After returning from a week-long trip to the beach, why do you feel more depressed and tired than ever? Vacations are supposed to be rejuvenating and relaxing, so why are you experiencing a post-vacation crash? It’s actually pretty common and experts say it’s not only what you do on a vacation, but how you do it that can leave you feeling down and out after your downtime.
To avoid all that, this is how to ease back into the return home from a trip so you’re not more exhausted than before you left:
- Take it slow - While you’re traveling, leave plenty of time in your plans so you’re not rushing more than you have to, especially when you’re traveling with kids. It saves unnecessary stress and starts the trip off on a relaxing note, which can help you avoid potential post-vacation exhaustion.
- Create a buffer zone - Leaving some extra time after you get back from your trip helps, too. Having a day or two to relax at home and ease into the switch back to work mode will help you feel more well-rested on your first day back.
- Make your trip as rejuvenating as possible - The key to optimizing your vacation’s restorative power, according to Xinran Lehto, professor of hospitality and tourism at Purdue University, is avoiding doing the same things you do at home. “Have a vacation that makes you feel you are actually away from home, mentally and physically,” she explains. For some people, that may be physical activities like hiking, surfing and biking, while others may find it more rejuvenating to just lounge by a pool instead.
- Take care of yourself on your trip - That includes eating foods that help you feel nourished, as well as getting plenty of rest and sleep. These are still important to feeling your best, whether you’re at home or in a five-star resort somewhere.
- Manage your expectations - Try to be realistic about what you can achieve during your trip, depending on your needs and who you’re traveling with. If your goal is to read a book every day or sleep until noon, but you’re on a trip with your young kids, your goal may be unrealistic. So try to plan for what is likely to rejuvenate you and that you most want to do, within reason. Having this flexible mental state may help you relax and avoid that stress that can snowball into post-vacation burnout.