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Home After a Great Vacation? How to Get Back to Reality

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Planning a vacation is exciting and an event most people look forward to doing. It is a chance to get away from the daily grind, relax and recharge batteries. From finding the perfect destination to hammering down all the details, many people spend a lot of time invested into careful planning of a trip. After plans are set, often people spend time counting down the days awaiting the day they can head off to paradise.

Credit: PeteLinforth, accessed via Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Finally the big day arrives, but before you know it vacation is over. Easing back to "real life" after vacation can be difficult. With all the time and energy spent pulling your vacation together it probably seems unbelievable the trip is over so quickly. While you had a blast enjoying the time off, suddenly the time comes where you're faced with reality. You'd think getting back to your daily routine would be easy. After all, aren't vacations all about rest and rejuvenation?

While it is true vacations often invigorate and revitalize you, getting back to a normal routine is not always so easy. Sometimes it is pretty difficult getting back into the swing of things. For many people, facing reality leads to a feeling of dampened spirits and perhaps even one of dread.

Seagull landing
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

Vacation time flew - now back to reality. Are you finding getting back to the daily routine not so easy? If so, you aren't alone.

If you find yourself feeling this way after a vacation, you are not alone; it is not uncommon to lack the energy to leap back into the daily routine. The best way to counter the difficulty is to take proactive measures to reduce the negative feelings associated with post-vacation so it makes your return to reality a little less painful.

Plan Your Return

Sounds crazy right? However, one of the best ways to ease yourself back into routine is to be proactive and plan for your return before you leave. If you make some concessions to help ease your adjustment back into your usual schedule, this will help things easier upon your return. The fewer tasks you are faced with after your vacation the less overwhelming your return will feel.

If you have to return to work or school shortly upon your homecoming, you can prep all of your clothing and belongings ahead of time so you don't have to worry about the post-vacation rush in getting back to reality. Also set up all your appointments and away messages. Take care of any other things which need tending to so you aren't overwhelmed when you get back; this will help reduce the number of details you'll need to do upon your return.

Once you've successfully prepped as much as you can, you'll feel less burdened after vacation with a clearer head. If you aren't faced with mountainous tasks when you get back, reality won't seem quite as bad after your vacation.

Leave Normal Routine Behind

Getting back to the norm is inevitable. While you are on vacation do your best to forget about everything else and enjoy the time you are away. If you worry too much about what is going on at the office or in other aspects of your live that you can't control while you're away, this will make your return more difficult. The purpose of going on vacation is to take a break and get away from it all. If you don't allow yourself rest from the normal routines you'll have never really escaped for your getaway.  

One of the best reasons to take a vacation is to recharge your batteries, and if you don't do this during the days you are away it makes a return much more difficult, so forget about it all and enjoy your time away. Shut the Blackberry or phone off (at least mentally turn your phone off for work-related calls and messages) and leave the laptop behind. Just disconnect.

Credit: Xavier Vergés accessed via Flickr/CC by 2.0

Plan an Extra Day

A good way to alleviate any stress or hurried feeling is to plan your vacation where you have a day or two to decompress when you get home. Slide yourself back in to returning. This will give you time to unpack, relax and get prepared to return to work, school or your other responsibilities. While it doesn't sound like much, planning at least a day of unwinding will help you come down from the vacation "high" and literally ease yourself back to reality.

A Slow Return

When you restart your routine try and take an hour or so to look over the work you left behind. If you put yourself under too much duress it can be difficult to readjust to being back. Chances are you'll be hit with demands once people learn you're back, so if you quietly take care of a few details before jumping back in, this makes the transition from vacation to the usual a little easier.

Some good approaches are to first glance through work in progress and refresh your memory where you left off. Mentally organize your pending tasks in order of precedence. Then go your messages and take notes so you can prioritize them and return them accordingly. Lastly grab a cup of your favorite beverage before you dive back in.

Think Positive

Another approach you can try is to think of the cup as being half-full instead of half-empty. Rather than put emphasis on the fact it is time to return to normal routines, try focusing on the wonderful memories you made over your vacation. After all, pretty soon you can start planning your next heavenly getaway. You can also make some changes in your daily routine too. Use your return to start eating better, getting more active or starting a new hobby. 1, 2

A return is certain and there is no getting around that. While it is of value to focus and live in the moment during your vacation, it also helps if you start preparing yourself both physically and emotionally before your return to reality. This will help ease yourself back to your routine after vacation is over.

Plus you can get to planning your next one.



Feb 24, 2016 2:16am
I love getting away for trips, but unlike most people we plan the date of our trip but not the details. We take it as it comes, this way we avoid the stress of having to be at a certain place at a particular time. If we plan then we might meet someone who suggest seeing a great picnic or camp spot and then we cannot go. Without plans we just turn in another direction. Being spontaneous is more fun.

And as for coming home, (as pensioners) we do not have to go back to work. Just dread the thought of what plants have died and all the weeds we might have to get rid of. Plus hoping that our house is still standing. Although we do have house sitters at times. But you just never know. Great article to prepare from your holidays.
Feb 25, 2016 3:47am
Thanks so much shar-On. There is definitely something to be said for spontaneity on vacations :). I like to do a blend, since our time is typically limited. Usually, we'll try to take 2 to 3 days of the week to just see where the day takes us. It depends on where we go though. When we went to Disney, that was tough since everything relies on planning and booking, but we did manage to take a day or two to just wander around the parks.
Feb 26, 2016 4:06am
Yes, it is different with short vacations. Our daughter is a planner but we just do what turns us on
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  1. "After Vacation: Tips to Bounce Back Fast." WebMD. 17/02/2016 <Web >
  2. "7 Ways to Avoid Post-Vacation Depression." Huffington Post. 18/02/2014. 17/02/2016 <Web >

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