Easing Back In: Reconnecting to Your Home After You've Been Away

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I've been traveling a lot for work this summer, and truth be told, I'm not feeling all that connected to my home right now. Sometimes, in fact, after all the hotels and new experiences, it seems somewhat underwhelming upon my return. But in general, my home is my sanctuary, and I always want it to feel that way. Here are some ways that I'm getting back in touch with my space.

When some people travel, they come home filled with a sense of relief, but in some cases, it can be a harsh drop back into reality. If you're in the latter camp, then here are some hints that may help you settle back in.

1. Give it a good scrub: When your home is dirty, it's hard for it to feel welcoming. Clean floors, fresh linens, and dust-free surfaces will go a long way to helping your home feel as peaceful and luxurious as a hotel room. Similarly, sometimes when I come home, I notice clutter more acutely. Don't be afraid to purge items. Traveling can teach you a lot about the things that you can live without, and if you're feeling the need to rid yourself of some excess baggage, then by all means do it.

2. Give yourself some space from chores: This one might seem to contradict number one, but as much as is possible, give yourself some time before jumping back into the rigors of daily life. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, dog walking, scrubbing—it all needs doing, but if it's the first thing you think of when you walk in the door, your love affair with your home may be short-lived. Giving yourself some breathing room from the to-do list can go a long way to getting you settled back in, even if it's just one evening.

3. Take time to relax at home before heading back out: If you've been on the go for weeks, a slower pace of life can feel a bit disconcerting at first. But, tempting though it may be, try to resist the urge to fill your schedule with social dates and dinners out. Taking some time at home to read, meditate, take a bath, watch a movie, or cook a fresh meal will help you return to life as usual, and it will help you regain your sense of satisfaction with a slower pace of life. Home should be a haven, so be sure that you allow yourself time to treat it as such.

4. Enjoy the simple pleasures: When we travel, it's easy to see beauty in the smallest places, moments, and people. It's not always so easy to do that in the comforts of our home, but that doesn't mean that they are any less present. For me, sitting outside and watching the fireflies has been one of my favorite small joys. Sipping a glass of rosé on the patio, cuddling with my dog, reading a long-awaited book, and listening to the sounds of the many summer celebrations in my neighborhood—consciously focusing on the joy of each of these experiences has helped give me a renewed sense of contentment.

How do you reconnect with your home?

(Image credits: Jacqueline Marque)

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Carolyn is a freelance writer and photographer, as well as a lover of all things colorful and quirky. She grew up in Texas and settled in Chicago by way of L.A., England and Paris. Currently, she is a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology.

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