I’ve been diagnosed with an illness. Symptoms include: difficulty concentrating, waking up before noon, and an overall lack of desire to do anything that doesn’t involve a hammock, a bathing suit and tropical drink in my hand. I have, what some have determined to be, the dreaded Post-Vacation Blues. They are those sad feelings that set in when you’re forced to trade in flip flops for penny loafers and reenter the so-called “real world.” While there may be no official cure for the Post-Vacation Blues, I’ve written a prescription of tools that can help you feel like your pre-vacation self — just maybe without that golden tan.
Document Vacation Memories
I recently returned from two weeks in Australia. As soon as I got home, I began writing everything I could remember down. I wanted to capture as many memories as I could onto paper before they began to fade away. Additionally, I printed out photos from my travels to fill empty frames around my home. Working on these projects allowed me to keep one foot in my travels as the other eased me back into normal life. Plus, it produced a wonderful keepsake that I can revisit and share with loved ones time and time again.
Implement New Things
Traveling opens our eyes to new experiences, customs, food, dress and decor. After such rich stimulation for our senses, returning to “regular” life can seem boring or uninspired. Did you try a new dish that you absolutely loved? Recreate it for a weekday meal. Fall in love with a style of dress? Pick up a few accessories to bring back with you and incorporate them into your wardrobe. Love the native language? Enroll yourself in a language class. Bringing your travels home allows you to marry your vacation life with your regular one.
If you’re like me, you thrive on routine. Work, work out, and socialize with friends and family. Wash, rinse, repeat. On vacation, no two days tend to look the same, and while variety is the spice of life, re-establishing your routine after a trip can be a great way to ease back into non-vacation mode. Go grocery shopping, unpack, do laundry, set your alarm to make it to that 6 a.m. Pilates class. Fight that inevitable feeling of unsettledness that follows us home from vacation and reestablish a regular schedule.
Seth Godin has wisely said, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don’t need to escape from.” Vacations are wonderful, but sometimes we can put them on such a high pedestal our so-called “normal” lives pale in comparison. Though we should seize every opportunity to explore the world and take a time out to rest, we shouldn’t forget that there are opportunities in our everyday that can lend themselves to mini vacations: a sunset stroll on the beach, coffee in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, a catnap on a front porch swing, cocktails at a new restaurant downtown. Fill your normal life with little escapes so you don’t have to wait for a big one.
Go Ahead, Plan
My girlfriend once told me that she starts planning her next adventure almost as soon as she returns from her last one. Her strategy seemed excessive at first blush, but when I came back from Down Under, I soon realized the method to her madness. After the trip had come and gone, not only was there was no longer anything on my calendar to look forward to, but I had been bitten by the travel bug and needed to get back out there and explore other parts of the world. Planning a future getaway can appease both needs. A future vacation can give you the motivation to work hard in the interim, so that you can truly enjoy your time away. It can also provide the opportunity to cross another item off of your travel bucket list.
Have you been diagnosed with the Post-Vacation Blues? What’s been your prescription?
Image via Emily Reiter