I love vacations. I love everything about them – except the ‘vacation hangover’.
The vacation itself is meant to give a break from ‘reality’ and serve as an opportunity to rest, restore and reset. But yet in the past, I always returned from vacations feeling exhausted and in need of another vacation, which counteracts the whole reason for the vacation!
Whether this feeling exists because of overindulging on treats to eat and drink, lack of routine, stress and anxiety of traveling, jet lag, dehydration, change of atmosphere, reduced (or increased) activity, or just returning to ‘normal life’…the vacation hangover is a reality for me.
On this fierce healing journey, I am committed to analyzing my energy and working to preserve and restore it. My intense focus on healing my complex PTSD has me more vulnerable than ever to falling victim to depression and overwhelmedness.
So when I was presented with a three-day getaway with my husband and another couple, I decided to tackle my vacation hangover just as I approach my healing – head on.
Here are 3 tips that I am sharing to prevent a vacation hangover:
1. Pack, Tidy and Clean Your Heart Out.
I start packing, purposefully tidying and cleaning the week before departure.
The best feeling that I can gift myself with is the feeling of calm. For me, this means when I am leaving, knowing that I have packed everything necessary and can locate all items.
Calm also means coming home to a clean and tidy house. (Let’s be real- cleaning and tidying are the bane of my SAHM existence and the greatest gift I can gift my future self, beyond a vacation from it all, is to come home to a clean and tidy home.)
Since I was feeling really kind to my future self – I even laid out my outfit for work when I returned. This allows me to take one more item off my mental load and send some healing energy to my ‘vacation hangover’.
2. Meal Plan! Before and After.
After losing 55 pounds with Weight Watchers and continuously being conscious of the food that I serve my 2 ½ year-old-daughter (her genetic disorder – hemihyperplasia – puts her at an increased risk for tumors which has furthered my focus and determination to fuel her rather than simply feed her) – food is important to me.
Meal planning has transformed from a tool to fuel my weight loss and support my healthy living, to a grounding anchor in working to thrive while healing my complex PTSD. I know that I feel my best – reduced anxiety, more clarity and energy – when I am fueling my body in healthy, joyful ways.
When my meals are planned and my cabinets and refrigerator are full, I am energized. Though I was unable to meal plan before the vacation, I dedicated time in transitioning from ‘vacation’ mode to ‘normal’ life to plan a week of meals post-vacation.
In designing my post-vacation meal plan, I focused my attention on the ‘vacation hangover’ and the extreme need to clean up my eating after a vacation. So I ensure emphasis on clean foods and beginning each day with a pint of fresh-squeezed lemon water.
3. Evolve Your “Normal”
My fierce healing is allowing me to unpack my trauma. Through unpacking my trauma, I am becoming aware of how hard, anxious, painful…as well as exhausting my “normal” has become.
So I am working to create a new normal. Identifying that I am worthy of a life filled with love, kindness, clarity, calm and energy – I am working toward living that life. Some habits I am developing are meditation, yoga, and strength training.
My ‘normal’ life is not yet the full-vision that I am working to create, but it is evolving. Living a life that is focused on evolving has given me the gift of returning to a ‘normal’ which is more uplifting and energizing than in the past. This new normal is not something that I dread returning to after a vacation, but I look forward to living as part of my vibrant, healthy, joy-filled life.
These three tips have really helped me not only enjoy the time after my vacation more, but the actual vacation… Knowing that I had intentionally done some things to set myself up for success helps me feel worthy and strong – which is a great way to feel on vacation or off!
What tips do you use to steer clear of the dreaded vacation hangover? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.
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