Have you ever returned from your vacation feeling anxious and overwhelmed with all you have to do? Do you leave your vacation with a pit in your stomach thinking of all those things you may need to jump right back into? Well I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. This is not an uncommon thing to experience. Post vacation anxiety is a real thing.
Everyone at some time or another has felt that tightness in the pit of their stomachs as the vacation starts to come to an end and the thought of returning to everyday life gets closer and closer. The thing is, the more you allow yourself to dwell on the future of work and chores the more you are dwindling the rest and relaxation you may have just experienced during your break.
I use to come home thinking I needed a vacation from my vacation. I figured there was more than likely things I could do to help me stop this feeling of worry and start living my vacation to the fullest but still return home feeling relaxed and rested, and ready to take on my normal life again. So I started implementing small changes. It was mind blowing how a little tweak here and setting myself up for success made a large impact on my transition back to normal life.
First let’s chat about prevention. Not that there isn’t already a long list of things to do before you leave for a vacation, I’m going to add a couple more. The first thing is something I changed once I had kids and it was by far the most important thing I could do to keep my anxiety to a minimum. That’s cleaning the house, taking out the trash, making sure dishes are done – all before leaving for vacation. Cleaning the house before I went on vacation was no easy task. It takes time and energy but it quickly became my must do before any vacation. There’s nothing like coming home to a clean, not smelly house after a long trip. Now instead of having anxiety over the mess you can just focus on getting your bags unpacked and everything put away.
Another thing you will want to consider before leaving for your trip is deciding to take one extra day off or coming home a day early, to have time to transition. Who says you need to come home and jump right back into work? Why not give yourself a day to get clothes washed and put away, get some sleep in your own bed, and allow yourself to ease back into your normal routine?
Speaking of sleep it’s also very important to keep sleep a priority while on vacation. It can be easy to catch FOMO when everyone is doing all the things every night but when you’re running on empty when you leave your vacation there’s no way you will be able to jump back into life at full capacity. My tip is to schedule some downtime for yourself during your vacation. Leave some time for intentional relaxation or a nap if need be. Continuing your meditation practice will also allow you better sleep and at least some time to shut your mind off for a bit.
While on vacation it can be easy to say to yourself, “well it’s just a couple days, I can indulge in unhealthy food or drink more alcohol.” You would be surprised how much keeping your diet clean and being sure to stay extra hydrated will keep your energy level up. Be sure to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day and even more if you are drinking alcohol or out in the sun for long periods of time.
Okay, you’ve done all the things, prepared for your return before you left, took care of yourself while on vacation, now your home and ready to jump back into reality. Now what? This one is extremely important so listen up. When you are home be sure to set healthy boundaries. You may come home to a long to-do list and a number of people wanting to see you. Know what you are capable of and allow yourself to say no to some things that may make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. It’s okay to set appropriate boundaries to make life easier for yourself. Don’t feel guilty.
I was recently on a 12-day vacation and I implemented all of these steps. This is the first time I made my sleep and relaxation a huge priority while away and this is also the first time I came home without anxiety or need to crash as soon as the kids went to bed the first night. Give them a try and let me know what you think. I am always open to suggestions so leave your tips below.