I’m sad the week after a vacation. I’m so original, I know.
The thing is, even though this is a pretty cliché problem, I feel like this is the first time I’ve actively tried to combat it. I didn’t eliminate the blues completely, but I think the little bit of effort I put into my Sunday actually really helped me feel better about the whole “You’re back to real life now, sucker!” situation.
If your last vacation of the summer is approaching, here is how you can bounce back quickly right after you return!
1. Find something to look forward to. Well, duh, right? But the trick is finding something immediate to look forward to. Having something two weeks in the future might be enough if it’s something really cool, but If you don’t have anything good going on in the next week, then create something! Before you even leave, schedule a happy hour with a friend for that first Monday back or decide you’re going to start a new workout class that day.
2. Give yourself time to prepare for the week ahead. If your flight is coming in late on Sunday night, you’re going to feel rushed as you get home from the airport, drop your suitcase in the foyer, take one look in the fridge and roll your eyes at your lack of groceries, and pass out without unpacking or removing your make-up. Because that is really going to leave you feeling good on Monday morning. Instead, when planning your trip, give yourself enough time to have a mini “get back to normal” session once you return home. Spending a little time unpacking, doing a load of laundry, and sorting your mail will make you feel a lot better during the coming week.
3. Go directly to the grocery store. Do not pass “Go.” This is similar to #2, but I’ve found that it’s not enough to plan you’re going to get organized when you get back. You really want the bulk of your errands done before you’ve even gotten back to your place. Eric and I have done this after our last two vacations and it’s made a huge difference. We may not feel like it but it’s good to know that once we do get home, we can just be done for the night, and we don’t have to muster up the energy to go back out.
4. Do something you enjoy doing at home. Traveling is awesome, but I’m sure there are things you missed while you were gone, right? Try to do one of those things that first night. Go for a run in your neighborhood or just lay on your own pillow. It will help you appreciate being back.
5. Tell someone about your trip. Coming home can be extra sad if you had to say good-byes at the end, but part of the fun about a trip is telling other people how much fun you had! Call your mom, upload your pics to Facebook, hop on G-chat…do whatever you need to do to share the highlights of your trip with someone else. Looking at your pictures and talking about it will force you to feel happy you went, not sad it’s over.
I felt like after returning from the Ozarks on Sunday night, doing all of these things really helped. I spent the plane ride choosing new meals to make in the upcoming week and I planned to start yoga the first Monday I was back (#1). Once we collected our bags, we headed directly to the grocery store and to Petsmart to pick up the puppies (#2 & #3). Then I got home and I spent a ton of time cooking a huge feast while Eric hung out with the pups (#4). Then I uploaded my pictures and the next day I wrote a blog post about it (#5). I can’t say I’m not a little sad, but I definitely didn’t have a ton of time to feel sorry for myself because I was so busy in the kitchen and so happy to see the pups!
Meanwhile, the pups had some post-vacation blues of their own. This was our first time boarding them, so we didn’t know what to expect. Let me just say that I have never seen two sleepier dogs! Chuck was practically falling asleep as we walked him out of Petsmart. They got home and immediately curled up and wouldn’t budge for hours.
If we moved them slightly or took them outside, they’d come back in and immediately go right back to sleep. It was a little disturbing actually.
According to the Petsmart web site, this is pretty normal, but I think we were torn between feeling bad that they were so exhausted and lethargic and feeling relieved that we were having such a relaxing first night after vacation. But they were pretty mellow yesterday and today too, and I’m kinda getting used to it. I think those two need to go on vacation more often.