On a good holiday, I always catch myself thinking, “Man, it would be nice to live here.” I might be right, but only accidentally — of course living in a city feels nice when you don’t have to do any work. That feeling makes for a letdown when I get back home, and all my normal responsibilities are waiting for me. Here’s how I avoid the Back From Holiday Blues.
Eat something nice
This will work differently for everyone. Some of you will be thrilled to order your usual local takeaway. Some of you will find that depressing, and should instead choose an easy-to-prepare meal to cook at home, or visit your favourite neighbourhood restaurant. The important thing is to treat yourself to a comfort food.
If you were on a domestic flight, you might have a snack or an extra sandwich left in your luggage that you didn’t eat. Throw it out. That sandwich has served its purpose, as insurance against mid-flight hunger. Your first meal back at home should feel like a hug. Do not eat a squished protein bar and a bag of pretzels and half a Vitamin Water.
If you can, eat something that wasn’t available at your holiday spot — even something that’s only available in your area, whether that’s in-season fruit or a special variety of pizza.
Take a walk
As soon as you can, take a walk through your favourite parts of your neighbourhood.
When I got back from Japan the other week, I spent a sick day at home, then went back to work. Every day I walked the few blocks to the train, but it wasn’t until the next weekend that I realised: I still hadn’t walked the other direction, through my actual neighbourhood. I felt like Belle in the “Bonjour!” song, only way less judgemental.
Better yet, if you have a favourite day trip within your area — a park you like to drive to, a local hike, a museum, a nearby neighbourhood walk, or window-shopping in the next town over — then now’s the time to take it. Make room in your holiday plans to be a tourist in your hometown. It’ll take the edge off.
Hang out with friends and family
The biggest downside of a holiday is that you’ll miss the people you usually spend time with. Here’s how to do it like a pro, especially if you live on your own.
Plan your friend hangouts before you leave town. When you’re arranging drinks or something, and you hit the point of “not that week, I’ll be out of town”, book them for the first or second day that you’re back. And do this with a close friend, not the kind of acquaintance where you’re secretly happy when they cancel.
Invite your friend to hang out while you unpack. This is especially helpful if you tend to leave your luggage untouched for days after a trip, but either way, it’s nice to have some company while you take care of the annoying minutiae of coming back to your regular life. Your friend catches you up on the local gossip, and you tell them the highlights of your trip.
In general, if you’re having trouble finding time to spend with friends in adulthood, the answer is errand hangouts. Mix business with pleasure. Which is the point of all this wind-down: To make the mundanities of home feel more like a welcome return.