What helps you ease back into the swing of things?

By Real Simple
Updated July 18, 2016
Dan Page
Dan Page

Illustration: coffee cup with a drink umbrella

“Setting a vacation picture as my desktop. Every day, when I come to work and log on to my office computer, the scenic photo takes me back to happy memories of the trip. I’ll relive the vacation experience in my mind for a few moments before returning to reality. This ritual always puts me in a good mood and motivates me to plan the next vacation.” — Andria Chism, Pasadena, California


“My sister gave me great advice: Schedule time with friends your first week back. It makes such a difference.” — Alicia Abernethy Ward, Denton, Texas


“Coming home to a clean house. Before I go on vacation, I put clean sheets on the bed, hang fresh bathroom towels, and get rid of any clutter. That way, when I get back, whether it’s from a long weekend or a two-week trip, the house is in order and I don’t feel so overwhelmed.” — Amy Bauer, Rochester, New York


“A premade home-cooked meal. Before I go away, I prepare lasagna or some sort of chicken casserole and freeze it. I then ask my pet sitter to put it in the refrigerator the day before we return to give it enough time to thaw. Back at home, I pop it in the oven and—with zero effort—have a meal for my family.” — Amy Wagoner, Newburgh, Indiana


“I always make sure my vacation ends on a Friday so my husband and I have the whole week- end to catch up on sleep and chores before going back to work. It’s amazing the difference those two days make!” — Ashley McCormick, Mount Dora, Florida


“I always schedule vacations at the end of a work project. That way, I can make sure all loose ends are tied up before I leave so I can actually be on vacation.” — Lauren Spiers Hunter, Hilliard, Ohio


“I do it slowly. Carefully. Sadly.” — @Ashbraden


“A to-do list. Before my vacation, I make one for the office and home. It keeps me from feeling overwhelmed when I return.” — Katharina Betha, Charlotte, North Carolina


“I cut myself some slack when I return. After an activity packed vacation, I’m usually tired, so I take it easy. I catch up on missed local news and check e-mails and phone messages while having a cup of soothing tea. Then I’ll head to bed early for a refreshing night’s sleep.” — Patricia Bailey, Cumberland, Maryland


“I schedule a massage for when I get back. This helps fight the post-vacation blues.” — Tammy Blankenship, Salem, Virginia


“I presort my laundry. I put all the dirty clothes into a bag before heading home so unpacking (and starting the wash) is more manageable.” — Katherine Movalson, Eugene, Oregon


“A memento that takes me back. My family was in Florida for the holidays, and one day I took a sunset yoga class on the beach. I keep shells and sand from that day on my desk, and when I’m stressed, I’ll wiggle my fingers in the bowl and the peace I felt comes back to me.” — Sharon Pfeuffer, Salem Township, Michigan


“I call it the “grocery bomb.” When returning from vacation, a friend or family member fills the vacationers’ fridge with perishable essentials—milk, bread, eggs, etc.—so they don’t have to hit the grocery store immediately.” — Anna Bushnell, Berlin, Maryland


“I start planning the next vacation. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to, and it makes the reality of returning to the grind less frustrating.” — Jennifer Daku Burby, Tampa, Florida


“Keeping a strict schedule will help you get back into your routines. Sleep is a big part of that!” — @Mdeziel


“Never go back to work on a Monday.” — Michele Hurley Wright, Mahwah, New Jersey


“I use the toiletries from the hotel for the first days back to remind me of my vacation.” — Susan Carlini, Medford, Oregon


“I do the laundry before I get home. This means there are no dirty piles to catch up on once I return, and it allows the relaxation to continue (until the alarm goes off the next morning).” — Helen Bouslaugh, Woodland, California


“I schedule a 7 a.m. grocery delivery for the day after we get back.” — Bridget Morrissey Zocher, Park Ridge, Illinois


“My favorite way to ease back into reality is with a “gift box” of items from vacation. I purchase some local artwork, a postcard, or other memorabilia from my travels, pack it up, and ship the package to myself. It usually arrives a day or so after I’ve returned to work, and it’s the best feeling to open it up.” — Glenyse G. Thompson, St. Petersburg, Florida