Coming home from vacation is the absolute worst. One minute you’re frolicking on the beach, and the next you’re sitting in the middle seat on your way home, the tropical sun’s warmth a distant memory.

Perhaps my least favorite part of coming home is all the work involved in reintegrating into normal life. Getting back into a daily routine can be brutal. I’m under the impression that it only takes a week of vacation to decimate any iota of motivation and self-discipline I had going for me before hopping on a plane.

I got tired of the post-vacation dread and chaos, so I decided to do something about it. Pre-vacay, I started making a to do list for after vacation. It sounds a bit Type A, but hear me out. I’m a planner, and having a post-vacation plan in place eases the sting just a little bit. Here’s how I ease back into normal life after my sunburn and vacay vibes have faded.


Coming home to an empty fridge is no fun, but groceries aren’t going to magically appear for you. Set aside an hour before jetting off to make a grocery list so you can buzz through the aisles ASAP upon your arrival home. Bonus points if you hire a service to have it delivered. I also make a list of important tasks that need to be taken care of once I’m settled back at home. While my brain is still in the tropics, my premade checklist makes it a little easier to push my way through all of the adulting that awaits me.

to do list


This rule is especially important when you’re staring down a wicked case of jet lag. Make plans for your first full morning home - a dentist appointment, brunch with a friend, or a workout at the gym. Having something to hold you accountable to the alarm clock sounds rough, but you can thank me later. Hitting snooze over and over sounds good until you’re wide awake at 2 AM because your brain refuses to admit you’re not on Hawaii time anymore. Making plans will force you up and out of bed at a decent time, even if you literally have to drag yourself out of bed.


Another quirk of mine is that I cannot leave a messy house behind. Laundry has to be done and put away, floors vacuumed, and everything in its place. When I get home and don’t have to clean, that’s bliss. It also helps jump-start my unpacking. When the house is clean, nothing bothers me more than a half-packed suitcase. That leads me to my next point…


Don’t let your suitcase sit there. We all do it, but really? It takes 15 minutes to empty it out, throw in a load of laundry, and call it done. Besides, who loves finding a half eaten airplane snack in their backpack a week later?

laundry basket


All of those stunning photos you took? Don’t risk losing them. Get them off your camera or phone and backed up to the cloud or your hard drive. Quickly flip through and delete blurry ones and duplicates. I’d rather unpack 100 suitcases than do this, to be honest. But flipping through photos a year later and wondering why you still have 62 photos of the same sunset will save you a lot of time when you go to share them on social media or make a photo album.


If you can, add a buffer day (or two) between the end of your vacation and going back to work. Jet lag aside, being hurtled right into the hustle of your 9 to 5 is a surefire way to corrupt your hard-earned relaxed state of mind.


This one is a doozy, but hear me out. I just got back from Maui and my internal clock was a mess. My husband told me about an article he read about the cure-all for jet lag. Apparently walking around barefoot in the grass for 20 minutes helps ward off the crippling fatigue associated with flying between time zones. It’s summertime here in the midwest, so it’s truly the perfect time to test it. But mid-winter? No thanks. I’ll take a nap over frostbite anyday. Hydrating is another way to beat the sleepies, and might be a little more convenient. So drink up or take a barefoot stroll ‘round your yard and say goodbye to jet lag.

Do you have any tips for getting back into normal life? Share them below!

green grass

Crossing time zones soon? First, you’ll need to pack a bag.