The Hubby and I got back from a week-long trip to Germany yesterday, and I’m in the throes of a nasty vacation hangover. (Not the worst one I’ve ever had, thankfully. The time I was 16 and returned from a three-week trip to Europe, heartbroken and so deliriously tired that all I could do was cry in response to questions, still reigns supreme. I think I still owe my mom an apology for that).
I just feel … blah. I have a million things to do and absolutely no motivation. I spent the entire trip suffering from crazy jet-lag, and in my sleep deprived state, I lost my camera on my flight home (including some, but not all, of my photos). So, I’ve returned home feeling exceptionally crappy. But there are ways out of this – and I’ve listed some of my top vacation hangover cures below. If I could just take my own advice, I’d be feeling awesome in no time.
- Unpack. Yes, I know this sucks. It’s the moment where you call time of death on your vacation. But leaving that suitcase full of dirty clothes lying around only makes it harder to get back into the swing of things. Toss stuff into the hamper, enjoy your new souveniers, and know that your travel bag is ready to go for next time. Plus, you’ll avoid any rotten suprises, like a wet bikini left in a plastic bag for a week (uh … not that that’s ever happened to me).
- Check your DVR. Sitting around the couch watching TV may seem like a lame substitute for getting lost in the backstreets of Venice, but it will give you something to do when you’re too jet-lagged to move. Besides, if you don’t watch those 2 weeks’ worth of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”, how on earth will you know what’s happened in our world? Consider it your civic duty.
- Call your friends. Whenever my husband and I talk about running off somewhere fun to live out the rest of our days, we always return home, because we’d miss our friends too damn much. Also, because the good folks at Walt Disney, Inc. told us we can’t live in their park. So give your friends a ring when you get home. You can share details about your trip, and catch up on what you missed while you were away.
- Work out. Gah. I know. I’m insane. But seriously, a good workout will help wash the last lingering tidbits of vacation out of your hair, make you feel energized during the day, and will help you sleep at night. Plus, you’ll feel less guilty about eating all those damn KinderEggs.
- Organize your photos. Tag and annotate everything now while the trip is fresh in your mind. And be sure to upload them to a photo sharing site like Flickr or Snapfish. You’ll be able to relive the best parts of your vacation and reconnect with friends as you share your photos … unless, of course, you were stupid enough to leave your damn camera on the plane.
- Make plans. Just because you’re back at home, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Whether it’s a movie you’ve been dying to see (but had to wait until you got home, because Star Trek in German would just be too weird … except for Spock), or something as aspirational as your next vacation, make plans and give yourself something to look forward to.
- Go grocery shopping. Odds are, after a few weeks of eating out, and having some rather questionable, costly meals, you’re craving some comfort food. What’s worse, since you’ve been gone a while, your fridge is likely empty. Make a list, grab some groceries, and make yourself a meal. Because home-cooking is one of the best parts of being home.
- Be a hometown tourist. After we get back from a big trip, the hubby and I try and get down to the Pike Place Market and do some shopping. It reminds us of all the awesome things we have right here at home. After some time away, you’ll be able to look at your town with a fresh set of eyes, and appreciate everything it has to offer. It doesn’t have to be big or miraculous – a trip to a favorite diner or a walk along a local lake might be all it takes to remind you that you call it home for a reason.
- Wear your favorite non-travel worthy outfit. Yes, you’d have looked awesome wearing your strapless black dress and cowboy boots while walking through the Viktualienmarkt in Marienplatz, but there was no way you’d risk cramming that ensemble into a suitcase. Now’s the time to enjoy all the things you couldn’t take with you – and see how any new pieces you acquired will integrate into your wardrobe.
- Check the mail – both email and postal. The longer it waits, the worse it will be. Besides, there’s some fun stuff lurking in there, whether it’s an evite to a upcoming party or the recent issue of your favorite magazine. Go through your mail – but pace yourself. Even if you don’t get to everything in your inbox before you return to work, you’ll at least know what’s waiting for you.
I’m not saying any of this stuff will entirely cure a vacation hangover (Odds are, you’ll feel let-down after a trip. There’s no avoiding it) but it certainly will help smooth the transition back to the real world. And remember – part of the reasons vacations are great is that they’re vacations. If they happened all the time, they wouldn’t be special. Plus, imagine washing your underwear in the sink … for the rest of eternity.