of a healthy existence, coming back to real life can be a bit rough. The re-entry process can leave you feeling sick, depressed and plain old cranky. Here are some tips to survive the post-vacation blues:
Plan your return before you leave
Clean the house, do your laundry, wash the dishes and make your bed. The thought of coming home to a disaster area can ruin the last day of your trip and exhaust you before you even un-pack your suitcase. If you cook, prepare and freeze a couple of healthy meals to eat when you get back so you don’t need to go to the market immediately. Or, at the very least, plan some meals so you know exactly what you are going to buy so you’re not tempted to ordering in.
Clear the clutter
If you have someone checking your mail, see if they will throw away all those annoying circulars. It’s maddening enough to come home to a pile of bills without having to sort through useless flyers and junk mail. If you don’t, as soon as you get your mail, toss those and leave the real mail to go through the next day. Have a basket to leave the mail in so it’s not in a messy pile on your counter.
Take a mini post-vacation vacation
Whenever possible try to plan your return on a day when you will have the following day or even the following two days off (i.e. return on a Friday night if you work M-F). Plan to do something relaxing the day you get back if it is early enough, or do it the day after. A massage, yoga or even going to the gym just to use the steam room… spend some time alone (even if it’s ten minutes in the morning and before bed) to write in a journal, meditate or organize your digital photos.
Take your vitamins and hydrate like crazy
We tend not to eat like we normally do (or should) on vacation, so you may want to consider taking a multi-vitamin on your trip if you don’t already take one. Drink as much water as you can during your trip and if you don’t, plan on drinking a ton of it in the days after you return. Add a little fresh-squeezed lemon to your water for an extra dose of vitamin C.
Eat your veggies
Try to eat as clean as possible after you return. Add more greens to your diet in the form of salads, juices and smoothies. Not only will you get your daily dose of nutrients, you’ll get some extra energy from green juices and smoothies. If you can’t make your own juices or smoothies, opt for fresh-made or cold-pressed over pasteurized. If you don’t have time to make a salad, or simply don’t want to, hit up the salad bar at your local market, but skip the dressing and cheese and opt for healthy fats like avocado and olive oil with some lemon juice as your dressing. Really try to skip the processed foods as much as possible.
If you can’t take a day or two off post-vacay, ease back into your normal routine. If you’re like me, it’s normally go-time at 6am. If you must get right back into it, see if there aren’t some things you can skip, delegate or reschedule. Diving back into a full-throttle routine can leave you exhausted and ripe for the post-trip blues.
But don’t slow down too much
Make sure to incorporate some light exercise right away, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block.
Hopefully, following some or all of these tips will leave you feeling refreshed and recharged after your vacation instead of wishing you were still there!
Jessica Kuiken is a Certified Pilates Instructor based in Los Angeles. You can follow her on Twitter.