We recently spent a week in the Colorado Springs area and it was an absolute blast. We explored several different fun places and ended the week with a two night camping trip in the mountains. We were in no hurry to leave and as a result didn’t pull into our driveway until after 1am. Because of the late hour, we grabbed the bare essentials needed to go to sleep and left the rest for the next day….or two days. After we finally got all the things from our trip out of the car, they sat on the floor or the table for another two days and before long, I began feeling completely overwhelmed with all the things. I should also add that due to my level of exhaustion, I let the dishes piled up for a few days after our return.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good vacation. Whether it’s spent at a beach, at a lake, or in the mountains, it’s my happy place, away from the chaos of reality. What I don’t like is the massive reality check that hits you when you walk through the door. Seriously, it takes me forever to unpack from a week long trip because I’m worn out and frankly, a little overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.
Where do you start?
Where do you start when you are completely overwhelmed with the mess and so tired you feel like you’re going to fall over at any given moment? First, just tell yourself you only need to do one thing. Just start with one thing.
Do the dishes. I don’t know why this is, but everything always looks better when the dishes are done. Maybe it’s because you eye doesn’t automatically get stuck on the full sink that has begun expanding to the neighboring counters. Whatever the reason, I always feel less overwhelmed when I have my dishes done and my counters clear. So if you only have energy to do one thing, my advice is start here.
Start a load of laundry. Any vacation creates laundry, but a camping trip, complete with fires and 15 layers of dust….the amount of laundry seems to double. This task takes a little more will power if you want to get ALL the laundry done and not live out of the dryer for a week. But it is doable.
Make sure you are clean. I know I said you should do dishes first. But honestly this needs to be step one, especially if you were camping. If you are anything like me, you have a really hard time getting motivated to do anything if you feel dirty and sloppy. So start off your vacation recovery by cleaning yourself up and putting yourself together. Do your make up. Fix you hair. Wear a dress or skirt if you need to. You will feel much better and more capable of tackling the jobs at hand.
Put on music, audiobook or podcast. If nothing else seems to perk up my “cleaning spirit”, then I turn to music, books, or podcasts for inspiration. My choice of media entirely depends on how I feel that day. When I know that listening to someone talk at me will just bog me down, I look to music. Upbeat praise and worship always lifts my soul. Other times though, I need to hear someone talk about cleaning or homemaking to get me in the mood. and inspired. This is where audiobooks or podcasts come in.
Go easy on yourself
It’s so easy to let yourself get overwhelmed and discouraged by all the stuff. It’s also hard when “reentry” is combined with exhaustion from a trip because, let’s be honest, there is no vacation for mom when kids are involved. But just take a deep breath and remember that it’s not a life or death situation. You can and will catch up. The key is to give yourself some time to physically recover from a trip before you attempt to get your house in order.