7) Set some ground rules
A staycation, or a family at home vacation, can be a great way to relax without the hassle of travel delays, wasted travel days or time for recovery after the trip. Not to mention all the money you’ll save! According to research from the American Sociological Association, a vacation enhances your mood, relieves psychological stress, and strengthens bonds in social networks. The trick to enjoying a staycation is to deviate from daily routines and truly make it a vacation. It helps to have some ground rules to make it a relaxing time. Otherwise it could easily turn into make-up-for-chores/errands time.
To start out, plan to cut out anything you do normally that may create stress. No emails, no working from home, no running errands. Just the act of not checking work email alone I have found to be enough to set the stage for a relaxing staycation. For others it may be turning off the cell phone. What do you need to unplug to jumpstart your staycation? If you enjoy eating out on vacations, do the same on your staycation. Don’t do the laundry or clean the garage, or other household projects. Doing something creative has been shown to lower stress levels in adults, plus it’s just downright fun. Relax. Take a week-long photography, painting, dancing, pottery or writing class you always wanted to. Try out new cooking recipes. If you have a green thumb, plant an indoor windowsill herb garden which could eventually save you money on those expensive herbs. If you always wanted to try something new but never had the time, an at-home family vacation could be a great time to start.
6) Catch up on reading
I typically have a long list of books I’ve saved to read “when I have time”. Unfortunately, I’m learning that time will never come. I have to make time for things if I want them to happen. Vacation is a great time to catch up on leisurely reading. Have a quiet part of the house you can escape to with a drink of your choice just for your reading. This could be your balcony, poolside or a quiet guest room. I like to escape to my favorite coffee shop. Or a nearby beach or lake. It’s all about creating the right atmosphere so your reading is an enjoyable leisurely experience.
5) Take a nap. Everyday.
Instead of just sleeping longer at night, actually take a nap during the day. Just like you used to when you were a toddler. Taking a nap is one of the best ways to reboot. Especially since we don’t get to when we’re at work during the day. There’s nothing like waking up at around 4 or 5pm after a good nap to make you feel alive and rejuvenated. Even if you don’t feel sleepy, Netflix and chill in bed for longer than usual. Have breakfast in bed with your spouse. An at-home family vacation is the perfect time to catch up on those zzzs.
4) Take a Virtual Museum Tour
For those museum buffs, several amazing museums throughout the country and the world offer “virtual” tours. You can choose from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, the Boston Children’s Museum, the Miami Children’s Museum, or even visit the Louvre in Paris or even the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome. So much to explore right from the comfort of your home. Pretty cool!
It’s all about adopting a restful state to mind. A true vacation involves removing the stress and allowing for relaxation. One could go on a very expensive European getaway but not “feel” like they’re on vacation if you’re still answering emails, work calls, etc. The opposite is also true. You could be at home relaxing with a good book by the pool and feel like you’re on vacation simply because you’ve made an active decision to unplug.
4) Get moving
Whatever activity relaxes you, get into it. Catch a game of tennis or a round of golf. Go for a long walk. Go roller skating, bike riding, hiking. Do yoga or tai-chi on the beach. Grab a GPS and go geocaching in your neighborhood. Whatever activity gets your endorphins going while relaxing you, get into it.
3) Visit tourist spots close to you
Everyone has that one friend who lives in New York city who has never visited the Statue of Liberty or been to Times Square. I’m guilty of living close to San Francisco and not having visited the Golden Gate bridge or the Transamerica pyramid. Find those tourist spots close to where you live and visit them. Enjoy the scenery. Buy a souvenir. Take some pictures to boot. Take a Segway tour of your town. Tour a local brewery, winery, museum or botanical garden. You’ll feel like you’re on vacation without even leaving town.
2) Bring the resort to you
Imagine what your perfect exotic vacation would be and try to bring it to you. For me it would involve relaxing by a pool, beach or lake. Enjoy a cup of chai latte. An e-book or magazine. Schedule a manicure/pedicure. Schedule a massage. Better yet, if you’re short on cash, you could have your own relaxing facial at home. Plan a romantic evening with your spouse with dinner at that exclusive restaurant you’ve both been eyeing and give each other whole body massages afterwards. Plan a mani/pedi date at home with your kids. Go to see a concert or a local theater show. If shopping relaxes you, do some window shopping or shop online. Go to a movie. Better yet, pop some popcorn and settle down to a cozy film at home with your loved one. Whatever would relax you at an exotic vacation place, create that experience from the comfort of your home.
1) Spend time with family
Get a 1000 piece puzzle game to do with the kids. Play a game of Scrabble or Monopoly. Have a movie marathon with the family. Don’t forget to try out some fun popcorn recipes to go with the movie while you’re at it. Give your kids permission to relax from all they academics and activities. Catching up and spending time with your kids or loved ones can be an integral part of refueling. My most creative ideas come about when I’m in vacation mode and open to thoughts from my family. Check in with them during this time. See how your kids are really doing. Allow your creative juices to flow.