To the wanderlusty young professionals among us: is there any greater letdown than the vacation withdrawal? You know what we're talking about. You planned a trip for weeks or months, saved for it, took time off from work, maybe even challenged yourself to a preparatory juice cleanse -- the new you was finally becoming a real person! -- and then you returned home slightly sicker, fatter, and sadder than you've felt since New Years. Overindulgence and little foresight into the post-vacation future will do that to anyone. And while nothing will ever fully cure the back-to-reality blues, injecting a little mindfulness into your holiday is sure to at least take the edge off. Even better, giving one or all of these tricks a shot may even make the trip itself more rewarding.
[Photo via Brooklyn Localeur Steven Rousseau]
Turn on your out-of-office email reply -- or don't
Traditional wisdom tells us to completely unplug while on a getaway. Those messages can wait, right? If you're the type who feels a real release when you know you don't have to check your inbox, that's great. (Also, is your company hiring?) But plenty of those climbing the career ladder find that the stress of professional negligence will really harsh a vacation mellow. If your stomach drops every time you think of unanswered emails piling up, carve out an hour each morning of your trip to catch up on your correspondence. It'll give you a real sense of accomplishment and keep your mind from drifting to your now-imperfect attendance record at your weekly staff meeting.
Explore the sights on foot
Hey, cars are awesome. They get you from Point A to Point B with ease and keep you from acquiring more blisters than you have toes. But exploring a city or rustic escape with a run will not only familiarize you more quickly, it'll keep you from feeling like you're still full from lunch when you sit down to dinner. (That's right. We know how you eat on vacations.) Whether you're lacing up your sneakers for an honest-to-goodness workout or taking a late-evening walk to catch a glimpse of the city at sunset, getting out on two legs is a guaranteed way to make your day better. And with step-counting apps like Breeze, it's easy to feel motivated to get up and move. Not sure where to start? Go where the healthy people are, like outdoor trails and pedestrian-friendly city streets. (Bonus: these places are also where the most attractive people tend to congregate.)
[Photo via L.A. Localeur Josh Mantooth]
End the vicious cycle of self-medicating
Oh, boy. You said you'd cut yourself off at 10 last night, but the beer really just poured itself, huh? That's OK -- you're on vacation! But if you won't get out of bed this morning for anything less than a Grand Slam Breakfast, vat of coffee, and prescription-strength ibuprofen, you're doing it wrong. Medicating your vacation ailments with drugs and junk food is only going to make you feel worse in the long run, and your pants aren't going to fit right for the rest of the trip. The next time you feel like fixing a self-inflicted wound with a non-holistic approach, think again. A parfait and a pour-over sounds OK, right? You'll thank yourself for it later that day, we promise.
Indulge in farm-to-table dining
Important disclaimer: we still really want you to have a great trip. The best, even. We want this trip to be so amazing that you legitimately consider a move to what you'll now always refer to as your happy place. We want you to come back from the beach with your hair in cornrows, from Europe thinking you know French, from Hawaii with some weird tribal tattoo. So when it comes time to pick a restaurant, opt for something that makes your belly and your body happy. A sure-fire winner? Find a classy, hyper-local farm-to-table restaurant. (They're everywhere.) You'll be enjoying a meal at a business that supports the community, where the staff are like family and the menu is mercifully free of fried things covered in gravy.
[Photo via Miami Localeur Margarita Wells]
Give yourself a staycation at the end of your vacation
It never seems like a good idea to book a flight home from your vacation any earlier than you absolutely have to. Work's at 8 a.m. Monday morning, so fly back Sunday afternoon, right? No. Not right. Forget that notion entirely. Going straight back into your routine can feel overwhelming, and you're sure to forgo your healthy lunch habits or evening workout because you simply can't function at 100 percent. Getting home at least 24 hours -- let's shoot for 36 -- before you have to be back in the real world will allow you to rest up, unpack, and generally avoid the feeling that there's no way you can measure up to your pre-vacation self ever again. Taking a rest day is sure to prolong your vacation high, and it might even make you appreciate your day-to-day on a whole new level.