If you’re wondering how to get back on track after your vacation, here’s your post vacation reset routine.

By Guest Blogger Thalia-Maria Tourikis

Vacations are the best. They allow us to escape the monotony of everyday life, explore new places and unwind from the demands of work and home life.

But hands up if you’ve ever looked forward to going home at the end of your vacation. No? You’re not alone. You need a post vacation reset to bring the joy back to home life after your getaway.

When we’re on vacation, we lack structure and a sense of purpose. We wake up, have a late breakfast, lounge by the pool all day and read beach-worthy books. There’s nothing to do apart from relax. Because after all, that’s the whole point of a vacation.

Coming home means that we get to resume our regular routines and habits which provide us with a sense of familiarity and comfort. Re-establishing these routines and habits post-vacation is essential.

They help us get back on track, boost productivity and realign our focus towards achieving our goals or objectives. And despite popular belief, transitioning back into your productive flow doesn’t need to be as overwhelming as it seems.

Post vacation self care is an important aspect of reestablishing your routine

Navigating Post-Vacation Blues

Before I dive into the five ways you can seamlessly get back on track after time off, I want us to first acknowledge the post-vacation blues phase.

Although you might be looking forward to heading home, it’s normal to feel conflicting emotions.

Excitement about seeing friends again.

Anxiety about going back to work (yup, post vacation blues are real).

Sadness about leaving behind the place where you made so many memories.

Entering the post-vacation blues phase means facing up to any obstacles that come with returning home. You’re going from chill vacation mode to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and this can be extremely disorienting.

Not to mention travel can be exhausting. And building your energy back up to its fullest can take time.

So take it easy and be patient with yourself. It’s totally normal to need a grace period to get back into the flow of your regular routine. Ease in slowly and go at your own pace.

Progress over perfection, always!!

5 Ways to Get Back on Track After a Vacation

1 | Create a post vacation reset routine

As someone who travels regularly, I’ve found comfort in a post vacation reset routine.

Returning home after a vacation can be a stressful experience, especially after a week of relaxation. Along with the daunting task of packing, airports can be frustrating, flying can trigger anxiety and switching between cultures causes a sensory overload.

So once I arrive home, I give myself the time I need to ground my feet again.

A post vacation reset routine allows you to regroup after your holiday, get organized and ease back into daily life. Plus, it gives your mind, body and skin the nourishment they need after a long and busy travel day.

My 6-step post vacation reset routine looks a little like this:

  • Step 1 = Unpack
  • Step 2 = Laundry
  • Step 3 = Shower and wash my hair
  • Step 4 = Cleanse and moisturize
  • Step 5 = Stretch with a gentle yoga flow
  • Step 6 = Relax and watch a movie

Feel free to create your own post vacation reset routine or simply adjust this one to better suit you and your needs.

Prioritize sleep for improved health

2 | Prioritise sleep

You can try all the productivity tools and hacks in the world but these are completely pointless if you’re not getting enough sleep in the first place.

And this is even more true once you’ve just returned from vacation.

I mean, how can you expect to go back to work and perform at your best if you’re not taking the time to rest?

So tip number 2 (and the MOST important one) is to prioritize sleep.

On a normal day, it is recommended that adults need between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night. (Sleep Foundation, 2023)

But if you’ve just arrived home from vacation then chances are you’re experiencing jet lag and exhaustion from a long day of travel.

This means that you’ll most probably need more rest. Go to bed without setting an alarm and lean into what your body needs.

Sleep is the best thing you can do post-vacation as it gives your mind and body the time it needs to repair itself so it can function.

So do not skip this step!!! If you need support with this step, check out this post with tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Grocery shopping for healthy foods

3 | Stock up on nourishing groceries

Vacations are usually the time to over-indulge. We find ourselves eating more than we usually do and saying yes to the foods we’d usually say no to.

I mean how can you go to Italy and not eat pizza or pasta and gelato every single day? It’s impossible. And you should absolutely allow yourself to enjoy all the local foods.

Unfortunately, when we return home, we feel the need to go on a detox.

Because I don’t advocate for juice cleanses or strict diets, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you can only eat salad for the next week.

Instead, I encourage you to get organized with your eating habits and prioritize home-cooked food. Take the time to write a list of well-balanced meals that you enjoy and will make you feel nourished.

Focus on eating whole foods (veggies, fruit, pulses, high-quality meat) and avoid overly processed and sugary foods to help reset your blood sugar levels and boost energy.

I promise that doing this one thing will make you feel loads better and prepare you for daily work and home life again.

Your post vacation reset means unpacking right away

4 | Reintroduce essential habits first

If you’ve followed tips one, two and three then chances are you’re already feeling less overwhelmed and more in control post-vacation. Great! That’s why we have a post vacation reset.

You’ve unpacked, done the laundry, stocked the fridge with healthy groceries and are feeling well-rested.

And I suggest you keep it this way.

The first few days after a vacation (let’s call this the readjustment week) can feel slightly disorienting as you learn to readapt to the rhythm of daily life.

Even though you might have the urge to rush back into everything, I encourage you to ease in slowly. Diving headfirst into your entire routine can be counterproductive as it can cause unnecessary stress.

Instead, reintroduce your most essential habits first. For example, during my readjustment week, I’ll choose reading in the morning over journaling. Mainly because the perks I get from reading far outweigh the benefits of journaling. And start small.

If one of your non-negotiables is a morning workout, then start off with a shorter session or less intense exercise. Slowly increase it throughout the adjustment week so that by the following week, you’re back to your regular workout routine.

5 | Focus only on urgent or important tasks

When it comes to your to-do list, less is always more. And this is no different for when you get back from vacation.

I know it can be tempting to dive headfirst back into work especially if you have a to-do list the size of Mount Everest but let’s not hit burnout this soon after vacation.

The whole point of your vacation was to allow you to relax from the daily pressures of work life.

So just as you’re slowly easing back into your habits, I suggest you also ease back into work mode. Don’t overload your to-do list with a bunch of pointless tasks and focus only on what is a priority.

Use The Eisenhower Matrix to organize your priorities and eliminate non-important tasks.

Simply draw four squares — two on top and two below. Label the top squares as “urgent” and “not urgent,” and the left side squares as “important” and “not important.”

Next, sort your to-do list into the boxes accordingly and follow this flow:

  • Do your urgent and important tasks immediately.
  • Schedule your important but not urgent tasks for later.
  • Delegate your urgent but not important tasks to someone else.
  • Eliminate neither urgent nor important tasks.

HOT TIP: If you’re feeling overwhelmed with life admin post-vacation, you can also use the Eisenhower Matrix to organize your personal life.

Post Vacation Reset Final thoughts

Getting back into your routine and habits post-vacation can be challenging, but it’s an essential step toward maintaining overall productivity and well-being.

The above tips serve as a digestible framework to smoothly ease back into your normal life.

I encourage you to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it whenever you need to.

And remember to give yourself grace.

It’s natural to suffer post vacation blues or feel a bit disoriented or unsettled after returning from a break.

Stay patient and go at your own pace. Embrace the adjustment period and before you know it, you’ll be back in your usual flow.

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Avoid post vacation blues with this reset
Your post vacation reset guide

Guest Post Author Bio

Thalia is a Certified Health Coach and lifestyle Blogger who is on a mission to promote a healthy but realistic work-life balance — one that supports daily well-being without sacrificing productivity. If you’re craving a more balanced approach, you can find her on Instagram and Pinterest all under @notesbythalia. For deeper “how to” posts that empower you to do things on your own terms, head over to her blog notesbythalia.com.