10 Tips for a Successful Staycation
This post is a part of a series we contribute to 97.3 WMEE's Mom Squad monthly e-newsletter!
It's vacation season and there's nothing quite like the anticipation of taking several days in a row off from work to focus on your emotional and physical well-being. But you don't have to travel out of state for a quality break and peace of mind! In fact, it's common to feel more stressed and guilty than relaxed after a weeklong getaway, if you're not in a comfortable enough position, financially, to take a trip.
So, this summer, hop on the staycation bandwagon! That is, take the time off, and treat it like a fancy getaway, but stay in your own backyard (or close to it.)
Staycations are gaining in popularity and for good reason. You can avoid fuel, airfare, and hotel costs, and have an opportunity to really explore and learn about the area in which you live, finally finish some of those personal projects you've been meaning to work on, and still have the power to cut ties with work and other obligations for the week in order to feel completely refreshed when it's time to clock back in.
10 Tips for a Successful Staycation
Fall Off the Radar
Just because you're "vacationing" nearby the office does not mean you should be any more available than you would be on a cruise-ship. Remove work e-mail from your phone and set up the automated "out of the office" messages. In addition, research shows that social media can really stress us out, so forget logging into your accounts for awhile. Plan to keep your tablet, laptop, and other mobile devices as out-of-sight as possible for the week, or temporarily delete any apps that tend to suck you in.
You don't want your staycation to feel like just any other weekend at home. So, make some plans! Look into any events - like festivals, yard sales, open houses, or entertainment - happening nearby. Been itching to visit the art museum downtown, take the kids to the community pool, try the long-established Irish pub down the street, or learn more about a volunteer program in your area? Now's the time to check it all out! Also, make sure to plan some fun and fulfilling activities that you can do at home.
But Don't Overbook Yourself
Have a very light, very flexible itinerary set for yourself, just like you would on a beach vacation. List a top three to top five things you'd like to do, or places you'd like to visit, and make a point to get those done. If you feel up to more, then go for it!
Just this week, don't run any errands. A day or two before your staycation begins, stock up on groceries and any supplies you might need for the projects you hope to work on. Pay your bills, knock out any appointments that you don't consider "fun," and get yourself in a position to focus on what really matters.
Suddenly remember five things you meant to do before leaving the office? Unless they're serious enough to have an impact on your coworkers, clients, or company, don't sweat them during your time off. Make a list in your planner or set reminders on your calendar for the day you'll be back in the office, and let go. Same goes for any personal, stressful to-do's that can be pushed back a week. If they enter your mind, shoo them out. Just for a little while.
Set a Budget
Chances are, you take a bit of time to set a budget for a "real" vacation. Do the same for your staycation. Plan to indulge, just a little, since you're saving major bucks by staying home. But don't overdo it. (Read: Don't order $30 worth of pizza delivery every night and totally revamp your wardrobe during your time at home.) Set a limit for the week, withdraw cash for that precise amount, and stick to it.
You don't have to give up a relaxing massage, pedicure, facial, or a day of lying in the sun with a good book just because you're not on paradise island. Decide on a couple of splurges that you know will leave you feeling relaxed and recharged, and get them booked in advance!
Try New Places
A staycation doesn't have to feel like you're at home. Break routines and avoid dining at the same establishments you always visit. Skip stopping into the same shops, cafes, and theaters. Venture out a little. You might just find a new favorite go-to in the process, and you won't be left feeling like your staycation revolved around regular old routines.
A simple Google search for coupons and special offers at places in your city, or nearby cities, will likely yield some great results. In addition, you can scour Groupon and LivingSocial for deals (and MadMoney if you're in the Fort Wayne area), and follow restaurants', museums', festivals', and entertainment establishments' social media pages to stay in-the-know about their events, discounts, and promotions.
Set the Mood
Don't let home feel like "just home" during your staycation. Make it a little more special. A few days before your staycation begins, clean the place from top to bottom. Buy some fresh, new sheets, invest in some flowers or houseplants, and have a few candles and a vacation-themed music playlist at-the-ready. Then, ahhh, kick back and relax. Home has never felt so good.
Here's to a very happy, very relaxing staycation, readers. Enjoy!