I honestly never thought we would never be a staycating couple. We’ve generally been able to take time off from work and enjoy at least one true vacation a year. With our true vacation, we celebrate the nucleus family, “vacate” work, shake off routine and experience the world in some new and interesting manner. But times do change. Work conditions change. Family situations evolve and you may find yourself needing a break from work or your situation but not your wallet.
We staycated this last weekend and actually learned a lot about our habits and ourselves. You may be staycating for economic or logistic reasons, but staycating can also be a personal learning and enrichment process to reset your Contentment Compass.
My husband and I are pretty structured. We enjoy checklists, project lists and activity schedules. We prefer not to “fritter” away time, but we do understand the importance of clearing the mind. The thoughts below may not work for everyone, but here’s what we learned:
1) Define your goal – do you want to recreate your normal vacation routine or create a totally new experience? For example, what do you normally do on vacation? Sleep late? Eat breakfast in? Have a morning or afternoon activity or both? Stay at boutique hotels or the rustic cabin on the lake for seclusion? For a new experience, do you want to create a Tuscan holiday or a spa weekend in the Texas Hill Country or Sedona but just can’t get away?
2) Define Your Time Frame – Have a specific “departure” or start time and a “return” or end time.
3) Define some rules – For example, no chores. No reading or sorting mail. No eating at home other than maybe coffee in the morning. No eating at the usual and customary haunts. Visit locations outside your area code. Learn at least one thing new every day. No emails other than what you read on your phone. Computer time is only on the netbook or iPad and only once a day for a specific period of time during the day.
4) Determine prep work – I personally found a clean car mentally equated to a rental car mentality. I didn’t get distracted with noticing the grass on the floor mats and the dust on the armrests. Do what you normally do before you go out of town for any period of time. Get your major chores done so you won’t feel compelled to do it during your staycation. Mow the lawn, water the plants, change the litter box, etc. You may choose to give away fresh fruits and veggies to your neighbors if you are going to eat out for several days in a row. Then buy only food that you would normally buy on vacation. It’s hot here in Houston in the summer. I manually water the garden every day or so and it takes about 20 minutes. It’s a chore however pleasurable it can be at times. After the staycation, I thought about asking my neighbor who normally waters and cares for the cats to come over while we are out and about. Honestly, I would do it for her – so maybe next time. Seems trite but it’s about vacating your routine, your work and clearing your mind.
5) Create your staycation language – Have some fun with this. Is your home the “hotel room” or cabin? Make your home office or computer the “business center.” Your kitchen can be the “refreshment center” or “breakfast buffet.”
6) Celebrate – Add in a special timeframe to celebrate and say “good-bye” to your staycation. My husband wisely included a cocktail time before our “flight departure” return to relax and be thankful for what we have. To be truly content.
Have you taken a staycation? What worked for you?
Next: Creating your Staycation Environment