How are you in coming back from vacations?  Ready to get back home? Anxious about what awaits you or what you will find?  Sad to leave the vacation environment? Ready for a vacation from the vacation? Rested, rejuvenated and ready for action?

I have experienced all those emotions after various vacations. Over the years I have found the best way to come back from a vacation is to plan for the re-entry. It might make the preparation for the vacation a little more hectic, but it is worth it.  Vacations are a natural break in our daily lives.  We can clearly distinguish "what we did before vacation" and "what we will do after vacation".  Coming back with a 're-entry" plan helps make the transition back to normal a little bit easier.  

I like to leave with the house clean and in order and to finish any projects on which I was working. Turns out I am not the only neurotic one.  In the last Real Simple magazine they asked readers what they do to help ease back into reality after vacation.  Here are some of the suggestions:

  • End a vacation on a Friday or take an extra day off so that one has an extra day to do laundry, get groceries and plan for the upcoming work week.
  • Either do laundry before one comes home or put the dirty laundry in a separate bag so that starting the laundry is easy.  (I generally do a load almost immediately on coming home, while I am putting away the other things from my luggage.)
  • Set a vacation picture on your computer desktop.
  • Have a prepared meal frozen, ready for when you come back. Ask a friend or neighbor to thaw the meal in the refrigerator the day before you are coming home.
  • Have a "gift box" from vacation sent to you. During your vacation, collect local artwork, postcards and other vacation memorabilia and have it sent to you at home a day or so after you get back.
  • Have a neighbor or friend stock your fridge with perishable essentials- milk, bread, fruit, eggs, etc. so that you have breakfast food the first morning back and don't have to rush right out to the store. 

When I was a kid, my grandmother always had our family over for a light supper the day we returned from our vacation.  It was a way to catch up and see her but it also (now that I am an adult and recognize such things) a wonderful gift for my mom in helping her ease back from vacation into daily life.  Gram would also put items in our fridge for the next morning breakfast.

The tradition was handed down to my mom who would stock our fridge on our returning home from vacation.  We carried the tradition on with my in-laws. When they would go out of town on golf trips, we would have them over for dinner when they got back and stocked their fridge with food.  So too did they reciprocate to us. 

Times have changed.  My father-in-law died three years ago. My mother-in-law doesn't drive and doesn't live around the corner any more. No more will I see the my mom's infamous notes in her beautiful handwriting telling me that there are eggs and milk in the fridge and bananas and zucchini bread on the counter.  

What about you?  What can you do to make your "re-entry" into reality easier?  How can you make it easier for someone else?  A neighbor, friend or relative?