We all know how lovely it is to get away once in a while, and how important it can be for your health, happiness, and productivity. But sometimes it can be so hard to get back into your routine that it very nearly unravels all the benefits you gained from taking a break in the first place. With many of you traveling for the holidays, we want to make sure you’re well-prepared for a smooth homecoming that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re already behind on things when the new year has only just started!

First and foremost, we’re talking about wellness: when you take care of yourself, you’re more likely to think clearly, feel good, and have plenty of energy. Here’s a way to break it down so that you can get back into your groove as quickly as possible.

Sleep: If you’ve been in another time zone, ease back into local time gradually. Instead of shocking your body with an abrupt change, move the clock 45 to 75 minutes each day. A trip to Asia is an 11 hour difference, so it can take a week or two to re-acclimate. If this doesn’t seem realistic for you, check out these additional tips from Swift Passport Services.  

Eating: For a lot of people, vacation means taking a break from healthier eating habits, especially around the holidays when rich food is abundant. One approach is to try for two home-cooked meals per week, then work up to your regular routine. Meal prep delivery companies like Blue Apron can help fill the gap, too. It’s more expensive than cooking from scratch, but ordering one or two meals for the first couple days back can be a life saver while you’re trying to get back on track. Many grocery stores also have prepped foods — you do the cooking, but they do some chopping which can save you some time. Think about having easy-to-grab fruit and vegetable snacks on hand too, like this Light & Easy Sun-dried Tomato & Herb Dip.   

Hydration: Don’t underestimate the importance of water! Drinking enough water can help reduce tiredness and promote healthier eating. Hold off on the soda pop (that’s what they call soda where I’m from in Indiana), and try not to rely too much on coffee, as it will dehydrate you and can affect your sleep. 

Physical self-care: You don’t have to get back into your body-building routine first day back, but try fitting in a walk or stretching while catching up on social media or your favorite shows. If you can’t get to the gym, there’s a multitude of apps that can help you work out even outside the gym — including Crunch (my favorite, Hi Karri, yes, I’m plugging ya’ll), 24 Hour Fitness and Anytime Fitness. Check to see if your gym has an app, and if they have workouts available for home use. 

Environment: You can’t get everything done at once, especially when you’re short on time and trying to catch up quickly on multiple fronts. When it comes to playing catchup in your home, prioritize maintaining calm and order in your restful space, then organizing heavily used spaces like the kitchen and living room. If you’re coming back from a break with a thousand things to get back in order, it’s probably a good idea NOT to start by trying to overhaul the garage 😉   

Social: It’s probably a little too ambitious to throw a dinner party when you’re recovering from jet lag, but it’s helpful to find some way to reconnect with your social circle. Even a five minute phone call with a good friend can help perk up your spirits and make you feel more connected and grounded.  
Overall, make sure to focus on tackling one area of your life at a time (remember: just because you can do anything, that doesn’t mean you can do everything — especially all at the same time!). For me, I find it’s important to prioritize sleep: I can do just about anything when I am well-rested. Then, do what you can to feel good about your space, so that you’re energized by your time away and optimistic about your day-to-day — not just pining for your next opportunity to leave. Welcome home!

As always, if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start you can hire me or one of my fabulous team of personal organizers to Make Life Easier.