To make your work work for you, sometimes you need to stop working.
No matter your role, to operate at your best you need to be able to take your foot off the gas pedal once in a while. Working from home can definitely help, but there are times where you’re going to need more than just a day or two away from the office. Maybe it’s going to Hawaii or traveling around Europe for a week or two. But what if you don’t have enough money to go on those types of vacations? Or, maybe you’d rather avoid the stresses of travel. If this is you, a staycation might be a good alternative to typical vacations.
A staycation — taking some vacation days but sticking closer to home — gives you the chance to prioritize your time and live a few days on your own schedule. Maybe it’s just spending a few days away from the computer — pretty important, if not entirely exotic — but a staycation offers more opportunities than you might think.
Still need to be convinced? Check out these five tips for making the most of a staycation:
1. Check out local parks/museums
Whether you’ve lived in your current town for a long time or you’ve just moved somewhere new and feel like a stranger, a great way to learn something new about the place where you live is to go out and explore! Consider learning more about your town’s history at a museum, or go explore the outdoors in local parks and trails. Parks and trails are a great way to get some sun and recharge without having to spend any money at all. These leisurely activities are great and may be even closer to home than you think.
2. Explore a nearby city or town for a day
If you feel like you know enough about your own town, but you still don’t want to go too far, consider expanding your horizons — just a little. Exploring a different city or town nearby would be a great opportunity to get out of your everyday routine. Maybe there’s a coffee shop you often pass but never have time to stop and try. You might also check local event listings for festivals, concerts, plays, and more. Attending an event can give you a good reason to head somewhere different, as well as providing a new perspective on the people and happenings in this new place. A local trip is a wonderful way to feel like you’ve gotten away from your usual place but are still close to home. Some might not consider this a part of a true staycation, but really you aren’t going too far away from home – this is just a day trip. This option allows you to break out of your daily household routines without spending a significant amount of money or time traveling a great distance.
3. Get stuff done
Even though you aren’t on the clock, you still need to get some work done — not work for your current job, but your home and your personal life probably require some work, too. Maybe you need to fix up your kitchen or you need to paint your basement. A staycation is also a great opportunity to knock a few items off of those to-do lists! A staycation provides a good chance to catch up on some hobbies that you maybe haven’t had time for. Life is busy, and it’s easy to neglect things that don’t seem like top priorities, but our hobbies and extracurriculars keep our lives balanced. You’re more than your work, right? Taking some time to participate in old hobbies is a fun staycation opportunity that can continue when you return to work, too. Trying to fit projects into a weekend can be exhausting and make you feel like you can never catch a break.
4. Do nothing at all
You don’t want to go anywhere or do anything: you just want to recharge. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to! Catching up on some movies or television and ordering takeout is relaxing too! There is nothing better than finding that comfortable spot on the couch and reading a good book or watching a good movie. And if it’s really comfortable, you might end up turning that into a nap!
Some might view doing nothing during a break as “boring,” but sometimes you just need to turn everything off and have some time to yourself. It also depends if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert – this option may be the most appealing or the least appealing. Still, having plenty of time to do nothing can help you to fully recharge your batteries and give your mind and body a break.
5. The perfect combo
This is hardly a complete list of options, and those listed above aren’t even mutually exclusive. Maybe on your week-long staycation you want to travel to a neighboring town one day, do nothing the next day, go to a local museum another day, and then finish the week with some personal projects. Combining all of these can make your staycation productive and relaxing!
In the end, it’s your staycation, so do what you want! A vacation doesn’t require you to go somewhere exotic or have a once in a lifetime experience. Taking a break is about what is best for you. Whether that’s traveling the world or getting comfy on your couch, the point of any break is to recharge and get some time to yourself. At the end of any vacation, the hope is to be relaxed so you can go back to your job in an improved state of mind — and get stuff done! This is a win for everyone: you got the opportunity to have some much needed rest, and your employers know that you are treating yourself and making sure that you are well-balanced and operating at your best. A vacation is supposed to be your break, and if you don’t have the money or patience to deal with the stresses and costs of travel, a staycation is a great option for you.
A note for employers
If you’re an employer, consider how to encourage your team members to take a break, too — not because you don’t want them around, but because you want them to be happy. A healthy work environment requires a healthy work-life balance — for everyone! Speaking of which: When are you planning your own staycation?