How to keep that vacation feeling
You’ve just been on a glorious vacation now let’s talk about keeping that ‘joie de vivre’ alive.
There are steps you can take to avoid post vacation anxiety that can build with the knowledge that your amazing trip will be coming to an end. Instead of pushing the feeling to the side, you will already have some steps you’ve taken to make the transition a little bit easier. These ideas cover before, during and after your next trip to ease the post vacation blues. As we begin, it helps to plan ahead so things are less stressful upon arrival. Let’s take a minute to think about what steps you can begin doing sooner than later, knowing the reintroduction back to your everyday life will be softer and gentler.
Before you leave for vacation:
1. Resist the urge to arrive home late the night before you go back to work. We never have enough vacation time so it seems logical when you are booking that trip to take the later flight or stay that extra day or even a few hours. Yup, I’ve done this many times myself and my flight was sometimes delayed, I’d arrive home later than expected feeling rushed, tired and as though there was a giant hand pushing me into a frenetic life. Instead, resist the urge and return a day or two before hand if flying internationally or by mid-afternoon if relatively local. Doing this helps you ease back into things, become mentally prepared and generally ease the transition.
2. At least 2 weeks before your trip, jot down a list items you want to accomplish before you leave. Ensure you don’t use this time to push more onto your plate. Make the list realistic – that room is probably not going to get painted before you leave. Now make another list based on the first, but shorter. On this second list are only items you really need to finish before heading out. Keep in mind some things may be nice to accomplish, but this refined version should have must do items only such as work items with deadlines while you are away, finding your passport, etc. Although this is not a ‘must do’, I highly recommend cleaning up the house before you leave. When it’s tidy as I walk through the door upon returning from my trip it makes the transition much less stressful. Many of us love vacation in part because of the service we get at that hotel. You probably cannot afford your own butler either, but coming home to a comfortable clean place with newly laundered sheets and towels is a good start.
3. Begin taking steps to enjoy your everyday life more. Often these are going to be small things but it may also be a big step. Maybe you go for an evening walk every day, sign up for (and GO) to a class you’ve been thinking about or treat yourself to your favorite café for a few hours on a weekend. This may also include bigger ‘ticket’ items like beginning that job search that you’ve been promising yourself you would do. We’re all busy, but take some time to really enjoy everyday life too! We only live once, right? When I was just recently selling my place, preparing to move, hiring a moving company, working full time and working on the blog, it was busy! By taking time for me and taking a ½ day from time to time to just read or what have you, I was able to plow through everything else. I’m so thankful that is all finished though.
4. Along the same lines, enjoy where you live more! Go See and Do Stuff! Just because you live there doesn’t mean you can’t be a tourist in your own city or area. During a one night staycation I saw parts of NYC I had not yet seen. It does not have to be that drastic. Did you love zip lining while you were on vacation? See what it’s like at home too! Don’t save all the fun items only for vacation.
While you are on vacation:
1. Take pictures of those beautiful spots! What kind imagery do you find the most relaxing? Many of us take pictures of our favorite places or the most beautiful place. Don’t just use them to make your friends jealous of your trip. Use them to relax again. Most people prefer to see the combination of water and green space and it tends to help us be more creative too which is great as we navigate daily life. Consider this when checking out the environs of your next vacation destinations and when choosing imagery for your home and cell phone. It may help you get that vacation feeling back by seeing that tranquil setting again.
2. Is it sometimes difficult to fully relax and let go knowing you will have to return to the scrum of daily life? Keep in mind there are times when we can affect change and times that we cannot. Stick to the things you have control over and make a decision the drop the others. Fully relaxing on you trip flows right into meditation. If you practice regularly even for a short period each day it can help keep you calmer as you go about your day. As you counter and work through anxiety you can actually rewire your brain to be less anxious.
3. Meditate. Take time to feel gratitude for the scenery around you while on vacation and be present in the blissful respite you currently occupy. Spend time meditating while you are on vacation but continue upon return as well. Make this a daily practice if you do not already. It will help you attain that vacation feeling once you return and help keep you calm and seeing the light in your everyday. Helpful hint: smile while practicing this.
4. I’ve touched on this previously that we all have a tendency to let technology fill in the downtime gaps. Be conscious of over use and plan times to disconnect from them if you need to. Don’t only use these times though. If you can, just sit and wait instead of always checking email/Instagram/Facebook.
5. Separate yourself from work. Many of us are accustomed to having work nag at us even while we are off doing fun things. We all need and deserve down time so use it. If you can, turn off your email alerts and only check mail when and as needed. Continue this once you return too. I give out my cell number to special clients, but I let them know it’s my personal phone. I don’t really push it, but it makes them feel special they have this access when really need me and in my experience anyway, they don’t overuse it. Knock on wood is stays that way.
Maybe there are other things you like to do before you go on vacation? Put these items on your list and let me know what they are! I’d love to hear more suggestions and see what you come up with too. Vacations are important for our minds, body and soul. Use the time wisely, enjoy and prepare yourself for your return. You’ll thank yourself later!
Enjoy that next trip you are planning.