How to “Land” Home After a Vacation
Sean and I just arrived home from a sweet little “babymoon” vacation in Mexico. It was wonderful to get away, soak up some sun, play in the ocean and just have some good old fashion fun together. It’s the last time we’ll travel, relax, and be just the two of us before the little guy arrives! A little scary but also SO exciting.
And now I am enjoying a little arriving-home routine because…
There’s an art to going on vacation. And there’s an art to arriving home. – Click to Tweet
How many times has this happened to you…? You go away on a beautiful trip. You see new things, have fun, and relax. On the flight (or drive) home, you’re buoyant with excitement. Energized by the change of scenery, you’re ready to start a fresh chapter.
So you pull down the tray table, break out a notebook, and start planning. You loved that pasta at the restaurant … so you’re going to sign up for a cooking class! Those massages were incredible — you’re going to find a great masseuse at home, and go once a month. You’re determined to make more time for reading, for family dinners, for meditation … and you just know: this time, you’ll incorporate the beauty from your trip into a newer, better version of yourself and your daily life.
But then, you get home — and reality sets in. You head to the office Monday morning, and by Wednesday, the relaxation of the trip has faded almost to black. Finding a cooking class, signing up for massages — these get shuffled to the bottom of your To Do list, and you settle back into your normal, frenzied pace.
Before you know it, you’re just as tired and burned out as before. So you decide: Hey, it’s time for another vacation! And the cycle repeats …
If this feels familiar, you’re not alone — and you’re not lazy!
If you’d like your vacation to nurture your entire life
(not just the week you’re there)
it’s time to learn the art of INTEGRATION.
It took me a long time to admit what I really needed once I got home from vacation. But now, I know: the first day or two of my return are just as important as the week away. Honoring this transitional time is essential, not only for integrating all the nourishment I received on vacation, but also to ensure that my tanks remain full and my energy stores continue to support me as I move back into my day to day life.
How To Create A Successful Arriving- Home Routine!
1. Give Yourself a “Buffer” Day
You can’t expect yourself to go straight from kayaking in Alaska to doing accounting in just one day — at least if you want to hold onto some of the beauty, peace, and relaxation you cultivated while you were away.
If you know you need to be back at work on Monday morning, plan to arrive home Saturday night, so you have one day to settle in, exhale, and get ready for “normal life” to resume. Remember: you’ll probably be a little tired when you get back from vacation — even if it was a restful one. And there’s a natural “dip” in our energy and mood after the happy change of pace from being away.
Take your time and move slowly on your “Buffer Day.” You’ll likely want to take care of a few errands, but leave plenty of time for sipping tea, going to the park, and getting to bed early. It’s also best not to plan a big social outing for Monday night — instead, take it easy for a few days, and savor the experience you just had.
2. Unpack that Bag!
Oh, I used to leave my suitcase around for two or three weeks, after a vacation! (Ok confession… sometimes it still happens but I am getting WAY better and it never goes more than a day or two!) Regardless the scene is always the same… I rummage through things as I need them and my suitcase quickly transforms into a bomb that exploded all over the room … eventually Sean makes a gentle (or not so gentle) comment … and I finally get the message that it might feel better for everyone if I actually completely unpacked my bag.
I have learned: it’s vital to unpack your bag as soon as you get home. (Or at least the next day.) When you leave it lying around, the truth is…. part of you is in denial that you are still on that beach in Mexico!
Unpacking closes the energy of a trip and helps your body and mind settle back into home-life.
To drive the point home even more…. when we leave our suitcases lying around for a long time after a trip, it’s not uncommon that our entire self-care routine suffers. Simply unpacking the dang thing will make you feel 100x more settled at home — it will also naturally move you into a much more effective mindset and ultimately help you jump back into your daily routines with more gusto.
3. Love Up Your Space
Ever notice that it’s easy to slip into a mini-depression after a vacation? Making sure your home is a beautiful place that you truly love makes everything so much better! After all: when your home’s a wreck, and you have nothing to look forward to, depression is a pretty normal response.
Make sure to give my home a little extra TLC when you return from vacation. Throw in the laundry, fluff those couch pillows and make sure your countertops are clean and pretty. Make everything as beautiful as you can: try arranging some wildflowers, playing some music, drawing a bubble bath … whatever you need to feel in love with your space, and focus on what’s great about being home.
4. Infuse Your Life with Vacation Lessons
I believe it’s so important to honor the beautiful experiences in our lives, and find ways to carry them forward with us — in our hearts and in our homes.
One great way to do this is journaling. Take a few moments and name 5 feelings you experienced on vacation. What did you love most about your time away? Adventure? Relaxation? Sensual pleasure? Make a list … and then, ask yourself…. “How can I create these feelings in my home and life right now?” Think about the areas of your life where you lose touch with these precious priorities — and how they might be able to come more alive, for you. Come up with a few simple, creative ways to bridge your vacation-world and home-world.
Your space can be beautiful support for this process as well! Pick a souvenir or photo from your trip that most exemplifies one of these qualities. Place it in a spot you’re likely to see, everyday. This will remind you of what matters most … and keep you connected to the beauty of your vacation, long after the sand is out of your shoes.
The next time you find yourself arriving home from a lovely vacation, I hope you’ll think of these little tips … and make the most of your trip, even after it’s over.
After all: what better way to honor and celebrate a beautiful experience than by finding ways to keep it’s spirit alive, everyday?
Reflections for Your Home and Heart…
Share in the comments below or explore in your journal.
In your Heart: What is your arriving-home-from-vacation routine? Are you able to integrate back into day to day life the way your want to?
In your Home: What are 2 things you do (or can do) that help you feel more settled and in love with your home?