You really want to get away. But high gas prices, inflation, rising COVID-19 cases and canceled flights make you think now might not be the best time to travel.
But you really need a break.
You probably know that vacations are good for your physical health, productivity, and mental well-being. Even looking forward to and planning a vacation can help to manage stress. So if you can improve your mood, improve your health and save money, why not take a stay at home?
If you’re changing your plans for economic reasons, you’re in good company. A Spring 2022 Bankrate survey of American adults found that 69% are changing their summer vacation plans due to inflation. Within this group, 48% plan to skip vacations because they cannot afford it and 20% are staying put due to COVID-19 related issues. And the kicker? Almost as popular as going to the beach is to “stay” at home.
Disconnect from work
If you have a job where you’re expected to answer emails and follow through on projects, you’ll need to be intentional about unplugging.
“If you don’t take breaks to think about work when you’re away, you can start to lose the ability to enjoy non-work activities because you’re distracted,” says Lisa Kath, PhD, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University.
It’s not about being physically out of the office. “Psychological detachment from work doesn’t have to happen by putting a lot of miles between you and your workplace,” says Kath. “The key to successful psychological detachment is not to think about work. That’s it.” said Kath.
“In this digital age, that might mean turning off work email notifications and tucking away your work laptop out of sight,” says Kath. “If you’re staying at home, disrupt your routine a bit so you don’t fall into habits that may inadvertently cause you to think things through or engage in work.”
Put household projects on hold
Creating a vacation vibe at home is doable, says Meggan Kaiser, Atlanta-based travel expert and author of Everywhere for nothing: free travel for the modern nomad. But just like with your job, you’ll need to set boundaries so you don’t go into home interview mode.
“What it really takes is thought and a bit of willKaiser says. “Are you really ready to live like you’re not at home?” Eager to put all the home-focused projects off your to-do list? Want to let yourself relax? Do you want to ignore that stain on the wall that you didn’t notice before? »
What to do during your stay
Choose stay activities that will be truly restorative. Is there a hobby that you usually don’t have enough time for?
“Hobbies are great for helping people gain a sense of mastery, which is beneficial,” says Kath. “Working to improve your skills in something you truly enjoy is a powerful antidote to the effects of stress.”
So think of your stay as a great time to take an online class and learn something new like painting, drawing, playing the guitar, or knitting.
Don’t waste time dwelling on things that stress you out.
“Avoid brooding or scrolling bad news in social media feeds. Taking breaks from information overload and spending time in nature can influence how you respond to stress,” says Kath.
Decide how connected you want to be to the outside world and how you would like to spend your free time. You may want to opt for a complete disconnect from social media in your free time.
“Create the mental and physical space that will allow you to relax and enjoy. As with all vacations, it’s all about planning,” says Kaiser. “There are a few basics to cover to ensure that you won’t be distracted by the “normal” things of everyday life. Want to pause the mail? Prepare meals ahead of time? Minimize electronic distractions? Ask a friend to watch pets (or children) ? “
Check your travel budget
You can treat yourself without creating debts that you will regret.
“I would consider budgeting for a vacation like any other, but I might allow something I wouldn’t normally indulge in since I’m saving so much on other travel expenses,” Kaiser says.
- Take an online cooking class or attend a wine tasting.
- Watch concerts or movies on your living room screen that you’ve always wanted to see.
- Camp in your backyard. You might want to buy outdoor games, water toys, and maybe a fire pit for s’mores and snuggling up at night.
- Enjoy your morning coffee outside.
- Go to a farmers market and cook your own farm-to-table dinner.
- Finally, use this waffle maker for a gourmet breakfast.
Set the scene
For a serene setting, think of what you would find in a luxury hotel or spa. Then choose what fits your budget:
- fresh flowers
- A bottle of champagne
- Chocolates on the pillows
- A relaxing scent of lavender or eucalyptus with essential oils or candles
- High quality cotton sheets
- Silky pajamas will greatly contribute to quality sleep.
If you have children, let them inspire you. “Ask what their idea of a vacation at home would be. Maybe it’s setting up an amazing fort, a board game tournament, or having dance parties every night,” says Kaiser.
This could end up being your favorite vacation, ever.
Adventures from Home Base
Get off the beaten track for a local adventure:
- Take a walk in the woods or find paths, a track or a nature reserve.
- Head to a lake to paddle board, canoe, kayak, swim or raft.
- Bike to a nearby town and try its best restaurant or bakery.
- Visit a local museum, zoo, aquarium or park.
Take the mindset with you
Even when you’re using your best living imagination, there may be times when you need to fine-tune your thinking. It’s easy to get back to your daily routines in a familiar setting. When Kaiser starts worrying about, say, dirty dishes in her kitchen sink during a vacation, she wonders, “How would Vacation Meggan react to that?” And then I do my best to behave that way.
Your staycation is a chance to work on simple things that help you manage day-to-day life. For example, you can’t control things like rising grocery prices, but you can influence how you respond to stress, says Kath. “You can do this by taking good care of yourself in the ways we all know are important: exercising, sleeping, socializing and eating well. It helps us become more resilient.