Here’s another one of those “from-the-heart” posts that can be a little awkward and a little cheesy.
Coming home can be a tough thing. It’s a mix of I’m too old to stay with my parents, am I really moving forward in my life, and have I really grown after all this time or am I the same person as the last time I was here? It’s kind of overwhelming.
Maybe my brain just can’t handle the sudden sense of being uprooted, coming back to this familiar-yet-different place. Whatever it is, my past methods of coping have led to extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and bouts of uncharacteristic depression. This time, I knew what was coming, so I prepared myself as best I could.
Here’s what worked for me. These ideas are with the assumption that you’ve arrived home in between working and travelling, and without a specific plan of action for what’s to come or when it will be coming.
Have a deadline
It’s no use to come back with vague ideas of the future. Ideas like “I’ll apply for jobs and see what happens,” or “I’ll figure it out once I get there,” just don’t work out for everyone. You should have a plan—even if it’s a loose one.
This can be easy if you’re moving from a state of work to a state of travel, going the other way isn’t always the simplest thing. However, endlessly waiting for job offers to role in isn’t always the best-laid solution. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, like using your savings to move across the country. Sometimes, it’s the only way to get yourself out of a rut. There are always backups and solutions if you hit a dead end.
If you have no idea where to start and you’ve really got no timeline, give yourself a maximum of two months. That’s pretty arbitrary, but it’s enough time to plan your next step and get yourself together, without being so long that you begin to feel stuck or like the end isn’t within sight.
Plan your weeks
Since you have a deadline, you also a period of time that you need to fill. It’s easy to say that you’ll go running every morning, you’ll write for two hours every evening, you’ll focus on learning and bettering yourself in between the planning or the job searches. Once the time comes, you may find that perfect routine has gone nowhere.
So, break up your weeks with solid plans that give you definitive periods of time to get something done. If I know I’m going camping next week for three days, I’ll work a lot harder to get things done before I go. Endless time without the scheduled events can decay into laziness and boredom, it’s natural. Take the time to schedule beforehand and you’ll find you’re being a lot more productive.
Again, if you have no idea where to start, try not to have one or two days in a row that are completely empty during the week. It can feel good to have free time, but too much can be a dangerous thing.
Prepare yourself for the emotions
Coming home after being away is emotional. Especially if you’re staying for more than a couple of weeks. Expect that your emotions will be a little messy.
Start small, but make plans. Interacting with a lot of people can be overwhelming, but being alone in your head can be a very bad thing. Have dinner with your family, watch a movie with friends, have a couple drinks (but limit it—going too far will only make the next day much, much worse).
It’s also important to realize that sudden moments of intense emotion can occur, but they pass quickly. Sometimes, breaking down can be the best thing to get it all out. Then, you can focus more on enjoying your time at home and looking to the future.