As the last remnants of adventure fade away and you find yourself back in the rigmarole of daily life, it’s completely normal to experience post-vacation blues.
Vacations should be a time for relaxing and recharging your soul. Unfortunately, it’s often ruined by returning home to a messy house, an overflowing inbox and a looming sensation of guilt from taking time off in the first place.
Why is it that we tend to plan as many activities as possible during our trip, causing us to often return home frazzled and in need of another vacation?
While this is highly relatable, it’s not ideal. Instead of feeling rejuvenated from your time away, you’re battling post-vacation blues. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
With a little planning and preparation, you can go away without a care in the world and return home feeling equally carefree. So, it’s time to change the narrative and enjoy post-vacation bliss.
Nine Tips to Avoid Post-Vacation Blues
The vicious cycle ends now. These nine tips shed light on what to do before, during and after your vacation to help avoid post-vacation blues. You can thank us later.
What to Do Before You Leave
Before you head off on your trip, there are a few key things you should do to avoid post-vacation blues. Accomplishing these small tasks will greatly impact how you feel upon your return.
1. Set expectations at work
Set up your email auto-responder properly. If possible, direct people to someone else in your absence. If this isn’t an option, set the expectation that response times will be longer than usual upon your return while you catch up.
If you work in an office setting, take some time before your vacation to set boundaries. One of the best ways to decrease emails is to simply ask people to stop hitting reply all. Having your coworkers remove your name from email threads while you’re away will result in far less emails.
Another great way to keep a cleaner inbox is to request that people stop sending you acknowledgement or thank you emails. If you sent the email, you trust that it made it to their inbox, no thanks required.
2. Budget appropriately
Coming home to a surprisingly high credit card bill is no fun. In fact, it’s downright stressful so don’t do it to yourself. Before you head out the door and throw caution to the wind every time you see the cutest handmade souvenir, set a realistic budget for your trip. And then stick to it.
A great way to budget during a trip is to take out cash instead of using your credit card for smaller purchases. Set a souvenir or entertainment budget for the trip and bring that amount of cash with you.
3. Clean your home before you leave
If you’ve ever made the mistake of coming back home to a messy home, then you know what we’re talking about. It’s the worst. Take time to tidy the kitchen, do laundry and put clean sheets on your bed.
You’ll be grateful you did. This will help you to avoid a feeling of dread. You’ll feel relieved when you swing open the door to a clean and welcoming home.
What to Do During Your Vacation
Remember that it’s normal to feel a bit down after a vacation. By incorporating these strategies while traveling, you can make the transition smoother.
4. Bring supplements with you
Vacations are a great time to try exotic new foods and sample local delicacies. However, your stomach might not agree with you. Bring probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your body acclimate to these new foods.
Other helpful supplements to bring include electrolytes and greens. We all tend to overindulge a little on vacation and that’s okay. Be prepared by bringing reinforcements with you. The additional vitamins will help to keep you feeling healthy and energetic.
5. Listen to your body
We have a tendency to overdo it when we’re on vacation. Try to find the balance between doing everything and nothing so you aren’t exhausted after your vacation. Your body may want to rest instead of doing 15,000 steps of sightseeing.
During a one-week vacation, a good balance is to rest for three of the days and plan activities for the other four days. We often need to rest when we finally take a break from life and work.
If you find yourself feeling guilty for sleeping in on vacation, it’s time to stop that behavior. Give yourself permission to rest for a few days during your vacation and you’ll come home much more refreshed. Enjoy lounging poolside with a margarita and nothing else on the agenda.
6. Find the balance between routine and indulgence
Our routines tend to go out the window when we are on vacation. Unfortunately, this can lead to a mindset of overindulgence, followed by guilt. You’re on vacation so cut yourself some slack. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you.
Instead of forcing yourself to use the hotel gym, go snorkelling, take a hike or enjoy a surfing lesson. By participating in new and adventurous activities, you are not only enjoying the outdoor playground of your destination, but you’re also getting in a workout.
When it comes to eating, there also needs to be balance. If you forgo your healthy eating habits for your entire vacation, you will most certainly return home feeling sluggish.
A great tip, especially when eating at a buffet, is to start your meal with a salad and end it with a small dessert. Allow yourself to indulge. Just be sure to also include some healthy foods as well.
What to Do When You Return Home
What if you’re home and feeling a little depressed? There are many effective ways to lessen post-vacation blues when you get home.
7. Be gentle with yourself
Whatever you do, don’t come home and step on the scale the next day. You’d be setting yourself up for disappointment, guilt and frustration.
If you do return home refreshed from your time away, let’s try and keep it that way. Hide the scale until you’ve had a chance to return to your normal routine.
8. Ease back into your normal life
Go easy on yourself and slowly return to working out instead of going full force immediately. Post-vacation blues can occur if you rush back into your normal routine too soon. Allow yourself a few days to settle back in without feeling guilty.
If you follow the tips for what to do before you leave to avoid post-vacation blues, then this next step will be easier. Since you’ve already set the expectation that email response time will take longer than usual, don’t try to clear your inbox on day one. There’s no need, so take that pressure off yourself.
9. Keep your schedule open
In order to fully appreciate the time we take off for a vacation, it’s best to enjoy a relaxing schedule the week of our return. Returning home refreshed and revitalized won’t last long if you come home to a hectic calendar full of events.
Always remember that taking care of number one (that’s you!) comes first. When you begin planning your vacation, try and leave a few days free from obligations both before and after your trip. If events pop up unexpectedly upon your return, don’t feel guilty about politely declining.
Feel Revitalized Post-Vacation
With the help of these wellness tips, you’ll return home from your next trip feeling invigorated and revitalized. Happy and healthy travels!
About the author: Kathryn Anderson is a travel and wellness expert who runs the award-winning travel blog Coffee and Mascara as well as contributes to a variety of publications as a freelance journalist. This former fitness Instructor shares expert advice on how to infuse balance into traveling so people can enjoy fun and fulfilling vacations without derailing their healthy lifestyle goals. As a wellness travel coach, Kathryn empowers her clients to travel in a healthier way. She sits on the Board of Directors for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association as Social Media Chair.