Tips to beat the travel hangover
“My eyes dilate and I squint as I open my inbox. I feel the sense of lethargy and restlessness flowing through my veins, urging me to hunt for the next trip out of the country instead of checking work email. Every other spare moment is spent looking through photos from the last trip and reminiscing about what used to be. Back home, my body struggle to shut down after dark and I toss for hours away as the mind is too tired to sleep. I question about my very existence and whether this job is what I really want to do for the rest of my life.”
Like an alcohol hangover, the travel hangover affects many of us after an extended break away from work/home. Throw in jet lag and this can really be a nightmare. Having just returned from my 76 days trip to South America, I too experienced many of the effects despite traveling so often.
It’s a little ironic too cause we travel to recharge but return dreading work (see why I quit my job to travel longer and slower). Not to forget how your health may suffer from the disrupted sleep cycles! So this time I decided to trawl the net for tips on how to beat the travel hangover. Here’s what I’ve found out/tried!
Accept that it’s normal to feel this way
Drastic changes in routine can be difficult on your body. Especially if you need to go from lounging on the beach all day to waking up early and commuting to work. Being away also gives you time to think about your life which may cause you to question yourself more than you normally would. Accept that this is normal and give yourself a couple of days to settle in. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
Get into a routine
Holidays really disrupt our normal routines so it is important to establish them again quickly. We sleep late, eat at weird times (or all the time), and do things pretty much as and when we like. Force yourself to sleep at the proper time, even if it means being like a zombie the day before. Resist taking those little naps especially if they are not part of your usual routine. Eat at regular times and basically get the rest of your life in order. The faster you do this, the quicker your body falls back into it’s natural rhythm.
That said, post travel hangovers are also great starting points if you want to establish a new routine and change your life.
There are a few things we can do even before our plane lands back home. Beat jet lag by following a melatonin routine to adjust your sleep cycle. You can even try changing your sleep cycle back to how it is at home on the return flight.
In the office, give yourself an extra day for catching up with colleagues and clearing your inbox with the “out-of-office” reply notification on. This will give you time to get the unimportant things out of the way and clear your mind for the tasks ahead.
Write an important/urgent list before coming home
I find that doing this helps a lot by getting me to focus on the tasks at hand. Split all the things you need to do into Important-Urgent, Urgent-Not Important, Not Urgent-Not Important. That way you won’t get distracted by the many seemingly smaller tasks that may distract you from the Important-Urgent ones. Doing the list on the way back also helps to prepare the mind for the things that are about to come.
Complete post travel tasks ASAP
This ranges from unpacking your bags, doing laundry, grocery shopping, balancing your budget, to organising your photos. Whatever it is, try to do it fast. Ideally on the day you are back so you actually get it out of the way before inertia and work sets in. Not doing these tasks early may also end up becoming painful reminders that you are back in reality. Also it’s good to go about doing the more routine tasks before working on the serious ones.
Look forward to your next trip
The best way to stop thinking too much about the last trip is to plan the next trip! Doing so gives you something to look forward to and makes life seem less depressing now that you’re back in reality.
So where are you heading off next? ;)
Tried any of these or have other tips to share? Drop a comment below! If you like what you’re reading, subscribe to the blog or follow my adventures around the world on instagram. :)