So I just got back from vacation in Seattle, and I had the most amazing time! It was so breathtakingly beautiful and I’m so happy that I ventured to that part of the country (the Pacific NW), somewhere I’d never been before. I saw wildlife & amazing scenery (including a hike up Mt. Rainier) and enjoyed some of the freshest seafood! I feel like my mind finally had a chance to relax…
It’s interesting because in the week leading up to the vacation I was in busy mode, like let’s see how productive I can be before I leave. Since I’m such a planner, this contributes to that mindset. What I ended up doing was spending hours and hours planning for the vacation AND for the days right after I return. So of course I had the standard laundry and dishes to do (coordinating of the mail and puppy-sitting) but I also spent hours doing some Extra Credit: cleaning the whole house, washing the sheets & towels, and making batches of breakfast and dinners. Too many times I’ve come back from vacation and had that feeling of hitting a wall, the instant that your “vacay brain” goes out the window and with a thud you realize all the crap you have to do (at work, at home, at school, you name it). What if you could ease back in? It would be like the difference between waking up to your favorite song on your alarm or to someone pouring a bucket of ice water on you.
I’ll take the favorite song approach, thank you. It’s rare that we get to shut down the way we do on vacation and I invite that lazy, slow moving “I’m not from here” pace because it’s so important to reset every now and then. Plus it frees up brain space so you can fully enjoy and be 100% present in where you are!
So this mindset may stem from years working in the accounting, but basically I wanted to make sure that I had everything in place so that when I come back from vacation I don’t have to worry about 1) immediately going grocery shopping or 2) that I have nothing to wear because I avoided all that laundry before I left or 3) my house smells because I forgot to do the dishes, take the trash out, empty produce from the fridge….you get the picture. For some of us, it’s so hard to disconnect long enough to get that calm vacation feeling, so wouldn’t it be nice to keep that calm feeling for a little bit longer, sort of an easier way back into transition.
Some of the discomfort transitioning back to “real life” is unavoidable, but there are things that you can do ahead of time to make it easier to come back. Sort of extend the mental vacation if you will, keep the calmness and preserve the clarity that you gained when you were on vacation. I have a couple tips that have always helped me and came in handy with this last vacation to Seattle J
Tips for a Shock-proof Homecoming
1st– Try to have at least two days worth of meals on hand and prepared before you leave for vacation. This is easier than it sounds because there’s a lot of meals that you can make in bulk, divide up and put in the freezer or snacks that you have on hand. Head to the grocery store before you leave and make sure that you have some nonperishable items on hand as well. This ensures that you’re not stressing out about what you can eat since you probably already spent your entire vacation time eating out, so it is nice to come home and have some options. You won’t have to continue that cycle of eating out.
2nd– Tidy up your living space as much as possible! Now I know this sounds really annoying because chances are you’re probably running around really busy getting ready for vacation; tying up loose ends at work, coordinating everything, but this makes such a huge difference! It’s amazing how much better you feel when you walk into a house after you been on vacation and the bathrooms are clean, there’s no dirty dishes in the sink, and your sheets are fresh. After staying in a hotel for a week, what’s better than your own bed? Your own bed with clean sheets!
3rd– I recommend having all of your laundry done, folded & put away before you leave for vacation. Some people already do this because their packing process involves going through the whole. Best case scenario is that you’ve (only) built-up a week’s worth of laundry, but that quickly worsens as you spend time catching up everywhere else as you wear mismatched socks staring at 3 full laundry baskets… Try to make it so the only clothes you have to wash are the ones you pull out of your suitcase.
4th– This one has to do with your refrigerator. Purge and throw out all your leftovers that will go bad by the time your return. This includes any fresh produce + any refrigerated leftovers + anything that is going to create a mess if you leave it in there untouched. Doing this will make sure that your house not only smells better when you return but you’ll have less to worry about!
5th– Enjoy! As soon as you close that door behind you en route to the airport you can relax. You can be really present and focus on all the enjoyment that lies ahead of you. Sit back and know that you don’t have to worry about pulling a Home Alone moment (you forgot to close the garage door, you left the candle on, or you left your middle schooler home, alone). You’ll be prepared for your transition back to real life by putting in the time ahead of time.
Most of us veer from our healthy routine when on vacation. This can be a great thing: a break from your routine + exposure to new and different foods at restaurants you’ve never been + different types of relaxation (when you’re not worried about getting in your daily run).
In a study by Trip Advisor 29 % of vacationers noted that they gained weight due to an abundance of food and beverage temptations. In addition, a third of all respondents said they planned to start a diet once they returned home. Avoid this roller coaster by easing your way back into “real life” when you get home from vacation. Be prepared and then feel great about your healthy choices! Remember, real success is about the long-term commitment. So don’t be too hard on yourself for (gasp) enjoying vacation! Let loose! Recharge those batteries! Lose the guilt and instead just accept it, move on, and get back into your routine.
Have any tips that work for you? Let us know in the comments, what works and what doesn’t! If you enjoyed your vacation but are finding it difficult to get back on track, shoot us an email at email@example.com and we’ll work with you to get back where you want to be!
Live your WHOLE life,
Shannon + Meg