Y’know, there’s really nothing like a great holiday to make you realise how much you dislike reality. For some reason, when we escape for a few weeks, we lose sight of all the things we love about our everyday, and seem to only be able to focus on all the bad bits. Our thoughts jump to returning to work and answering a cluttered inbox – not catching up with our colleagues and hearing everyone’s news. We think of ironing, washing, and public transport, rather than being back near our favourite coffee shop or sleeping in our own bed.

Like a lot of things in life, the way you feel about returning from holiday is all about mindset. By the last week of our America trip, I could feel myself casting my thoughts a few days ahead, thinking about all the things I’m not looking forward to going back to. This negativity is out of character for me. I used to be a real adventurer, happy with change and uncertainty, but over the years – and since I moved to the other side of the world – I’ve become far more satisfied with the simplicity of my everyday. I love a low-key weekend, or a weeknight with no plans beyond cooking up a pasta bake and settling into an hour of reality TV. So for me to dread returning home so deeply, I knew it was all in my mind.

So to kick this negative Nancy headspace, here’s 8 things I’m doing to bounce back from holiday blues

Plan to do something you love the day you get back

Whether that’s catching up with friends and family or simply walking to your favourite coffee shop, plan something you love for the day you get back. It can be easy to slip into the spiral of laundry and ironing and planning for getting back to work, or cleaning the kitchen or food shopping. Sure, these things need to be done, but give yourself something else to focus on. Mr TBG and I are planning to do our usual weekend walk the afternoon we get back, and get a coffee or a doughnut from our favourite shop.

Make a to-do list on the plane back

Use the plane time to get clear on all the things you need to do. Half the time you’ll just be living in a cloud of dread with mundane tasks whurring around your brain with no real order or clarity. When you take the time to write out what you need to do, you’ll probably realise none of it will take as long as you thought! A feeling of organisation can also evokes a feeling of completion and accomplishment, which will help improve your overall outlook on being home.

Write a meal plan and shopping list and have your groceries delivered

If you’re able to get a grocery delivery when you get back, it can take a weight off your mind and free up some time. You’ll also avoid overspending by sticking to a list. Sometimes when you’ve been away for what feels like forever, you lose track of how you plan your weekly meals, and end up buying random things you don’t need and therefore overspending – not ideal when you’ve returned from a trip. Writing out your meal plan will also help you feel more on top of things for the week ahead.

Take it easy and don’t make grand plans

Go easy on yourself. Sometimes we return from holiday with grand plans of starting a new hobby or a new exercise regime or vowing to eat extra clean to shed any holiday kilos we’ve piled on. Push these to the back of your mind for a few days. Making grand plans and holding yourself to unrealistic standards can ultimately add to the dissatisfaction you feel about returning home, and set your whole week off on a bad note. Write down any goals that came to your mind while you were away in a clear and optimistic headspace, and revisit them once you’re settled back into your usual routine.

Say no

Be kind to yourself and know when to say no. Friends and family may jump at the chance to catch up and haer all about your adventures, but if you’re feeling tired, jet-lagged, groggy or just a bit muddled, say no. Taking on too much when you first get back can make you feel overwhelmed and longing for holiday calm even more.

Make a list of things you’re actually looking forward to

You might have to think a little bit about this one, as your mind might be stuck in that negative fog that stirs up when you pack up your beach cabana and head home. Get granular, and write down things that will bring you joy at home. For me, that’s our cat, my soda stream, not living out of a suitcase, my own shampoo, getting back to my lunchtime walks in the park, spring weather, catching up with our friends for lunch, seeing my colleagues and catching up on the office news, and Melbourne coffee!

Invest in convenience when you need to

If you have got a little too much to do, see if you can enlist help from somewhere. Could a friend come and help you with the kids while you unpack? Could a parent maybe do a load of laundry for you? Are there apps or services you could pay for to make things a little easier? Sometimes booking a one-off home cleaner, a laundry service, or posting a task on Airtasker to get some errands run can make things a whole lot easier.

Unpack straight away

I’ve always been a put-it-off unpacker. I’ll usually throw open my suitcase, tear out all my essentials and giddily remove anything I’ve bought, and then leave the mundane to fester in the corner of the lounge for days. Unpacking straight away gets you back into routine in an instant. Get everything organised and put that suitcase away – it saves you an annoying reminder of the fact that a week ago you were drinking a mimosa on a rooftop somewhere!