Sometimes you just need a vacation—or even a staycation. You need an escape from your everyday routine and the stress of real life. We get it. We’ve been there. We may or may not feel those sentiments right now. Yes, vacations are a luxury. But they’re also really important in several ways. As Inc. Magazine reports, according to entrepreneur, marketing guru and author Kevin Daum, “the brain does better with rest, and so does the heart. Mental and physical fatigue causes stress, sloppy decision-making, and carelessness. I found that short breaks of a day or two during which I completely disconnected would allow me to recharge my batteries completely.”
Sadly, Americans aren’t taking the vacation time they need and deserve. According to a recent article in CNN, “a new study has found that U.S. workers forfeited $52.4 billion in time-off benefits in 2013 and took less vacation time than at any point in the past four decades.” It’s time to change this trend and take the break you deserve, even if you don’t have the energy or funds to actually leave town. Just because you can’t (or don’t want to) travel doesn’t mean you can’t experience all the emotional, mental and physical perks a vacation has to offer. Here are 8 ways you can enter a vacation state-of-mind without the stress of packing.
1. Turn off Your Computer
First and foremost when it comes to a staycation, if you want to escape you need to unplug. Literally. Don’t just tell your boss you’ll be out of the office; actually be out of the office. Have someone cover your work, don’t check your email and unless it’s urgent or a fun/personal call, don’t answer your phone. According to career expert and author Hannah Morgan, “the best benefits of unplugging include your mental and physical health.” You’ll be able to truly focus on your needs and your relationships without being tethered to your digital devices.
2. Enjoy a Spa Day
Vacations often include some form of pampering (at least our vacations do), but who says you need to leave town to get a little me-time in? Book a spa day, either alone or with a friend or loved one, and enjoy a few hours of pure bliss—no distractions, no responsibilities, just relaxation to help you revive your body and your mind.
3. Explore the Tourist Sites in Your Own Backyard
Sure, you spend every day in your town or city, but you ever really get to experience all your home has to offer? Take this opportunity to visit local sites, museums, art galleries, historic streets, parks etc. Join a group excursion of do a self-guided tour, and play the role of tourist in your own backyard!
4. Take a Nap or Sleep In (or Both)
Vacation is for sleeping, and while that’s not a guarantee especially if you have small children, it’s also one of the biggest perks of taking some time off. Try to sleep late and catch up on some Zzz’s, and if at all possible, enjoy the beauty of an afternoon nap. Trust us, it will put you in a vacation state of mind fast.
5. Read a Book
If the last time you read a book for pleasure was on your last vacation, then it’s time you picked up a new title and dive in. Not only can a good book transport you to another time or place without ever having to leave your home, but it can also engage your mind in matters that have nothing to do with your job or the stress of your daily life.
6. Spend More Time with your Kids
Even if you see your kids every day before and after work, it’s not the same thing as enjoying quality time together to laugh, learn, be silly, explore, and bond. Use your stay-cation as an opportunity to reconnect as a family and rediscover that you actually really like each other.
7. Check out a Local Concert or Performance
If you’re typically too tired to go to music concerts or late-night shows, now’s your chance to enjoy all the activities you never have the energy to do. Check out local performances in town or outdoor festivals in your area. If it’s something out of the ordinary, it will feel like a vacation even if you didn’t have to travel far. The idea is to make memories embracing the things that you love; it doesn’t matter where you do it.
8. Get Moving
While some people may argue that vacation is a time to relax (read: be lazy), others use vacation as a chance to workout, blow off steam and try forms of exercise they never had the time to try before. Go to a new fitness class, go for a hike or run outside, just use this time to move your body, break a sweat and focus on your physical health. It might feel like work at the beginning, but the benefits of exercise are undeniable and you’ll feel empowered, refreshed and stronger when your break is over and you go back to reality.