Post-Vacation Notes

Tambo Flower by Renee PrymusToday is Day 2 after our Return From Vacation. Our vacations are usually to my parents’ place on a lake in Michigan–a place that used to be home for me. Returning From Vacation-that-used-to-be-home is a major event in my world: I miss the lakes. I miss Michigan’s open roads and views.

Resuming every day life to be so hard, and if I’m not careful, my mind slides into a funk. Watch out, world! Or, rather: watch out, people-I-live-with. My loves are the ones who suffer my post-vacation funk.

So over the years, I’ve tried to develop strategies to help me re-enter every day life. Here are my favorites:

  • Schedule to return home a full day before working again. We came home Sunday night and had Monday to go grocery shopping, do laundry, clean up the yard, and be together at home before resuming work.
  • Make play dates! I live in Pittsburgh because of the people, so I make more plans than usual to meet up with friends the week I return.
  • Have something to work toward. Last year, it was a summer writing program. This year, it’s my friend Q’s wedding.

But yesterday…  yesterday while I was unpacking my clothes, I smelled my jeans. They smelled like the laundry room at my parents’ cottage. Inside the smell were my memories from vacation, as well as my memories of the lake, of resting, of lying in the sun and listening to boats and water.

Pressing the jeans to my face, I curled up on my bed and lived in my memories for a while. (This is where some of you might say it’s better to NOT give yourself a day to acclimate!)

And then I went to the Facebook hive-mind, asking how other people transition back to every day life. Here were some answers:

  • Just jump back in (don’t wade).
  • Coffee. Lots of coffee. (x2)
  • Make the first day “light.”
  • Write a reflective journal entry full of ennui.
  • Take mini-vacations throughout the day. Just ten minutes to listen to some music, take a little nap, paint my toenails, or do something else that makes me feel cared for.
  • Allow yourself a full day of sulking, and then you’ll be back to normal.

As I read all these thoughtful suggestions, I realized that what I was actually looking for was the advice to be appreciate and be grateful for my every day. Being grateful for the privilege of taking a vacation. Being grateful for my house. My daughter. My husband. Our friends. Our work.

  • Practice gratefulness.

Sometimes I miss living near the lakes in Michigan so much that it colors the AMAZING life I have. Besides: I bet Pittsburgh has some pretty neat natural watering holes within toddler-driving distance. I’m already getting the suggestions on Facebook. 🙂

How do you deal with returning from vacation? What are some of your favorite transition practices?

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