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Going on holiday? Here’s how to avoid post-travel fatigue



Taking time to unwind fosters a positive mindset, boosting productivity and promoting better overall well-being.

It’s holiday time and most people will be travelling. Here’s a travel truth that’s tough to admit: sometimes we don’t return home calm, refreshed and ready to take on life with renewed vigour.

Sometimes, we return feeling grumpy and exhausted, and that can all too easily end a vacation on a sour note.

So what’s the antidote to post-travel fatigue? It’s developing an anti-exhaustion game plan and implementing it before, during and after a trip.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be more likely to bounce back from post-travel fatigue.

Prep for a calm return

Before leaving for a trip, take care of any pressing to-dos, like cleaning up around the house (pay particular attention to the kitchen, since food or rubbish could attract pests), take out the dustbin so it doesn’t stink up the house, weatherproof your home and implement some basic home security measures.

That way you won’t have to worry about straightening the bedroom, running out for toilet paper or have to deal with unexpected issues when you get home. Instead, you can spend some time recovering from the trip and nursing all the feel-good emotions that come with it.

Practice self-care

Before, during and after a trip, make sure you practice healthy habits in order to increase the chances of feeling your best once you return.

Stay hydrated, eat nutritious foods, get some exercise and try to take it easy on alcohol and caffeine – at least while your body’s trying to overcome any problems. Do what you can to ensure you’ll be as comfortable as possible during your trip.

Pack a light blanket and travel pillow for long flights or road trips and bring headphones to cancel out noise on public transportation. Paying attention to these small details can increase the chances that you’ll get enough sleep while you’re away.

Don’t cram too much into the trip

It can be tempting to visit every attraction in your destination’s 400-page guidebook, but the frenetic pace of tourism can quickly eat up all your energy reserves.

Prioritise quality experiences over quantity and you’ll avoid burnout so you’ll return from the trip refreshed instead of weary.

Maximise your exposure to natural light

In order to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle (which is critical for fighting post-travel fatigue), our bodies require exposure to natural light.

But shifting time zones, long flights and the disrupted schedules that come along with travel can mean we don’t get the light exposure our bodies need. Make an effort to get outside every day.

Take your time getting home

If you’re returning from multiple time zones away and your schedule is flexible, try adding in a stopover at a destination that’s halfway home.

Staying there for an extra night or two will help you adjust to different time zones one by one (instead of getting slammed with the cumulative jet lag of crossing multiple time zones). Don’t have time for a stopover?

Consider making minor adjustments to your eating and sleeping schedules in the days leading up to your return flight so you’re eating and sleeping within a few hours of your normal routine. This will help make the transition less dramatic when you get home.

Schedule in recovery time

While it can be tempting to eke out every last moment of vacation time at your destination, arriving home on Sunday night and getting back to work on Monday morning is a sure-fire way to feel awful.

Try to build in a couple of recovery days so you have time to adjust at your own pace. If you must head straight back to work, at least try to schedule meetings according to the time zone from which you’ve just returned; this will help ensure you have enough energy for your zoom calls.

Give yourself something to look forward to

It can be deflating to return home from a great vacation because it means it is over, and the emotion[1]al slump can increase feelings of post-travel fatigue.

Help keep the feel-good vibes flowing by giving yourself something to look forward to on your return; maybe take up a new hobby, take a day trip to a neighbouring city or start planning your next vacation.

And there you have it: a little advance planning can go a long way toward making sure you return from the holidays fully capable of getting back to real life.

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