I’m sure we’ve all come back from a break, fearing our inboxes, washing piles and the vacation blues, the following five steps are ones I aim to take after every break to help ease me back in to day-to-day life in a way I look forward to.
I hope you’ll find this post helpful, and I’d love for you to share any tips or tricks of your own in the comments
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO RE-SETTLE.
When you return from a trip that airport transfer/hire car situation/late flight is going to have tired you. Travelling is tiring, no two ways about it. Rather than assuming you will slot right back in to your routine, give yourself some buffer time to re-settle. Cut yourself some slack.
For me my buffer time looks like one quiet ‘settling in day’, followed by a light week. I make no big commitments for the week following any travel as I know I will have work to catch up on, as well as sleep and general life.
This also means that I keep communication light, I don’t want to be pitching to any big clients, or committing to lots of social events. I need a little home time to get my feet back on the ground. Furthermore travelling often spark ideas or thoughts for me, I write these down in a journal whilst away and like to take some time when I am home to process.
Takeaway: Whatever that buffer time looks like for you, rest assured that it is completely normal to take a little time to re-settle. If you mentally allocate this buffer, you can cut yourself come slack if you don’t get right back in to the swing of things on day one.
UNPACK, CLEAN AND REFRESH YOUR HOME.
When your home has been left unused for some time it can feel stale. I like to use my ‘quiet settling in day’ (ref. above ^) to unpack, clean and refresh my home.
I open all windows and fold back my bed sheets – or change them if I didn’t do so before going away. I collect things like any glasses we forgot to wash up. I then have a general freshen up and potter about the house reacquainting myself with it.
I try (and I admit that this is currently on the back burner for me!) to unpack right away, put things in the wash or hang them right up. It is so nice to be able to put away the suitcase and use your wardrobe like normal. I’m seeking solace in that slack I talk about above – I know I’ll properly unpack once I have a bit more time over the weekend.
The final touch for me is always fresh flowers. This week I bought some new stocks and lilies and it feels like there is life back in the house again. When I walk in to my office now I am greeted by a beautiful glass vase of white stocks which helps me feel at home as I settle in to some work.
Takeaway: There is nothing like a clean, organised home to help you feel calm and settled. Aim to get reacquainted with your home as soon as is possible for you. If possible, leave your home when you go on holiday in a way which will feel nice to come back to. Or if that’s not possible (hello last-minute packing explosion!) then allocate some time to sort it when you are back.
TACKLE YOUR INBOX.
Eek – the post-holiday inbox 🙈!
I recently shared some of my thoughts on how and why to take a proper holiday. I’m happy to report that I took my own advice and had one of the best holiday holidays I’ve ever had. One of the reasons I feel this holiday was more successfully restful than others was the time of year I chose to go away. I have learnt that for me personally, high summer is a quiet time of year. A quiet time means less emails, which naturally means less to follow up on when I get home.
I tackled the emails I did receive systematically whilst I was away, so as not to be bombarded when home. I also put on an out of office which helped me to manage the expectations of people emailing me.
I’d love to say I didn’t check my emails at all whilst I was away, but truth be told I like to be kept in the loop. As a business owner I can’t afford to miss a potential client’s email, or an important communication from my team. In order to avoid getting dragged down by emails whilst on holiday, I dipped in to my inbox every day, flagged any important emails and deleted the rest. I found that on average I only had a few per day which required immediate attention, I got back to these and didn’t give the others a moment’s thought.
This being said, if you do come home to a particularly busy inbox when you get back from your holiday, I advise using the one touch technique. Prioritise the emails you need to get back to and allocate focused time to getting them answered. If you focus, over a few days I am confident you can get your inbox back on track.
Takeaway: Set an out of office reply before you go away to manage the expectations of people emailing you. Be systematic on your return from holiday and work through your inbox, using whatever email management system works for you – I like flagging my important emails. Delete everything else so as not to clutter your inbox. Focus in on allocated slots for emails, and know that it will likely take a couple of days to get your inbox under control.
GET BACK ON TRACK WITH YOUR HEALTH COMMITMENTS.
As I have mentioned before, my health and wellbeing has become an important focus for me this year. I tried to stay on track with my fitness whilst on vacation which has made it an easier transition once I got home.
Either way – if you have or haven’t had the healthiest of vacations (I’ve seen either side of that coin my friend!) – getting back in to your health groove will help you to settle back in to your routine.
There is nothing like feeling well in your mind and body to assist with focus, sleep and energy levels. This includes habits, exercise and diet.
For me, I have tried to get back in to my happiness habits, and include some activity in to my routine. I gave myself a few days to recuperate on sleep, and now have workouts in my schedule like normal which I am looking forward to.
Further to exercise, eating in a way which makes you feel good and energised is everything. If you do one thing when you first get home – do a food shop. It will save so much ‘searching time’ when deciding on what to eat, what to take for lunch and what to snack on. If you do a healthy shop, it will most likely encourage you to make healthy choices.
Takeaway: Do a food shop, book your gym classes and ease yourself back in to your health and wellbeing routine. A healthy mind and body supports everything that you do, so getting on top of this as soon as possible is going to make everything else you are coming back to feel easier.
BOOK FUN THINGS IN TO AVOID THE VACATION BLUES.
I admit that when I was lying on the beach on my penultimate day in Menorca, I started to feel the post-holiday blues creeping in. I am such a homebody that this was actually quite an alien experience for me, but I truly couldn’t imagine being anywhere more beautiful, or with people I loved more (except my Mama wasn’t there as she had to stay home for work – so plus my Mum would have been perfect!).
I had had an inkling before going away that I may get struck by the post-holiday blues so long before we departed I booked a girls weekend in with my favourite girlfriends. I also ordered a couple of items to arrive for when I got back including some photos from one of my best friends’ recent weddings. Knowing that I was going to see some of my favourite people, and receive some exciting deliveries, on returning home made me really excited to be landing in England again.
Takeaway: Decide on something you would look forward to, and make plans for it before you get home. Getting coffee with a friend . . . having a manicure . . . allocating a couple of magazine hours for yourself – be sure to have some fun things to welcome you home.