On Returning Home

 In General

Post Holiday Blues Rainbows

Overwhelmed and exhausted, distant and desiring to be back ‘there’, you hover over a threshold of sadness. Hesitant to show your sorrow as weakness or insult, you clench and hold it in until… you can’t.  “It’s normal,” they say about the ‘post holiday blues’. “It hurts,” you think and swallow back the pain.

Familiar? So, how do you get over it and on with it? How do you act happy to be home so as not to offend your loved ones who were waiting for you?

Well, you don’t, or at least I don’t. Anyways, who just “gets over it”? I’m pretty sure those three words have always contained a lot of process, work and even time but there is a way, a ‘process’ even, that helps you stride with ease and grace on the walk home.

I am intimate with goodbyes. I know the liberation of the unknown, the grief of abandoning the tribe and everything in between. I know the heartache and the heart high.  Years of travel and living abroad have given me a lot of practice in the process of returning home. This is what helps me ease back into the flow of daily life and sync up with the rhythm of my surrounding environment and reconnect with friends.

Upon Returning Home:

Unpack straight away. Make it fun. Play some music, dance around, laugh at the memories of your recent trip. You can handle this even with the worst case of jet-lag.

Go to sleep. Well, that night anyways, really really early. Quench your weary body and rest your fuzzy mind. Take melatonin if you need it and let sleep seduce you.

The next day wake early and enjoy the morning sounds. Drink water first, then green tea over coffee. Once you feel truly hydrated you can get caffeinated (if you’re into it).

Do something physical that you love and that you find empowering like a sweaty yoga practice, a walk on the beach, hill sprints, a solo dance party etc.

Get creative. All those emotions are waiting to be expressed. Unleash them on paper, in a song, a dance…  Let your emotions run wild in your art and spare your friends and family the blow of your holiday hangover.

Kiss the earth with your feet. Feel her welcome you home. See how much nature you can get between your toes, sand, grass, dirt. Your body may feel a little slow to sync up. Give it a chance and it will.

Say hello to the sunshine. Get outside as much as you can during the day. I know that returning home often means saying farewell to fair weather for a while. Try to embrace the elements as much as you can and you will feel more connected to your environment (grounded).

Lots of water, in you and all over you. Drink plenty, you know why. Swim or just float in the ocean, a lake, a pool or the bath. Your body and soul will smile.

Allow yourself alone time and then get out and be social. At first you probably need some space and silence. A little isolation is healthy but a few days is plenty and then it’s time to go say hi to all of your friends who have been missing you. Try to meet up during the day and do something outdoors. Keep it simple, like a lunch-time picnic or afternoon walk.

Go ahead, write your list of To-Do’s (I just finished page 5 of mine). For everything that you tick off, do something nice for yourself. Keep it simple like reading a poem or doing a handstand and you won’t feel like nice things are a waste of time.

Those are just a few simple things that can help you to feel lighter in your first week or two of returning home. And remember, it’s OK to be tender for a few days or longer. Imagine if we didn’t have to be such hard core Superheroes all the time!

On that note, it’s time for me to go outside and spray my face with sunshine and the hose…and then get back to accounts.

Peace and love my global family!

P.S. This is me wearing a helmet. I know that it’s not cool. Now you know that I’m not either.


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  • Chloe

    Exactly how I felt coming back from Vertical Blue 2013… I would add that you can let yourself soak a bit into sadness sometimes… it just shows that we are human and that we have a heart… sadness is a feeling, and we love feeling. I welcome sadness sometimes, what I can’t deal with is the absence of feelings! (ok, sadness, not too often and not too long 😉

    Thank you for sharing this Kate, it’s so true, beautiful!

  • katemiddleton

    Thanks Chloe! I agree, allowing ourselves to feel the full range, the whole spectrum of our feelings is important and necessary if we want to let them pass through us. I know from personal experience that if I deny my feelings for too long they will inevitably get stuck and are much harder to handle once they “solidify” than when they are more fluid and well, wanting to flow 😉

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