Kids can be so wise in their simplicity. If only us grown ups could remember to keep things as simple. On our last family vacation, one of my 5 year olds was having a total meltdown because we were packing for our return home. After speaking with his Mama for a few minutes he came to find me in the pool and said, “Mommy, I’d hate to say this. I’d really hate to say this. Going on vacation is the best! But going home is the worst.” After nodding in agreement and sharing a moment of solidarity, I invited him in the pool one last time. But his words got me thinking about how hard it is sometimes to return home. And, maybe there are some ways to make the transition easier, for everyone.
4 Tried and true ways to make the return from vacation easier
- Everyone’s favorite word… PREPARATION. Before you leave on vacation, give your home a good clean, don’t leave dishes out, get all that laundry done, mow the grass, etc. You’ll feel much better knowing when you get home there’s no tasks waiting for you. And for the love of God, pack light. (That’s for me)
- If possible, leave a day in between your return home and your return to normalcy. This day provides a buffer to reacclimate to your home environment and get you’re your head right before jumping back into it. I look at it as a way to ease back into the pool of life.
- Once your daily routine is set to resume, try to keep your schedule light. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t book any appointments, meetings, or schedule additional tasks onto your typical day. Just perform the basics. This will help from feeling overtaken by the daily grind and maybe keep that relaxing vacation vibe in your bones a little longer.
- Look forward to your next trip! Routinely take time off. I cannot stress this enough. I worked years only taking one full week of vacation every summer and was miserable. I thought the responsible thing to do was save my PTO hours for an emergency. Little did I know, I was creating a vacation emergency in my head. More recently I’ve sprinkled many trips throughout the year and I LOVE it. I use every last ounce of my PTO. I’d suggest you do what’s right for you.
Final thoughts on how gratitude has helped me cherish my time away even more.
Bring back a memento. I don’t care what it is. It doesn’t have to be expensive or even relate to the destination itself. Think wall art, a small trinket, a token, new music or wind chimes, sounds, a book, a throw blanket, a tee shirt, a shell, literally anything you can use as a gentle reminder of that experience. I use my mementos to reflect, not on wishing to be back, I mean sure, sometimes I do; but as a reminder to be grateful for that experience.
This is going to sound kind of woo-woo, but I encourage you to try it. Give thanks to your vacation environment. My final day of vacation is always filled with gratitude. Maybe because I spent all those years getting away so little. I thank the room or house I stayed in for comfort and security, I thank the car for getting us safely to our destinations, I thank the ocean, for sharing her beauty and strength. I thank the forrest for the mystery and wonder it holds. I thank all kinds of things. Any special experience, I thank for being able to share in its existence.
Thanking your vacation experience sounds funny, and now you know my secret, but this is something I’ve worked on to make my trips more special. And you know what? It works! Being thankful has changed my experience of travel. When I pause and take one more look, thanking that space, it embeds in my mind, in my experience of it. It forces me to hold that trip with a gracious reflection of experience rather than longing for something that has come to an end. I always want to return and if I’m lucky, one day I will.
Super powers include PREPARATION of anything and everything