How to Seamlessly Transition Home from a Trip
By Franki Hanke
Catching up with normal life while dealing with jet lag is a combination that leaves most people yearning for another vacation. But making a plan for recovering from travel gives you the support you need for a seamless transition back to normal life.
Use these tips to learn how.
Schedule in Recovery
If you’re taking time off work or other obligations to travel, schedule recovery time with a day that’s entirely free on the return end of your trip.
Ease the pressure on yourself when you get back to work with clear expectations in your out-of-office email:
Thanks for the email. I’m currently out of the office until [DATE]. I will not be monitoring email during this time, so please route any urgent concerns to [COWORKER].
[Include specific directions for any typical tasks you handle with what they should do instead of relying on you.]
I will be reviewing all emails upon my return, you can anticipate a response by [DATE]. I won’t be scheduling any meetings until the following week.
Ensure that your promises in this email are reasonable because the essential part is to follow through. If you do plan to monitor emails, say so, but I highly recommend disconnecting entirely, especially if you’re using vacation time. That’s your time. Protect it; and be present.
Once you are back at work, leave your first-day meeting free so you can ease back in, catch up, and not be overwhelmed with new information.
Book a Cleaning
Returning home to a pile of laundry and a messy home can feel like the breaking point to overwhelm. Instead of arriving to a to-do, schedule a cleaning service to come in the day before you get back.
The feeling of arriving home to a clean house fresh and ready for you is the antithesis of stress, just what you need after air travel!
Picture it: you get home after eating delicious restaurant cuisine during your getaway, open the fridge, and there’s a half-bottle of ketchup and some juice. Do you want to go back out for some new food?
I wouldn’t! Take another task off your return home to-do list with a scheduled grocery drop-off. Use Amazon Fresh, Instacart, or your local grocery chain.
Depending on the length of your trip, you may need to make a grocery list now, but wait to send the order until you’re at the airport headed home.
The air inside airplanes is dry and recirculated at a lower pressure than we’re used to. This, especially combined with sitting for a long time, can accelerate dehydration. So, you have to try and counteract that by hydrating.
The best way to hydrate is by drinking water. Most people don’t need Liquid IV or other additive products. If you do struggle with hydration, add in electrolytes. Fruits and veggies contain electrolytes too, so introduce them in your snacks.
While you’re drinking lots of water, try to time your consumption so you’re not interrupting your sleep periods. If you’re manually adjusting your sleep schedule to counteract jet lag, keep that in mind.
If you typically drink caffeine in one form or another, don’t cut that out for your travel day. That will make it much worse! But, try to avoid overconsumption that will decrease hydration and affect sleep.
Hydrate your skin, too.
While drinking water is optimal, you can combat that dry sensation your skin gets after a flight with some extra topical hydration. Fly with bare skin and add an extra layer of your favorite moisturizer.
To check your (under eye) baggage, use one of my personal favorite Skyn Firming Eye Gels mid-flight.
Break Up Seated Periods
When we fly, especially on long flights for international travel, there’s a risk of thromboembolism ranging from 3-12% for long-haul flights. While an embolism would certainly throw off your recovery from travel, the tip here is more to keep in the back of your mind as a reminder to get up.
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When the seatbelt sign is off, get out of your seat and move a bit. Walk to the open space by the lavatory and do some full-body stretching.
→ Raise your knee towards your stomach and pull it upwards with both hands. Repeat for each side.
→ Stretch both hands up over your head and then towards the ground. Remember to hinge at the waist on the way down and avoid rounding your back until you’re as far down as you can go flat-backed.
If you’re on a road trip, really move around during your road-side stops. Do more than walk to the bathroom and back. Stretch up and out. Engage your full body for a proper release of tension.
Women over 40 with varicose veins, elevated body weight, or genetic predisposition have elevated risk. If you have a higher risk, wearing compression socks or sleeves while flying may help.
When you are sitting, do it with proper posture. Avoid rounding shoulders forward, but instead, pull them up and back. You want to aim for a straight spine that isn’t rounding forward.
If you’re in business or first class, embrace your extra space and do some in-seat stretches.
Plan Sleep for Your Destination’s Schedule
Even if you’re tired (or wide awake) to try sleep on your home’s schedule. This will start the work of fixing your sleep schedule. Use earplugs and an eye mask as needed to create darkness.
When You Get Home
Correct Your Sleep Schedule
With a new time zone, your main focus when getting home is fixing your sleep cycle. If you’re fighting the urge to sleep early, use our tips from How to Survive the Day After a Bad Night’s Sleep to help survive until your normal routine for bedtime can begin.
By avoiding the urge to fall right into bed, you’re working to remind your circadian rhythm of your usual schedule.
If you can fit it into your budget, booking a massage can be a godsend for aiding your body’s recovery after any discomfort from traveling.
Even if you don’t see a specialist, spending some time on your own muscles can help. For some extra relief, use a lotion with magnesium which soothes body pain.
Before bed, try soaking in an Epsom bath for at least 15 minutes. The warm water can make it easier to fall asleep after and the bath itself with soothe muscles.
Exercise, According to Your Body
Some movement can help, especially if exercise is part of your normal routine, but don’t overdo it just to feel like you’re back in your groove. Match your workout to the level of your energy and the condition of your body after travel.
A light walk might be enough for today.
Now, you don’t have to tackle all the laundry today, but get everything out of your suitcase.
What I do is unpack in one central spot, anything dirty goes right into the hamper or machine. Then, create piles for the rooms other items go. Once your suitcase is empty, put that away and then deal with each pile you’ve made in its respective room.
Be Gentle with Yourself
Most importantly, embrace gentleness. Give yourself what you need to feel rested and ready for the days ahead. Your buffer day gives you essential time to do this, so take the day and really settle back home and prepare yourself for the days ahead.
For your next trip, may your travel recovery be an integral part of your travel plans. After all, the return to real life doesn’t have to be too hard. The above content may contain affiliate links. When you click and shop, we receive a small commission to support our writers
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