You don’t really realize the toll that a trip can take on you mentally and physically until you are suddenly plunged back into reality.
It’s been two weeks since I returned to the states from my two week adventure in France and Italy. Those two weeks were maybe my favorite two of my entire life. The trip was a life changer. I had no responsibility except to enjoy myself, explore new places, and eat lots of great food. Anyone else who has unplugged for a week or more I’m sure can identify with the feelings of freedom and pure bliss that I experienced.
But, it had to come to an end. And I returned home, invigorated from what I had experienced, yet exhausted from it all.
I’ve learned now, after reading a few other blogs, that it’s important to have a recovery plan for when you return. Especially when crossing several time zones to make your return. So I’m going to tell you what I did and what I learned.
When I traveled I packed as minimally as possible. I did my best to keep my skincare routine as usual but definitely didn’t adhere to it. Add to that the various conditions I had exposed my face to from heat, sun, flying, etc. and I definitely needed a recharge. So one of the first things I did when I got home was give myself a facial.
Here’s what I used:
- Cleanse with Neutrogena Naturals fresh cleansing + makeup remover.
- Exfoliate with Aveda radiant skin refiner.
- Multimasking. I used Formula 10.0.6 Draw it All Out Skin-Detoxing peel mask and Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial.
- Treatment with Aveda Tulasara Radiant oleation oil.
- Then proceed as usual with my skincare routine: Kopari coconut rose toner, Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, Laroche-Posay Anthelios SPF 15 moisturizer, and Sunday Riley Auto Correct eye cream.
My skin felt so amazing after this! I felt hydrated and refreshed and recovered.
Jet lag is a bitch. I expected to deal with it a little bit, but it was much worse on my return than when I arrived in Paris. I read a few articles that said jet lag is often worse going east than west, but based on my experience, I have to disagree.
When I flew home I came through Boston, spent the night, and then returned to Kansas City the next day. I arrived in Boston around 8pm local time, which was 2am Paris time. I tried to sleep on the plane, but I understand now the error of my ways. 1) I should not have had any wine. 2) I should not have kept watching movies. At home I can always fall asleep to TV but other blogs suggest that this is a mistake, and I now agree. 3) I did not drink enough water on the flight.
So I arrived in Boston and by the time we left the airport it was 9pm, so 3am. I was mostly wide awake but also a little delirious. By the time we got to my friends’ house and got settled into bed it was 4:30am local time. So I’d been awake nearly 20 hours. Yikes.
I slept fairly well, and then slept for a bit on my flight home. Ok, this was good. I got back to my apartment around 1pm CT and decided to get some lunch. So I walked down to my favorite restaurant and got my favorite sandwich and a glass of rose (which I didn’t NEED, but was accustomed to and it just seemed right).
Then I went home and slept. Until 9pm. I got up and brushed my teeth and was back in bed by 10pm. And then I was awake at 4am. I laid in bed and checked social media until 5am. But then I was up. I attempted productivity. Had some coffee. Did all of my laundry. Went and got a massage (part of my intentional recovery plan). Went to the grocery store. And then I’m pretty sure I napped again. And I was back in bed at 9pm.
Those first few days back were horrible. I started to think something was wrong with me so I started doing searches like “how to recover from jet lag” and “how long should jet lag last?” I found reassurance as I read posts from other bloggers explaining that it could take up to a day per time zone to recover (so 7 days total. Awesome).
I read a blog that said you might feel like a two year old that missed their nap, and that’s pretty much how I felt. I was cranky. Groggy. Felt exhausted. I knew I had things to do but I just couldn’t do them. I went for a walk one morning, then came back and napped immediately. It was all I could do to function as a human. I did my best to stay fed and hydrated and then just let my body do what it needed, which was sleep. Or at least just lay around.
By Sunday I started to feel like a human again, which was great, because I had book club and I didn’t want to miss it. I had slept a reasonable amount, then napped for a bit in the afternoon, then by Monday I was back on what felt like a fairly normal sleep schedule. Phew!
I’m admittedly, two weeks later, still struggling with this one. I found myself, that first week, attempting to recreate bits of my trip, particularly the meals. I bought a really nice loaf of bread and some burrata and tomatoes and fruit and let myself enjoy the breakfasts and lunches I had been accustomed to. I read somewhere that recreating parts of your trip that were particularly enjoyable can help make it easier to come back from a vacation, and I do think this helped. I have more to say on the topic of food but I’m saving that for another post.
When I was removed from my reality for two entire weeks I really enjoyed it. And now that I’m back, I find myself thinking a lot about when and how I can leave again. I’m supposed to be focused on my side hustles – starting my new business and building up my blog, but I find myself daydreaming more than usual. And also wanting to nap more. So more to come on this subject too.
I had a similar experience when I returned from Europe in April. No jet lag really at all on the way over, severe jet lag when I returned home again. My sleep patterns were messed up for a couple of weeks. I also became concerned because it went on so long. I also had a bit of post-awesome-trip blues too. I’m sure a lot of it was fueled by exhaustion but I was a bit sad back at home following the trip. I cannot wait to go again!