Have you ever had that post-vacation, back-to-the-doldrums, stress coming back in waves, back to the grind {you get it} feeling when you return from some time away? Whether you take a weekend off or a couple of weeks of vacation, it is so hard to wrap your head around real life when you get back.

We spent last weekend at the Shakori Hills music festival {Shakori, baby!} in Pittsboro, NC. It’s our favorite vacation. Four days of music, nature, and pure and total relaxation. The month before we go, I’m always a little reluctant. Camping sounds like a lot of work, the weather never promises to look good… Then, the week before we leave, I’m super pumped. I start making lists and getting the camping gear ready to go. Then the day before and the day of, I’m always a total anxiety ball. I just want to get there and get the camp set up. Then we get there, get the camp set up, and I breathe a sigh of relief.

First of all, there’s the vibe… as soon as you drive in, people are yelling, “Happy Shakori!” You instantly relax just a little bit. Then you find a campsite, a little more anxiety goes away, and then you unpack, crack open a beer, and head down to listen to some music. Boom–the troubles of the world disintegrate.

We had a great weekend, as usual, just walking around and basically doing whatever we wanted for a weekend. There were lots of beers involved. And sangria. The kids had lots of juice boxes and bubbles. There was mud. There was face painting. It’s like summer camp.

When it was time to pack up, I had the thoughts I always have when I leave…

Can’t we just stay another day?

Is it really time to leave?

Isn’t there a way we can just move in and live here?

In fact, when we left, my 5-year-old son bawled his eyes out. He wasn’t ready to go. I wasn’t ready to get back to real life.

Down in the Dumps

So what do you do when you get home to a messy house (my 4-year-old suggested it would be a good idea to hire a house cleaner to come in next time we go away), tons of laundry to do (thank you, Shakori mud), camping gear to put away, and a life to live?

You take another day off, of course. Then you have stressful dreams all night about going back to work, and then you just bite the bullet and do it. Take a shower, get up in the morning, and it’s like the whole vacation didn’t even happen. In fact, when we picked up the 5-year-old from school on Monday, he said, “Guys, school is NOT as fun as Shakori.”

Keeping the Vacation Alive

So I’ve decided, after 36 years of feeling this way after vacations, I’m not going to stand for it anymore. It’s a ridiculous roller coaster, and I don’t want to cram my life enjoyment into a 4-day weekend twice a year. I want my life to feel like a vacation, dammit!

So this is what I’ve decided. It’s what makes vacation so amazing.

10 ways to make your entire life feel like a vacation:

1. Get a maid so you never have to clean your house.

2. Go outside whenever it’s sunny out and stay inside and read good books when it’s not.

3. Do new things.

4. Plan your outfits and make an effort to look good.

5. Smile more.

6. Say hi to strangers.

7. Let yourself relax without feeling guilty.

8. Drink a lot.

9. Enjoy eating delicious food.

10. Do whatever the fuck you want whenever you want to do it.

Ok, so that last one isn’t exactly possible all the time. But think about it: that’s not even possible on vacation. You end up doing some stuff you don’t really want to do, like setting up and taking down the campsite, traveling, sitting inside while your kiddo naps. Isn’t that just like real life?

In life, you don’t always get to do what you want, but your whole life doesn’t have to feel that way.

I’m doing this little challenge for the month. I’m trying to do something I love every day. So that my life can feel a little more like vacation. Will you join me?

What do you have to do?

Just do it: 30 consecutive days. Something you love every day.Take a photo and post it somewhere on social media with the hashtag #dreamsmatter. {for the record, this wasn’t my idea… I came across it like a magical unicorn at the very moment I needed it most. Check out more about it at http://dreamsmatterproject.com/.

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Make Life Feel like a Vacation