I could blame it on age or the endless amounts of energy we need to travel with kids, but neither gets to the heart of why I’m so wiped out after a trip. (I envy the cheetah’s stamina, but I lean more to your obese, indoor-only house cat who demands eighteen meals a day and naps 22/7.)


Not proud to admit it, but I return home from every trip on empty. I tend to need three to four days to feel a tiny bit human again. (And an entire week to get to 100 percent.)

Yet – after decades of travel — do I calendar in “cushion” time?

As if.

The morning following a long haul home, my calendar roils with must-do’s like:

9 a.m. take cat to vet.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m., write article on pet care.

6 p.m. Pilates.

Guess how many items  I actually tackle?  I got the cat to the vet, but then fell into a coma on the couch.

So, this is for me (and you too if you’re tired of being wipe out on your return home):

Planning for Cushion Day

Before the trip, calendar three days of rest for yourself (don’t laugh) — but if you can only manage one, then make it home on Saturday so you can chillax on Sunday. Yes, wading through the sea of laundry and unpacking permitted on Cushion Day, but keep it gentle. Remember you’re (only an exhausted) human.

Prior to your trip stock the freezer so that you can dive into something  delicious upon your return – because who wants to shop for food when what you really need is to chow and snooze? (And keep it nutritious. Chips and ice cream are not your friends.)

Don’t forget to clean your tub, wash some towels, and – if you have time – change your sheets so that these lovely items are on-hand when your tired self needs them.

Cushion Day(s) After Your Trip


On Cushion Day, waft light jazz or your favorite relaxation music throughout the house.


Eat as healthfully as humanly possible so that you don’t go to sleep feeling stuffed and yucky.


Take a long shower or warm bath, and an early bed. Insist on two out of three for the best Cushion Evening.


If you’re heading for work on Monday morning, plan a light week. If you’re an introvert, schedule as much alone-time as possible. (Bring a book that will make you laugh like Lisa Scottoline’s Does this Beach Make Me Look Fat?) If you’re an extrovert, schedule lunch with silly, wonderful friends at your favorite restaurant.

And Remember

When the kids see you treating yourself with kindness and respect on your return home, they’re likely to treat themselves (and, one day  your grand kids) with a similar level of sweetness.



Adventure more. Panic less. Travel writer wants to shout it from the rooftops every not discussed method for safer, saner family travel. Read me before you take off!

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