There’s nothing quite as disappointing as adding up the costs and deciding that you simply can’t afford to go on that summer vacation you were hoping for this year. After all, the warm summer months offer some of the best opportunities to slow down, step back, and take a little time for yourself. Thankfully, even if that cruise or cross-country trip just isn’t in the cards, there is an alternative: taking a staycation. Staycations are the unsung heroes of the vacation genre. Far too often they’re seen as a low-quality, fall back option or even skipped over entirely. However, they can actually deliver a better overall experience than many of the other vacation choices out there — as long as you take the time to plan them out well. Why not plan for a self-care staycation?
How to Plan the Perfect Self-Care Staycation
Here are some of the top reasons you should actively consider a staycation this summer, not as a pathetic alternative to your other plans that fell through, but as a viable, preferable option that can reinvigorate you and provide just the dose of R&R you need.
Plan for Sleep
One of the most important things that make a staycation so alluring is the nearly guaranteed level of quality sleep that you can get. Not only will you be on a vacation schedule, which typically means you won’t have to race around tending to your normal daily responsibilities, but you’ll also be able to sleep in your own bed, in your own house.
On top of these obvious benefits, you may want to take extra steps to optimize your sleep and help make sure that you really do get quality rest during your time off. Make sure to avoid drugs like tobacco before sleeping as well as blue light from screens. Consider setting up a diffuser with some lavender essential oils, too.
Also, try to stick to your normal sleep routine as closely as you can (with the exception of allowing yourself to sleep just a little longer if possible). This will help keep your body from being thrown off course during your staycation, which can make your re-entry into a normal schedule that much more difficult.
It’s tempting to spend your entire vacation on your phone, checking social media accounts, answering texts, and so on. However, if you truly want to rest, you need to make an effort to genuinely check out. Turn off your notifications, avoid work-related emails, and — if you can muster the courage — consider turning your phone off completely. At the least, try to check it as little as possible.
Find Quality Activities
Without your phone to keep you entertained, you can find more quality things to occupy your time. If you have a hobby, consider spending some dedicated, unrushed time investing in it. Paint a picture, tend to your garden, build something, or even spend some time just watching the birds.
If you like to read, find a good book or two to enjoy. Reading a good book has a unique way of helping to escape our everyday surroundings in order to live vicariously through the stories themselves. It can reignite long-dormant imaginations as well as boost creativity and relaxation all at once.
Incorporate Hometown Hotspots
Of course, just because the word “stay” is in staycation doesn’t mean you have to trap yourself in your living room the whole time. Consider looking around for local hotspots to visit. This can be anything from that nearby restaurant that you know like the back of your hand to a local movie theater, park, or even beachfront. If you do venture outdoors in the summer, though, make sure to take precautions against the heat and sun— unless you want to end up nursing a sunburn for the bulk of your time off. If you do end up getting burned, here are a few tips to help effectively relieve the symptoms.
Find a New Challenge
Another option to help keep things interesting is to look for something exciting and new. This can be as simple as incorporating a little self-care by finding a trendy new look for your hair or giving your wardrobe a thoughtful once over.
If you’re an adventurer by nature, try searching out local entertainment that is completely new to you. Look for a new hiking trail, find a nearby concert or stand up show, or brush up on those bowling terms and hit up your local lanes. One way or another, a staycation is an excellent opportunity for some fresh hometown adventure.
Plan Healthy Meals
Finally, a staycation naturally lends itself to healthy eating. Since you’re not traveling or staying in a strange place, you can shop at your grocery stores and you even have your own kitchen to cook in. While it doesn’t hurt to schedule in some purposeful trips to local restaurants, it can also be a great idea to take your time off to spend some quality time in the kitchen.
Try new recipes, dig up some old favorites, or keep it sweet and simple. Whatever you do, though, make an effort to eat healthily and take care of your body. You don’t want to spend your time between meals feeling sick to your stomach!
Truly Pulling off a Self-Care Staycation
Self-care doesn’t just mean the stereotypical idea of spending exorbitant amounts of money on luxurious, unnecessary items or experiences. The term means so much more than that. It’s a call to consider yourself along with everyone else around you. It requires an effort to eat healthily, sleep well, and keep things exciting and interesting. With that said, a staycation can be just what the doctor ordered to help you rest and relax, providing the perfect opportunity to boost your productivity, self-esteem, and physical and mental health in the process.