I talk a lot about the importance of taking a travel re-entry day over on Instagram. And y’all seem to really love and appreciate the idea! So, I decided it was high time there was a blog post about it too.
I don’t know about y’all, but the first day back from a trip, I am a complete and total zombie. It’s almost impossible for me to get anything done. I try to stay on task but it’s not always easy. And I try not get frustrated with myself and my kids. That’s usually easier said than done.
But then I realized… maybe I just need to cut myself some slack.
No matter where we go or how long we are gone, I need a bit before I can get back into the swing of things. I realized I need a re-entry day when I get back from trips or vacations. I used to get so incredibly frustrated because the first day back was always really stressful.
Re-Entry Day is my way of handling that stress.
A re-entry day is my way of showing grace to my family (and myself!) as we get back to our normal routine. I should add that I don’t know if someone else called it “Re-Entry Day” before or if I made it up. I know my people. And I know that around here…that first day back NOTHING too productive is going down. It’s just not.
People always comment, “I wish could have a re-entry day. But I work a real job.”
Just because I don’t work outside of my home doesn’t mean my job isn’t real. I have to make a conscious decision to put my work on a back burner while I get my family readjusted to our lives and routine. Some of you have kids in public or private schools and you work outside the home. It might not be as easy as just pressing pause on your life for a day while you catch up. But I want to encourage you, when you schedule a vacation, try to plan your travel so that you allow yourself an extra day – or half day – to catch up. It’s life changing.
This is especially helpful if your travel includes a time zone change!
There’s just nothing quite like losing two hours here, gaining two hours there, to throw your body off kilter. But if you can give yourself an extra day to bring your body clock closer to normal – it will make a huge difference. Usually the next morning when I have to wake up, I feel like a was hit by a truck! Giving myself an extra day, or even just a few hours, helps me slow down and allow my body to catch up.
Here’s a few things I do to help the next day go a little smoother:
If you homeschool, give yourself an extra day off.
Barry usually has to go right back to work, but I do not make the kids do school on re-entry day. They mostly play outside and do a few chores, but I do let them take it easy with a little screen-time if the weather is bad. I will add since most of Annie’s school now is online, I do let her do some of that. The other kids enjoy watching a few of her subjects as well.
Have easy meals.
The first few days after a trip are not when you want to be planning a dinner party or trying new recipes. Cheese and crackers for lunch AND dinner is okay!! No fancy meals. This a great time to pull out a freezer meal if you are into that sort of thing. Give yourself a chance to breathe. Don’t overthink mealtime!
Don’t plan ANYTHING outside of your house.
Especially with kids, leaving the house can be a lot of effort. After we’ve been traveling, we like to lay low. We like to stay home and get things taken care of around there. Even if our first day back is a Sunday, we will often stay home. We still love Jesus, even if we don’t go to church. I try not to leave the house for anything – except groceries. But even for groceries, I wait until Barry gets home from work so that I can go alone, without all the children.
Do your laundry.
Yes, this is work. But I’m serious – do your laundry AND put it away. You’ll be truly shocked at how much stress you relieve by getting those suitcases unpacked and your laundry completed. But one note…you’re probably not going to feel like it. This might just be from my experience. 🙂 If that’s the case, don’t rush into it like a bull in a china shop thinking that if you’ve been gone for a week and you can get in all done in 3 hours. It’ll take a minute, but it’s worth it!
Kids need time to adjust too.
My kids travel with us at times, and at others they stay with Barry’s mom. They are little people! And just like we need that re-entry day – so do they! My kids always have an adjustment period after they come back from having fun all week. When they get back to Mommy General’s house, they need a bit of time to get used to the rules and routines of the family.
If I could sum it up in a few words…
Show yourself some grace!
You will get off your schedule no matter when you go or for how long. We can all benefit from a slow and steady easing back into normal life. If you have children in school and/or work outside the home, try to see if there is any way to arrange your schedule so you can at least get a few hours to get back into the swing of things. If you don’t implement something like this – you might find that your suitcases sit in your living room for weeks! I hope you’ll give re-entry day a try! All you need is a little grace (and lots of crackers and cheese).
What are your thoughts on Re-Entry Day?