Life After Vacation: 9 Tips for Getting Back to a Normal Schedule

If you've ever enjoyed a long weekend or an extended vacation, then you know how hard it is to go back to normal life. Currently, I am struggling THIS MUCH to bounce back. Honestly, it's a miracle the bills are being paid on time and the dishes are being washed because I feel so disorganized. You may have noticed that the blog has been a little quiet these past few weeks. My family and I packed the car and took a little vacation to Florida for one last hurrah before the weather gets colder. And since the Hubby had a business trip to Alabama scheduled for the following week, we tagged along so my son and I could explore a new city. I was able to take a break from social media, read a good book, and soak up tons of sun. It was wonderful!

Frugal on the Prairie

Here's my favorite photo from Florida of little James and I. Look at those little fingers pointing! Kiss kiss kiss!

Here are the tips I'll be using to jump out of vacation mode and get back to a normal schedule.

1. Check the Calendar

The first thing you should do is check the calendar for anything you may have missed or any important appointments/dates that are coming up. There could be a birthday card that needs to be sent or a bill that needs to be paid. Carefully comb through your e-mail for any reminders, as well as that big pile of mail you likely have sitting on your desk.

2. Write a To-Do List

As soon as you've noted all of your important, upcoming appointments you should make a to-do list. Proudly display it on your refrigerator or bulletin board so you're not likely to forget it exists. Be sure to get detailed with your tasks so that nothing is forgotten. Don't feel silly writing down things like unpacking your suitcase or getting an oil change. The ability to cross off those easy items from your list will give you a boost of energy and a feeling of accomplishment.

3. Be Realistic

Be honest with yourself about what you'd like to do and what will really happen.I grossly overestimated my abilities to write while I was on vacation and - you guessed it- didn't write a single word. Don't plan a doctor's appointment first thing on Monday morning if you know you won't be home until late Sunday.

Also, give yourself the freedom to say "No." I'm not always viewed as the "Yes Girl" in a lot of my mom groups because I am painfully aware of my social limits and busy schedule. I will rarely sign up for something unless I really know I can follow through. If you're too tired for a play date or a volunteer project, that is okay! 

4. Ask for Help

Even the simplest tasks will seem difficult if you're still in vacation mode. There's no shame in asking for an extra hand to help you, regardless of whether or not it's typically your responsibility. Just be sure to return the favor if your partner or children ask for some additional help with their chores too.

5. Give Yourself 48 Hours

The best thing you can do to help you recuperate from your vacation (yes, it's normal to look at it like that) is to just be patient. You may be going from living in a hotel and eating on the road to making your own bed and meals again. I typically find that it only takes about 48 hours to feel like myself again if I work through my normal schedule slowly, but surely.

6. Clean the Sink & the Coffee Maker

There's just something about an empty, shiny sink and a working coffee maker that brightens up the morning. If you know you have to quickly head back to work, just take a few minutes to clean the sink and set up the coffee maker timer for the morning. The rest of your kitchen may be messy but this one area will help you feel like you're still somewhat organized.

7. Hydrate & Let Your Body Rest

Do you sometimes feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? We drove 10 hours from Birmingham to Houston (home) in one day. Sitting in a car and driving is exhausting.

Make sure you're getting plenty of water, both during your trip and once you've arrived home. Then rest. Rest and rest as much as your schedule will allow. Naps are encouraged to help you recover!

8. Make a Home-Cooked Meal

Nothing feels more like home than a home-cooked meal. Don't worry, there's no need to get fancy and whip up a boeuf bourguignon. A simple dish of spaghetti or a grilled cheese sandwich will work just fine. Surround yourself with "homey" scents and tasks, which include your easiest-to-cook meals.

9. Set the Timer

Do you unload the car and basically dump all of the luggage in the living room? We do this too so don't be shy if you're like us!

Luggage needs to be put away and clothes need to be washed but only in small increments. If you're feeling particularly energized then go through everything. But I like to avoid a burnout by setting the timer for 30 minute increments and taking a small break when it goes off. It sounds lazy but it works like a miracle.

Coming home from a wonderful vacation is never easy. Unfortunately, it's unavoidable. Appreciate the little things, like the comfort of your own bed, to help you acclimate to your busy life and responsibilities. Be patient with yourself and let all of your little efforts slowly add up. Rome wasn't built in a day, friends. You won't get back to your normal schedule that quickly either.