We all love vacations. The end of vacation isn’t so much fun, though. While you can rarely choose to extend your vacation indefinitely, you can do a few things that will help make the end of vacation better, and ease your transition to everyday life. Here are 10 simple ways that we use to make the end of vacation less of a bummer.
Leave Your House (and your office) Tidy
Vacations rarely come as a surprise. As part of your vacation preparation, plan to tidy up the house before you leave. Coming home to a clean house feels much better than coming home to a mess that you’ll have to clean up first thing. The same goes for your office. Clean up the loose ends, tidy up your desk. Write yourself status notes so you can remember where you left off on specific projects, or better yet, so someone else knows what to do while you’re gone.
Extend Your Mail and Delivery Holds for a Couple of Days
You don’t have to have the mail carrier bring all those bills the post office has been holding for you as soon as you get back. Give yourself a day or two to get unpacked and settled in before you tackle all the piled-up mail.
Clean the Refrigerator
Clean the refrigerator before you go. Throw away or freeze the leftovers that are going to go bad, finish up the dairy products that will spoil, and use up or give away produce that won’t outlast your trip. I can’t think of anything that would put a damper on the end of vacation more than a nasty smelly refrigerator.
Prep and Stash Your First Night’s Dinner in the Freezer
Before you leave, prep an easy meal that you can freeze while your gone and then quickly heat up when you get home. This way you get to end your vacation with a delicious, no-fuss, home-cooked meal, instead of another night of take out. This also help you not have to rush right out to the grocery store as soon as you return.
Empty all Your Wastebaskets and Trash Cans
Empty wastebaskets won’t stink or attract bugs or rodents. This simple task will definitely make the end of vacation better when your home doesn’t smell or have a mess to take care of. If you’re going to be gone over “trash day” ask a neighbor to haul your bins out to the curb and then return them.
To make unpacking easier, pack laundry bags in everyone’s suitcase. If you can, take a few minutes on the last night of your trip and sort the laundry as you put them in the laundry bags to make that post-vacation laundry easier. Also, pack anything you know you’ll need right away near the top of your suitcase in case you don’t get things put away immediately.
Unpack & Put Away Travel Bags as Quickly as Possible
Emptying the suitcases and getting everything sorted out and put away as soon as possible after getting home, helps you feel “done” and able to relax. Staring at your travel bags for a week or more after the trip is a downer, and restoring everything to its normal place, makes it easier for you to transition back to your regular life.
Give Yourself a “Buffer” Day
When possible, one of the best things you can do to make the end of vacation better is to give yourself a “buffer” day. Instead of returning home the evening before you have to return to work or school, come home one day before that, so you can unpack, relax and feel truly rested before having to jump back into your daily routine.
Resist the Temptation to Check in with Your Job Before You Return
No, you don’t need to get a jumpstart on your job while you’re on vacation. Resist the temptation to begin checking your emails, voicemails, and other work tasks while you’re still on vacation. Ending your vacation before the end of vacation doesn’t make the end of vacation better. Instead, you trade your relaxation for a sense of stress caused by thinking about what might be waiting for you at work. It will still be there when you return. Don’t invite work to go on your vacation with you.
Leave Work on Time When You Return
One way to extend the vacation and ease back into daily life, is to make it a point to leave work on time every day for at least the first week or two after you return from vacation. Immediately returning to long overtime hours after a restful time away negates the benefits of that break.
How do you make the end of your vacations better? What do you do to ease that transition and keep that restful vacation feeling as long as possible? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.