We all get excited before an upcoming trip. We eagerly purchase travel sized toiletries (am I the only one who enjoys these?), new clothing items to fit the weather at your travel destination, and begin packing for our trip. We fantasize about what our trip will look like, what adventures we will embark upon, and the new foods we will taste on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, many studies show that the anticipation of a trip is often MORE enjoyable than the trip itself! Which is why I think that having something to look forward to is vital for our sense of happiness and fulfillment.
What happens post travel though? We come home, and dread whats to come… usual life, responsibility, work, bills, etc. Upon returning from our week-long trip to Canada my husband uttered the words, “I feel depressed, I have so much to do.” I am sure we can all relate to this feeling. But what can we do to combat these unwanted feelings? Better yet, how can we maintain the same excitement we had pre-vacation?
Here are a few things that have worked for me:
Have Something to Look Forward to
I mentioned this above, and will repeat again how important it is to have something to look forward to both short-term and long-term. It is helpful to plan something that we find enjoyable for each week (doesn’t have to be extravagant), and make this a habit. Aside from each week, plan out something for each month (make this bigger than your weekly enjoyable activity), and for a few months out, and finally a year or more away. The most important thing is to have something in the books.
As soon as I get back from a trip I actually look forward to organizing myself at home and getting back into my everyday routine. There’s something comforting and safe about a routine. Although it is necessary to step out of our comfort zone once in a while, I believe that a sense of structure is important for our mental well-being. To me organizing looks something like this:
- Look ahead at the big tasks and events that I have to accomplish or attend during the month, and write them down in my planner as well as my organizing app on my phone (Google Keep – LOVE IT!) I like to jot things down both on paper and on my phone so its easier to make use of whether I am at home or out.
- Then make a list of things that I have accomplish week by week. Then I organize which tasks I will tackle day by day to fulfill my weekly goals.
- I also like to plan out what groceries I may need for the week, as well as what I plan to cook for us and the baby. I have a running list in my app under “Groceries,” where I jot ingredients down as they come to mind.
Take on Healthy Habits
Another thing I look forward to when I get back from vacation is getting back on track with my health (I allow myself to “cheat” a little while on vacation). This means planning out days that I will go to the gym or work out at home, even walk outside. Meal plan the types of food that I would like to eat throughout the week, and make sure that I eat healthy (whatever healthy means for me). Mental clarity and wellness is intertwined with how well we take care of our health, and our physical appearance, which harmonize our mind-body connection. For this reason, it is vital to take on healthy habits if we would like to improve our overall well-being.
Appreciate What we Have in the Now
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the past and the future that we neglect the now. Of course reminiscing about the fun we had in the past and what we are looking forward to are important. The important thing is to be aware of the fact that we are reminiscing or are dreaming of what’s to come. It is when our minds drift off without our knowledge of it doing so, that we begin to lose sight of mindfulness. We can all work on being present in the moment, and appreciating the now. Of course, we can always shift our focus to fond memories of the past or excitement of the future with awareness in mind. This way we can re-live the joy we experienced during our vacation, while simultaneously appreciating what we have going on in the present moment.