Getting away is blissful—coming home, not so much. (Unpacking, laundry, catching up on emails, ugh.) Need some help easing back into everyday life? Try these clever, sanity-saving moves.

By Real Simple
Updated June 30, 2016
Aaron Dyer & Prop Styling by Jojo Li
Aaron Dyer & Prop Styling by Jojo Li


Before you leave for vacation, clean the house as thoroughly as you can. Put stuff away, make the beds, vacuum floors, empty trash cans. Coming back to a spotless home is a mood saver—it helps you feel instantly organized and ready to jump back in to reality.


Book your return for a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday so that your first week back in the office is an abbreviated one. (All you have to do is get through a few days, and then you’ve got the weekend to recharge.)


If possible, build in one day to rest, do laundry, replenish food in the refrigerator, and tackle other tasks, suggests sociologist Christine Carter, Ph.D., the author of The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work. “It’s a luxury to be able to check email without being under the pressure of everyone expecting a response.”


Get a trip on the books within the next six months so that when you’re feeling sad about the current vacation ending, you can cheer yourself up with the anticipation of another one that’s coming up soon.


Use your time on the plane or car ride back to edit your pictures so that you won’t have this big project hanging over you when you get home. “Having a neat, orderly collection of all the moments you really want to remember lets you revisit them anytime you need a boost, so you can feel those same positive emotions you felt then,” says Dr. Carter.