The feeling is all too familiar: you’ve just spent the last week or two or three country, city, or island hopping, seen all the sights, slept too little, and ate too much the whole time you were away. And after what now feels like or actually is a double-digit flight time back home, you’re exhausted, dehydrated, and jetlagged; you need a vacation from vacation.
Sometimes I wonder if my ‘post-vacation blues’ just is this need to vacation from vacation. Between the culture shock of returning to what feels like everyday banality (where breakfast doesn’t come ready-made as you roll out of bed) and the physical shock of traveling across multiple timezones in an air-pressurized cabin (often on little or no sleep), even the daily commute to work can feel exhausting and depressing.
My last whirlwind trip to Southeast Asia (which only lasted a little less than 10 days but took me a little over two weeks to recover from) taught me a great deal about how to maximize your vacation/holiday/break:
-We often equate ‘maximize’ with cramming. Maximizing means making the most of, and sometimes a less-packed itinerary means more time to enjoy it.
-Spend at least one or even two days of your holiday doing nothing (especially if you’re traveling across multiple timezones). Trust me, I know how difficult this sounds, but your body will thank you for the R&R you gift it, particularly at the beginning and end of your journey
-Hydrate a ton. Seriously, there’s even an app for this. Make sure to stock up religiously on h20 for the flight, after the flight, and all throughout your vaycay
-Gift yourself a massage at the airport, when you land, before you board. Our muscles tend to tense up with air travel, and massages can help to de-stress and relieve muscle pain and tension
-Avoid booking back-to-back physically exerting activities, and space out your itinerary so that there’s a natural ebb and flow to your travel plan. For example, if you decide to go surfing on Sunday, why not try for a wine tasting the following day instead of a rock climbing lesson?
-Try to incorporate some element of your daily routine and diet (e.g. meditation, yoga, cardio, greens, fruit, etc. ) while you’re traveling to lessen the shock to your body as you introduce lots of new and unfamiliar elements (e.g. circadian rhythms, bacteria from water, foods, etc.)
And finally, don’t forget to have fun! As soon as it feels more stressful than awesome, or more exhausting than expansive, then you’ll probably need a vacation from vacation. And that’s no fun.