"I need a vacation after my vacation."
"You look like you could use a second vacation."
We often end up more tired after our vacations than we were before we left. It doesn't take much effort to figure out why. Our vacations cram in more activities in a few days than we typically do in a couple weeks. We create daily itineraries for our vacations to maximize the use of our time. Rarely do we include enough rest time. Rarely do we anticipate how much our sleep schedules will be interrupted by later-than-usual nights, kids waking up early, and just being in an unfamiliar environment. Then when we get home we have bags to unpack, laundry to wash, and a whole assortment of activities to take care of before we head off back to work.
Many times we can't help it. If we take longer vacations we can build in plenty of rest time both during and after a trip. But longer vacations often mean fewer vacations and more time spent going without a change in scenery and away from family.
I sometimes plan random "at home" vacations of just one day where I can be with my family, do very little work, and actually get the rest we need. With longer vacations I try to plan for rest periods or, at least, periods where we have nothing planned. I also mentally prepare myself by knowing what kind of vacation I'm taking. When I have a day off with the kids, I know that I'm going to have fun, but we're going to have down time and not get a lot done. When we go sightseeing and spend a couple days at the water park, I know that I'm am vacationing from work, not activity.
As I reflect on what's left for the rest of the year, I'm excited about what vacation days remain. Thanksgiving will be a good time to relax at home. Christmas will have some busy activities, but enough time on the back end to relax before returning to the busyness of work and normal life.