9 Ways to Get Over Your Post-Vacation Blues

By Paul Michael on 5 September 2017 0 comments

There's something that every vacation has, and it's something we cannot avoid: an end. After all the planning, the shopping, the traveling, the fun nights out, the wonderful weather, and the incredible food, it's time to come home. And for many, the first step back into the house can bring some serious post-vacation depression. But it doesn't have to be that way. Follow these tips and you can avoid that vacation letdown for good.

1. Plan extra days off before you return to work

Before you even go on vacation, make sure you give yourself at least a couple of days at home before you have to go back to the office. It's hard to fault people squeezing every last drop of vacation time at a resort or holiday destination, but if you don't plan ahead and give yourself downtime when you return, you will really feel the blues. So if you're planning a week off to a sunny destination, add a couple of extra days to your vacation request. You may think you're wasting it by being at home. However, going back to work after getting back to the house the night before is a surefire way to feel the night-and-day of vacation versus work.

2. Tackle as many to-do items as you can before leaving

Make sure you have as much done as possible at work before leaving the office for your vacation. That means finishing up projects, delegating to co-workers, and reminding people well ahead of time that you will be gone. Set up out-of-office messages on your phone and email accounts, and tell people that issues will be addressed as soon as possible after you return. The last thing you want to do is come back from a lazy vacation to a bunch a fires that need to be put out. The same goes for your home life, too. Don't leave anything until your return that can be dealt with before you leave. From chores to bills, the less you have to deal with, the smoother your transition will be. (See also: How to Go on Vacation Without Getting Behind on Work)

3. Organize your home for the return

Before you leave, you're excited, energetic, and ready to take on the world. You have that pre-vacation buzz. But coming back home, that person is gone. In their place, is someone worn out from travel. Do your tired self a favor before you leave, and get the house ready. Clean as much as you can. Do the laundry. Make the beds. Get all the dishes cleaned and put away. Coming home to a disorganized home will just add to your stress. Coming home to something clean and tidy, with a pristine bed ready to be slept in will make you feel so much better.

4. Prepare yourself before you come home

This is important. A lot of people have this attitude of "I'm not even thinking about that until I'm back from vacation." To be fair, a vacation is time away from the stresses and strains of everyday life, so bringing them with you may seem futile. But if you work out daily, and have been giving yourself a break, get in a workout at the hotel. If you were putting off thinking about grocery shopping, or bills that need paying, start to prepare a list on the flight home. By doing this, you are not suddenly faced with a list of items that must all be addressed at once. (See also: 7 Ways to Avoid Getting Seriously Sick on Vacation)

5. Ease into the daily grind gradually

When you get back home, you can be tempted to dive right back into the chores and routines that you wanted to leave behind for a week or two. Instead, make a list of the items you need to address, and which ones are important versus which ones can wait. Do you really have to do three loads of laundry on the first night home? Why not just unpack a few essentials, order some takeout, and relax with a movie or TV show for the night? Don't put undue pressure on yourself to stop the vacation the second you open the front door. A few days of gentle transition will really help.

6. Take some time to go over photos and memories

It used to take hours, or days, to get the photos of your trip developed at the local photo kiosk. These days, you have your entire collection of photographs instantly on hand, and ready to be screened on the 50-inch TV in the family room. The day after you get back, make a point of going through the great memories of your vacation. Prepare a few snacks and drinks, and flip through your photos leisurely. Don't rush it. If there are friends and family around, share your experiences. What was funny? What sucked in the moment, but can be laughed about now? This is all part of the process of truly enjoying the vacation after the fact.

7. Bring some of the vacation back with you

Just because you're no longer on vacation doesn't mean you can't do some of the things you did while you were away. Did you visit a place that served up wonderful local cuisine? Try to recreate it at home. If there was a certain kind of music that you listened to on your adventures, look it up and make a playlist. Smells are important, too. You can find candles and oils in thousands of different scents. When you're in the bathtub, sipping the same wine or beer you had on vacation, listening to the same sounds, smelling the same smells … it's like a transporter beam back to the holiday you just had.

8. Don't forget the souvenirs

Just like photographs, souvenirs can be wonderful reminders of the good times you had on your vacation. Most of the time, we buy goodies for our family and friends, but don't think about ourselves. Make a point of bringing something small, but meaningful, home from your vacation just for you. It doesn't have to cost a lot; it could even be a shell from the beach, or a trinket from a tourist shop. Put it on display on your desk at work, or on the nightstand. Every time you see it, it will bring back great memories for you.

9. Start planning your next vacation soon

After a few days, start looking forward to your next vacation. It may be a few months away, or the same time next year, but beginning the planning process now can take the sting out of returning from a well-earned break. Do you want to go back to the same place again? Do you want to venture to a different place? Or do something really out of the box? Just by thinking about it, you get back into that excited state you were in before your vacation started. And it also gives you plenty of time to save for the vacation.

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