Time off is good for you. It allows you to get away from your everyday life and enjoy something new, but it can also help you reduce stress, decrease your risk of burnout, lift your mood, and give you a chance to reflect on how your life is going.
This year, many of us are feeling more stressed than usual. Because of COVID-19, we’ve spent months in lockdowns, and many of us have seen our professional and personal lives upended. Moms and dads have struggled to manage childcare while working from home, and everyone has worried about parents, grandparents, and other family members who may be vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus.
If there was ever a year when we needed a vacation, this is it, but just when we could all use a couple of weeks on the beach, travel is more difficult than ever. Many travel restrictions remain in place, and even in those areas that are allowing it, it can be risky because of various hot spots where the virus is still spreading rapidly.
Of course, you can go on a vacation if you like. RVs and campers have become particularly popular of late because they allow families to enjoy travel without having to worry about the potential safety issues associated with staying in hotels. But if you’re not into camping and you don’t want to drive around an RV, there’s another option available for you: the popular staycation.
At first, it sounds rather dull and boring. Stay where you are? But how does that give you a break? Below we have ten ways to make your staycation a truly relaxing, restorative experience for you and your family.
1. Seek Out New Things
It’s amazing how many things are right under your nose that you probably haven’t seen. During your planning stages, look for attractions in your immediate area that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit. Feel free to expand your search to within 100 miles, which you can manage in a day trip.
The best way to do this is to pretend you’re a tourist and will be in town for only a few days. What would you want to see? What are the hiking or biking trails in your area? Where could you have a picnic? Write down all the possibilities and then narrow it down to the ones that excite you.
2. Schedule Some Luxury Services
The biggest concern with a staycation is that you will simply continue your normal routine, chores and all. To avoid having that happen to you, schedule some luxury services that you can afford that will make you and your family feel special. Some options include:
- Hire a chef to cook dinner for 3-5 days.
- Hire a house cleaner to clean the house before you start your staycation so you won’t have to worry about it.
- Hire out the yard work for the week.
- If you’d like some time for just you or you and your partner, swap child care with a friend. Offer to watch your friend’s kids for a few days, and ask him/her to do the same. If you have any summer camps that are open in your area, you can consider these for your kids as well, if you think they will be safe and fun.
3. Get Something New for the House
Sprucing up your living area can make it feel new. Something as simple as a coat of paint, a new set of sheets, some new artwork for the walls, or a new throw rug can do the trick. If you and your family are craving some new technology, maybe a new smart television, video game console, or ping pong table would help you feel excited about your home again.
4. Have a Spa Day
You may not be able to go to the spa right now, but you can recreate the experience in your own home. Try these ideas:
- Apply a luxurious face mask to your skin and sit back and relax for 30 minutes.
- Take a nice hot bubble bath and apply natural oil or a creamy moisturizer to your entire body afterward. (Our Body Repair Lotion works great!)
- Make your own foot soak with some warm water, Epsom salts, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Soak for 15-30 minutes, then moisturize.
- Use a soothing eye pillow to restore the skin around your eyes. Listen to some relaxing music while you relax.
- Schedule an in-home massage.
5. Take a Mini Road Trip
If you don’t want to stay in a hotel, pick a spot just an hour or two away. Research it to find the attractions you want to see. Then leave early in the morning and spend the day exploring this place you’ve never been to before. Leave after dinner to go home. You may find just this one-day excursion helps you feel surprisingly refreshed.
6. Get Outside
During our normal lives, we often don’t have much time to enjoy the outdoors. Use your staycation as a time to change that. Take daily walks. Have a picnic in the park. Go on a day hike and take your lunch with you. Take the family on a bike ride. Go fishing. Take lots of pictures. Explore!
7. Have a Movie Night
Many theaters are still closed, but you can recreate that experience by renting or streaming a movie or two, stocking up on your favorite snacks, setting up the TV room with pillows and blankets, and chilling out with the family.
8. Go Backyard Camping
Kids love sleeping in a tent, even if it’s only a few steps away from their regular beds. You may prefer your own bed, but you can still enjoy the camping experience by setting up the tent, grilling some hot dogs and hamburgers, and telling stories under the stars.
9. Stash the Clocks
During our regular lives, we are usually ruled by the clock. We have to get up at a certain time. Go to bed at a certain time. Eat at a certain time. During your staycation, consider taking all the clocks and stashing them away. Go to bed when you feel like it. Get up when you’re ready. Allow yourself to listen to your body.
Perhaps the most important step at all is to give yourself a chance to unplug from your cell phone and the Internet. If you traveled to a luxurious beach getaway, it’s likely your service wouldn’t be great. Pretend you’ve done just that and disconnect from your phone and social media as much as possible. Best option? Check it only once every 2-3 days. Alert your boss and your friends that you are on vacation, then act like it.
How do you plan a restorative staycation?