The ONE Exercise To Do Post-Vacation, plus 20+ Tips for Getting Back Into Your Routine Better than Ever

post vacation tips to overcome anxiety overwhelm depression laziness

So… you just got back from a mind-blowing trip.

For months the anticipation for your vacation was almost to much to bear… waiting for the much needed and well-deserved time away from the mundane activities of life; work, errands, prepping for work, unwinding from work, mostly work things.

Then you have an incredible trip, the kind of trip where you feel free. Connected to your sense of self again. Connected to your hopes, dreams, goals, ideals. Connected to your purpose and point of living.

It’s the best feeling in the world to feel freedom. Alive. Joyous.

Then in the blink of an eye your trip is over, and you’re left feeling in a state which resembles emptiness or depression. Post-vacation blues is no joke; how many #tbt are there for a vacation from the week prior?

Post vacation anxiety or overwhelm is no joke either; getting back to 1,000 emails in your inbox, 5 meetings, grocery shopping, the work project that suddenly got bumped up, the client who demands attention ASAP. Woooo, I’m sweating just thinking about it all!

Then there is the laziness that can creep in after a number of days off in a different time zone or sleep schedule. You get back, but you don’t want to be back, back in the routine, back on the hustle. Finding motivation again can be quite challenging after taking time off.

These are the three most common issues people face when they return from a vacation; blues or depression, overwhelm or anxiety, and laziness.

I recently returned from taking 10 days off while my mama was visiting me while I living in Colombia for 6 months. We explored my city of Medellín together, then went up to the coast to hike in Tayrona National Park and chill in the lovey Cartagena. Returning from 10 days off was another reminder of how challenging getting back in the groove can be, and an excellent opportunity to practice my own tips I’ve written out for myself a long time ago.

Colombia vacation with my mama

To work through all three of these post-vacation issues that can arise and certainly do for me, I recommend this ONE exercise. 

Here it is; journal.

I bet you thought I was going to say a physical exercise!

Nope while it is important to exercise physically, gathering to organize your thoughts, emotions, memories and priorities post vacation is far more important than cardio.  

journal post vacation

Benefits of Journaling

Science shows that journaling boosts mindfulness, memory, communication, better sleep, a stronger immune system, self-confidence, a higher IQ, and a better mood. There is scientific research to support that journaling also helps us heal faster. Damn.

I have personally been practicing journaling first thing in the morning for over a year now. I find that journaling clears up space mentally that I can focus on my goals that day, otherwise I have too many thoughts, feelings, emotions bouncing around in my mind, draining my brain of it’s potential to work with me.

I notice on days when I don’t journal first thing in the morning, I am unfocused, lack clarity and purpose, and feeling lost, overwhelmed, anxious, even sad.

I recommend journaling first thing every morning after you return from vacation.

tips for journaling post-vacation

Step One | Get up an extra 30 minutes earlier than you would normally. Waking up after a trip is hard enough, yes, but having 30 extra minutes of quiet time where you can reflect on your trip is worth the extra 30 minutes of sleep – I promise.

Step Two | Begin by taking five minutes to sit in silence or turn on a calming instrumental music for the background. Focus on your breath; breath deeply and intently. Match your inhales and exhales in depth and in length. Allow your breath to calm you, center you, bring you into your body and into the present where you can truly be in the moment. This silence allows you turn off the external so you can go inward.

Step Three | Free write whatever comes into your mind, write whatever you feel. Put your pen to paper, even if you start with something incredibly simple and mundane like “It’s Tuesday morning, I just woke up…” anything to get you going, I mean anything. Allow the stream of consciousness to flow. Trust the words will come after that. Aim to write a couple of pages.

Step Four | Journal about an experience, a thought, a day on your trip. Hone in on one day in case you missed it in the overview. A day that surprised you. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, my most delicious memories are often having two glasses of wine alone on a patio and people watching.

Step Five | Write down something(s) you learned from your vacation. It could be about the destination but more importantly it could be something you learned about yourself, the world, or humanity at large. #lifelessonsfromtravel

Step Six | Write down 3 things you’re grateful for.  

If there is only one thing you do post-vacation, this is it; journal. Be present in your experience.

Here are even more ways to make it easier on yourself getting back to work, into your routine.

I recognize there are a lot, so as you’re reading them note what resonates with you and try those first. You don’t have to do every single one to feel results, just a couple of things can make a big difference, so start there and experiment with what works for you.

1. before you leave, set yourself up for success

Before you leave on your vacation, prepare for you to walk back in through your front door or garage door and feel a sense of peace. Clean out the fridge, take out the trash, make your bed, put away anything you decided not to bring with you on your trip, make sure you’ve got clean clothes so you don’t have to do laundry immediately when you get back, clean the house or have your cleaners come while you’re away, schedule food to be delivered for the day after you get back so you can jump into making food without spending an extra hour or two at the grocery. There’s nothing worse than a coming home to a cluttered home, it’ll make you feel overwhelmed, unfocused, and then set you into a spiral of “what am I doing with my life?”
Helps with post vacation blues, overwhelm, and laziness.

2. You had me at hello

Write yourself a note while you’re away. Focus on what you feel in the moment, more than on the things you’re doing. Express your gratitude to yourself for taking the time to travel, to have this experience. Read this letter back to yourself when you’re back from your trip.
Helps with post-vacation blues.

3. take time for yourself while abroad

While you’re abroad set out some time for you to be alone for a bit, if even for just a couples of hours. Being more mindful about your experience abroad during your trip helps to make it feel like it didn’t go by in the blink of an eye.
Helps with post-vacation blues.

4. Invest in experiences

While you’re abroad do all the things. Buy the tours, tickets,

5. legs up the wall

One of my favorite yoga poses that saved me (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.) when I was working 60-70 hours per week after University. I would spend 10-15 minutes in this pose every afternoon and it felt as if I took a 2 hour deep rest. This pose helps to lower your heart rate to rest, calm the mind, boost energy, and lower anxiety. Aim to do 10 minutes and make it mindful, don’t just scroll through instagram or your email.

This is also something you can do while you’re abroad as this pose also promotes drainage and excess build up on fluids in the legs, reduce swelling, improve circulation, and restore your mind/body connection so you can explore longer and in comfort while you’re traveling.
Helps with post-vacation overwhelm and laziness.

6. Prep to avoid jet lag

Immediately get back on your schedule; don’t sleep in, don’t stay up late. Jet lag can be a pain if you allow it. Here are more tips about preventing jet lag before, during and after you go on vacation.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

7. a cup of sunshine

Incorporate a cup of lemon water into your morning. If you drink coffee, drink this lemon water before your first cup of coffee. You can add other spices like ginger and cayenne for extra heat and alertness, and even a few dates if you want to sweeten up. Have it hot as the heat will help balance any of the cooling, chilled tendencies from your trip. Here’s a recipe for lemon water and another.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

8. no need to rush

So you managed to get up on time, or even early. But you want to rush into work early… to catch up. Don’t. The work will be never ending the first couples of days. Stick to your normal morning routine; exercise, journal, meditate, etc. It’s far more important to have the right mindset than the extra time at work, because you’ll be far more productive in the time you are there, AND you’ll feel far more accomplished once you get your priorities straight.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

9. food is medicine

Food is the best medicine or the slowest form of poison. Prioritize healthy food and cooking at home over eating out when you return. Putting whole, real food into your body will be the best fuel for your days as well as support you in other functions like preparing for restful sleep and mood.  I always encourage indulgences while traveling because you want to eat what locals eat so say yes to daily gelato in Croatia and Italy, gyros in Greece, croissants in Paris, etc. After traveling it can be particularly easy to order food to-go to save time but food in the U.S. is the most processed and unhealthy food in the world and will surely contribute to more lethargy post vacation. Try this 3 ingredient nutrient dense cabbage recipe or this healthy broccoli recipe – both recipes are from Katey, the brilliant and relatable wellness entrepreneur of The Violet Fog and they are so delicious, sure to satisfy, and take less than 20 minutes of prep, cook and clean up! Stock the spices, tahini and miracle noodles in the cabinet for when you return and you only need to run into the grocery for two ingredients when you return! Quickest… grocery run… ever!
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

10. sit with it

It can be really easy to rush past our emotions and experiences instead of feeling and processing them. Sit with what you’re feeling whether it’s overwhelm, anxiety, dread, panic, sadness, emptiness. Feelings are fluid and they do not define you if you allow them to come and go with ease. When they arise note them, acknowledge them, allow them to tell you a message, and then release them.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

11. attitude of gratitude

Write down things you’re really grateful for in your normal, every day life. Be specific; it can be things like the food that’s available at home that’s not in other countries, or the way the sunlight peaks through the trees in the morning, or your yoga studio. I do this every evening, and come up with three things I’m grateful for from that day. No matter how seemingly small, if it brings your heart joy or peace, write it down. Being mindful of what you love about your life and taking some time to reflect on it is a wonderful practice not just post-vacation but every single day. After all, you choose the life you live every single day, so be mindful about the things that you love and you’ve chosen to be in your life.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

12. set boundaries

Saying no to some things is the only way you can truly say YES to the things you do want. Do you want to get back to exercise, do you want to work on your side hustle, do you want to learn this new skill or hobby? If YES then you’ll have to say no to things that present themselves to you before and after your vacation. Setting clear boundaries isn’t selfish, it’s healthy. There’s no need to feel guilty or FOMO by saying no to a few things when you return.
Helps with post-vacation overwhelm.

13. detox your tech

First thing in the morning, skip your phone. In fact, leave your phone on the other side of your bedroom (or even outside!) so your not tempted to check your phone, email, social media, etc. first thing when you wake up. This was you are in charge of your day and your priorities.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

14. treat yourself

Have something to look forward to when you get back; a big concert you’ve been dying to see or a long weekend trip. Usually 3 weeks after your trip is best, having things planned immediately after returning from a trip can just add to overwhelm, that just busies you can be more of a band-aid making you unconscious to the experience, but
Helps with post-vacation blues.

15. cut out tv

It may feel like you’ve got some “catching up to do” on your favorite TV shows but watching TV is one of the biggest wastes of time, and biggest wastes of your life. I cut TV out of my life 2.5 years ago (except watching a few series in Spanish as apart of learning the language) and it’s cleared up hours each week for things that really matter! Also, mindlessly watching TV is really low vibration so it will contribute to any feelings of confusion and sadness after returning from a trip.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

16. Just one more day

Try getting back on Saturday instead of Sunday before you go back to work on Monday. It can be tempting to be gone as long as possible because you’ve already got the flight and time off and wouldn’t it be great to stay just one more day, but having a full day where you can prepare to get back into the swing of things can make a big difference.
Helps with post-vacation overwhelm.

17. Ground down

I feel very very scattered when I return back to work after a vacation. One of the simplest things that changes how I feel is to ground down. Everything is energy, and by grounding down, we humbly ask the Earth to take the excess energies so we can align and focus. I do this by going into child’s pose with my hips wide and forehead resting on my yoga mat or a blanket. I also ground down by eating root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and beets, and diffusing essential oils.
Helps with post-vacation overwhelm.

18. repeat after me

Repeat after me, “I have time”. Simple, but powerful. Use this as your manta when you return.
Helps with post-vacation overwhelm.

19. Save the news for the end of your day

Every time you turn on the TV, read the newspaper, or a news email it seems they talk about war, corruption, violence, greed, etc. etc. Consuming this first thing in the morning is a guaranteed way to lower your vibration and take you out of your optimal state. Save news updates for later in the day after you’ve got your mindset right (afternoon is best!). Then follow up news with something that raises your vibration like exercise, meditation, a chat with a really good friend, taking your dogs to the park, etc.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

20. start Planning your next trip

Travel is not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. To travel is experience the joy of life, to learn something new, to be inspired, to be refreshed and connected with our soul’s purpose. Planning your next vacation shortly upon arrival can drastically help those feelings of depression. But careful not to rush into this, avoiding or masking the feelings. You don’t have to throw yourself into the next trip but commit to one tangible thing, like buying flights 6 months ahead or booking a consult call with me to figure out a new or off-the-beaten-path destination for your next trip!
Helps with post-vacation blues.

21. Compassion

Last but certainly not least, have compassion for yourself. If your day doesn’t go according to plan, feel the feelings and then find the lesson in it. What can you do better tomorrow? Release the negative emotions and try again tomorrow. You got this.
Helps with post-vacation blues, overwhelm and laziness.

Planning a trip?

I help people travel better around the world by creating conscious and customized vacations. Hire me for full-service travel planning so you can relax, focus on living your life and truly enjoy the vacation process.

Or book a one-on-one travel consultation call for specific advice, insight, and support regarding your unique vacation so you can maintain control and plan it yourself!

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How to overcome post-vacation blues anxiety and laziness | Sapphire & Elm Travel
How to overcome post-vacation blues anxiety and laziness | Sapphire & Elm Travel