Travel is disruptive. When we travel we intentionally disrupt our lives! In a foreign land we’re unaccustomed to cultural norm. Not in our own bed, sleep isn’t fit. Food is foreign to our bodies. In an unfamiliar place, we’re slightly on edge. Routines do not resemble daily lives. Thus, whether for business or pleasure trips, we’ve intentionally and or unknowingly created disruption. When we return home, it can take us awhile to feel our feet on solid ground.
This was my experience recently. Returning from an outstanding teacher training for the Search Inside Ourself Leadership Institute, work overwhelmed me. My internal alarm clock went off at 4:00 am. By 3:00 pm my stomach screamed for dinner. Introductions at multiple networking events were garbled. Although the trip’s focus was about Mindfulness practices, my brain was anything but aware or quiet.
Traveling to Berlin was inspiring and concurrently agonizing. So much tragic history to examine as walls have gladly crumbled and a city vibrantly redefines itself. The trip contained disruptive memories asking us to find our best selves.
Even when vacation has replenished our senses and or a business trip has been fruitful, the first days back home can be an adjustment. We’re tired from the trip. Our minds and hearts are elsewhere, still relaxing on the beach or climbing the mountain peak. We lack clarity. We feel behind on our tasks at work and even anxious. Yes, travel has disrupted our rhythm. How can we get back into our groove?
Breathe and take stock…here are a some suggestions for your return!
Cut yourself slack. Travel is taxing. It’s hard on our bodies. Give yourself time to find your rhythm again. From your long list of “To Do’s” pick only a few for the first day and be satisfied with accomplishing a little less. If you’re momentum feels fresh, then go for more activities. Sleep more during your first week home, too. Let your body recover first.
Refer to your per-departure list. Before you leave, make a list of what you’ll tackle when you return. Start this list a week or so before you leave. Usually we have unrealistic expectations of what needs to be completed before leaving on a trip. Creating a list for when you return should ease pre-departure stress. When back at work, you can begin to feel productive quickly by starting with the post-trip task list.
Wonder about what’s not feeling right. When physically away, we garner so much perspective on our lives. If you feel ill at ease, “out of sorts” more than normal, use the emotions as a source of information about your current life. Perhaps it’s time to make some changes. At least consider why it’s so hard to get back in the swing of things. Acknowledging your emotions will help transform the moment.
Go for simple. Focus on one activity versus becoming overwhelmed. Take one step at a time and concurrently revel in the ordinary: “There are times when the entire arrangement of our existence is disrupted and we long then for just one ordinary day – seeing our ordinary life as greatly desirable, even wonderful, in the light of the terrible disruption that has taken place. Difficulty opens our eyes to pleasures we had taken for granted.” (― Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart). Often there are so many memories associated with travel that it takes some time to process. If we simplify our schedules, we’ll better be able to manage recent experiences.
Notice what you missed. Pause and look around. What did you miss about home? Conversely what did you love about your time away? Revel in the reflection. You’ll ground yourself in gratitude for “what is” and “what was”, thankful for the whole spectrum of experience.
What’s been disrupted? What does topsy-turvey disruption look like now that you’re home? How might you unwind the knot in your stomach? Often disruption manifests as a series of necessary “events” impeding progress yet preceding new beginnings and conclusions. It’s confusion ahead of finding answers to the “What just happened?” question. Disruption is a lack of ease as represented in American society today, ahead of sharpened awareness.
Despite some hurdles of “re-entry”, travel can be a source of new ideas and “ah ha” moments, especially experienced when you return. Let disruption fuel your innovation. Trust that you’ll find your rhythm with solid self-care and kindness and patience. Invite in travel’s gifts.
“True innovation and disruption happens outside of the accepted playing field, outside of the court, outside of the battleground. Disrupruption breaches the field and changes the game.”