From vacation to work mode

Have you ever felt like you need a vacation day to come back from vacation? And then another day just to unpack, clean and restock your fridge?

I’ve been there. Practically that’s what I’ve done after coming back from vacation every time, and I have the luxury of doing so because I have my own business and make my own hours. This year I had a full scheduled booked after vacation so I needed to be WORK MODE ready! That includes unpacking, laundry, food, and most important – MINDSET!

So here are some tips and tricks I learned so you don’t end up feeing this way:

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I think coming back from vacation starts before you leave. Preparing your mind and knowing what to expect when you are gone, and when you come back. Being surprised with an accident or an unpredicted event is one thing but coming back and staying to yourself “I knew it would happen this way” is another! Don’t make it your fault, make it your victory!

  1. Mindset. Have the right expectations for what you will need to do and give yourself room for error. In other words prepare to let things not be perfect, it will be less stressful. Plan an extra day just for your mind to come back to normal routine, and schedule a day for yourself when you should ‘feel’ back. Knowing that’s when you need to be really “ON” will help the process. Write it down in your planner, or set a reminder in your phone calendar and it will allow you to have room to not feel like you’re back.
  2.  Checklist the crap out of your life! Ok, so we all hate doing the list, but making them is easy. I recommend having 3 lists. First write out everything you think that you will absolutely have to do after you come back. Then make 3 separate lists (literally rewrite them): *1st day back *2nd day back *3-5 days after coming back. Give yourself slack and put the to-do list on your schedule so you have 1-2 hours each day to do each item.
  3. The J-O-B. If you know that you have to be at work the day after or the same day after a vacation, prepare ahead of time. Set your day up with no appointment or the absolute minimum of meetings. Schedule 1 hour slots, literally schedule them into your calendar with reminders, to check email and 1 hour slots of time to return phone calls/conference calls. If you work in an environment where you have a lot of data to evaluate and to catch up on, make sure to schedule time to review the data and spread sheets you’ve missed. The 2nd day back at work start with an easy morning (by easy I mean spend more time with your computer then people) and continue the afternoon with meetings and social engagements.
  4. Food, because you will have to cook after spending your savings on food while on vacation. Again, the point is to prepare before you leave. Shop for some freezer meals, or make up your own freezer meals. Schedule what food you and your family will eat for each day of the week (or 2 weeks if that helps) and freeze as much as possible of it. Allow it to be an easy transition and get your crockpot ready. Be sure to throw out all the food that will expire and throw out all left overs before you leave. You will feel SO much better when you come home to a clean fridge (that doesn’t smell) and all it takes is some clorox wipes. P.s. If all else fails, stash a stack of take out menus on the fridge with an envelope full of cash ready for you when you come home. Sometimes cooking is hard to come back to. Leave cash, thats going to be important when you just spent everything shopping on your vaca.
  5. Cleaning the house. Once again, prepare before you leave, if at all possible clean the house the day before you leave and then it will be less work when coming back. If you need to, hire a maid. It is ok. You cannot do everything especially if you have kids. Or pay your kids to clean! They will need the cash before a vacation. Make this one as easy as possible so you don’t have to think long about it, just decide.
  6. Laundry. Seriously, don’t you hate this one the most of them all? This one is my personal least favorite. I don’t mind it, it just takes so much time that when I’m trying to get back into work mode, it seems like I don’t have patience for it. First, do all the laundry necessary like underwear and socks for 3 days after coming back, then schedule a day (day 4 or 5 after coming back) to do all the laundry you need to. Pick a favorite movie and spend a couple hours doing laundry, folding, with your movie on. Maybe a Starbucks would be a perfect fit with that! It will be very confusing for your brain, you will be doing something you hate but it won’t hurt as much. But definitely put it all away, nothing feels worse then the clutter of clean laundry pile.
  7. Unpacking. This one depends on how long you are gone and how many suitcases you have. Weekend trip, unpack right away. Short trip – unpack in 1-2 days. A week or longer trip – unpack 1 suitcase a day, or set up a rule that it all has to be done, put away, suitcases back into storage after 4 days. I find that scheduling these things helps a lot! And I promise it will make you feel better.


I hope yo find these 7 tips helpful!

Here are a few extras! Some of my personal favorite tips to make you feel welcome when you come back home. The extra is for someone OCD like me.



  •  Traveling for a week or longer? Ask a family member, trusted friend or coworker to stop by your home/apartment every couple of days. Not just to take care of your pets and plants, ask them to open the all windows and let the house air out. There is nothing worse to come home to then that musty smell of you’ve been away too long and your house smells like an old lady. Don’t trust anyone?Get some air freshers to be plugged in while you’re gone.
  • Hide an extra key. It may be better to give it to a neighbor. Just in that case when you lose your luggage or just loose your keys and still want to get into your home without breaking any windows.
  • If you have serious symptoms of OCD and usually feel overwhelmed coming home to a lot of work and back to work, I recommend some of my favorite therapy sessions. Free of charge.
    • fluff some pillows up by pounding all your energy, anger, feelings of sorrow from leaving the beach, frustration and whatever else you may feel. You will feel better and your pillows will feel great when you go to sleep!
    • spray up the shower with that bleach that makes you cry because its so strong! Scrub that bathroom up and just cry your heart out! After all, its the bleach that made you cry, not the stress. Totally normal. Total therapy sesh.
    • take a long shower, have pity city time while in the shower and once out, you are all good to be an adult again and deal with the problems life sends your way!


Coming back is hard, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

At the end of the day when all is done, everyone is fed, you’re caught up, reward yourself!


I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Subscribe to get more tips to beautify your life and your home!


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