A couple of weeks ago Andrew and I had the luxury of enjoying a couple days off at home. It was the perfect mid-semester break in the midst of a very crazy time for us. I recently started a part-time MBA program at University of South Carolina and Andrew has three evening classes this semester so our normal weeks have been filled with many long days. Due to this craziness, we realized we needed to be very intentional with our time off. We needed to have time that was restful and relaxing but was also going to work within our budget. So, we decided to use my vacation time split between seeing family and having long weekend staycations throughout the year.
Staycations have been a wonderful discovery for us. As introverts, we need the time alone to rest and rejuvenate. Staycations have saved us money and allow us more time to explore our community and enjoy some extra time with each other. However, they can be ineffective vacations if you do not put some boundaries on them. It can be tempting to work on personal and home projects and before you know it, your relaxing days have turned into stressful work days. So, here are five tips or lessons we have learned to ensure you have a relaxing and enjoyable staycation:
- Set goals . A little planning will go a long way with your staycation. Just as you may plan a vacation, plan how you want to spend your time and be intentional with it. Our usual staycation goal is to relax but you may want to use it to spend time with family, accomplish a big project or explore a new area of your hometown. Identifying this goal before the staycation ensures you will use the time intentionally and have an enjoyable time off.
- Set aside time to remove sources of stress. If you know there is something hanging over your head that will cause stress and prevent you from relaxing, allow time to take care of it. This time can either be before your staycation begins or time you have built into your staycation. For example, during our most recent staycation, I knew I would need to complete some school assignments before I could relax. To help me with this task, I extended my time off and took a half- day at the beginning of my vacation. I intentionally spent this time working on homework so I could enjoy the rest of my time off.
- Identify activities that will help you relax. Make note of what activities you would enjoy during your staycation and make a point to enjoy them. Be careful not to treat these as a to-do list. They are simply guidelines for how to spend your time. Identifying these activities will help you avoid getting to the end of your staycation and wishing you had spent your time in other ways.
- Try something new Staycations are the perfect time to try something new or cross an item off your bucket list. During our most recent staycation, Andrew and I went hiking at a park we have been wanting to visit. Take time to explore and enjoy your community. Who knows, you may discover a new hidden gem!
- Treat yourself. Staycations are vacations first. They just happen to be at home. So allow yourself to treats just as you would on vacation. For Andrew and me, this means cooking a favorite meal together and having a favorite dessert. But for you, it could be something different.If cooking stresses you out, allow yourself to go to your favorite restaurant or order in something. Maybe you give yourself the day off from exercising or have breakfast in bed. Whatever your treat is, it’s important you make the time special.
There are so many possibilities to enjoying a vacation at home. And the best part is you do not have to spend time or money packing, traveling or getting adjusted to a new place. Although I love traveling and seeing new places, I sometimes leave feeling I need a vacation from my vacation. I have yet to have that feeling with staycations.
P.S. Do you ever take staycations? What are your favorite ways to enjoy them?