Returning from vacation is always an adjustment, even more so for seniors who spend the winter months in alternate climates. When you get back, it’s not just from another state, it’s a whole other state of mind. Here are some tips that can help Snowbirds settle their feathers as they flock back for the Spring.
When you get home, dump your vacation clothes in the wash. It’s the perfect symbolic way to transition from vacation to normal life. Once your summer-wear is spinning, reset your thermostat, pull on a sweater, and start taking stock.
Welcome Back to Winter
Snowbirds know the best thing about heading south for the season is forgetting all about the ice and snow. Without an early heat wave, however, you’ll likely experience a few flakes or bit of frost before Spring’s in full fling. Get reacquainted with the weatherman. Dress for the weather. Remember, melting ice and snow can quickly refreeze into dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians alike. If you do get hit with a late-Spring blizzard or polar vortex, follow these tips to remind you how to stay safe on the road when it’s really cold.
Take it Easy
It’s exciting to see family and friends when you return, visit favorite places, and get back to your causes and clubs. Although there’s no place like home, settling in is both a state of mind and body, so give yourself a chance to acclimate upon your return. Take a few days relax before seeing the grandkids or returning to work or volunteering.
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Return to Normal
Most Snowbird schedules differ greatly from life at home. Avoid feeling lost or unsettled by taking control and making a plan for getting back in the groove. Before you try to tackling that pile of mail or empty fridge, writing and prioritizing a to-do list will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
Fix a Meal Plan
It’s tempting to order takeout when faced with a cold stove and an empty fridge, but it’s better to get on the right road immediately. Create a meal plan (before going to the grocery store). Colder weather and less activity can change your appetite and make you more inclined to snack. A plan will ensure you not only eat right, but on time, and have plenty of healthy munchies on hand for cravings.
Check or change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. In fact, Spring is the perfect time to test anything that runs on batteries, such as medical alerts, flashlights, radios, clocks, and remote controls. A few hours after restarting electronics, feel all plugs and outlets for warmth; any giving off heat should be checked by an electrician.
Home Sweet & Clean Home
Dust accumulates whether you’re home or away, so a good wipe down of all surfaces is a must. Before turning on heat or fans, vacuum vents to get rid of accumulated dust and debris that could blow around and agitate your sinuses and skin. Run faucets to clear stagnant pipes and wipe down all sinks and tubs. Disinfect your dishwasher by running it empty with a quarter cup of bleach. De-odorize your garbage disposal by dropping in salt, ice cubes, and a cut-up lemon. Wipe plastic seals and edges with baking soda and a damp sponge.
Wintering in warmer weather makes it easier to stay active. Don’t lose that momentum when you get home, even if it’s still cold out. Bundle up and go for a walk, or find a place to exercise indoors. After a long vacation is also a good time for your regular physical or to get any “little problems,” checked out.
Soak up the Sun
Sunshine is the number one reason Snowbirds flock South. Back home, don’t stop soaking up at least a few rays every day, even if you still have to bundle up to go outside. As it gets warmer, remember to drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen.
Everything’s Riding on It
Whether it wintered with you in the South or parked at home, Spring is time for car TLC. Sitting in the garage or cursing along the boardwalk both impact your vehicle, and even a little winter driving can be hard on your ride. Salt from the highway or seashore oxidizes over time in wheels and under chassis, causing rust. A good wash is the first step to getting your car ready for Spring. The second step is to put on the pressure. Temperature affects tire pressure, so make sure to check your inflation against the recommended level(s) for your vehicle (listed on a label inside your door).
You should do basic car maintenance every three or four months anyway, so Spring is the perfect time to clean or replace wiper blades, get an oil change, check your brakes, fluid levels, alignment and/or have your tires rotated, examine hoses and belts for cracks, and check your treads (for details, check out this graphic, Everything You Need to Know About Tire Safety), and examine your exterior for chips and rust spots.
Clean under your seats. You’ll likely discover that lost earring or the cause of that funky smell. Even the cleanest vehicle will collect sand from the beach or green under the floor mats, capture crumbs and wrappers in crevices, or need a wipe down after the winter months.
Keep it clean with this simple trick to make a garbage can out of a Tupperware, or if you frequently spill, try this trick, the cup holder sponge coaster. Pull out and clean your floor mats, vacuum or wet-vac the interior, and wipe down the entire interior, from dashboards to windows, for the perfect Spring shine.
Welcome back, Snowbirds! Or if you and your car are still in the South, consider shipping your car back rather than taking the risk of driving. Whether delivering your car or keeping you up-to-date on news and advice to enhance your life, at home or away, Montway is your key to an amazing experience.
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