More Staycation Tips – creating your environment

We learned some great things in our recent staycation experiment. First, both of us did better than expected in not letting the regular home environment interfere with “vacation.”  Second, it gave us an even greater perspective of “enough” – true contentment with what you have. Finally, pre-planning helped tremendously and although we only had a couple of days to design, any time you can give to creating the atmosphere and visually reinforcing the environment is tremendously helpful in mentally vacating from your chores and routine.

Some additional tips to creating your staycation environment –

Sleep in another bedroom. If you have an additional bedroom, set up vacation in that room. Create your favorite vacation experience with flowers, pillows, candles, scents, or whatever will provide you with sensory details to remind you of a vacation destination.

Create a video frame of your vacation favorites. My husband moved the video frame of several of our vacations to the second bedroom. One might think you might regret that you can’t take that big trip this year, but really, it makes you thankful you were able to go anywhere at all and relish in the memories of the trip.

Simple Pleasures. Use your leftover hotel products to reinforce your vacation or “away” mindset. Buy some special soaps or lotions that reflect the destination you are trying to create.

Use up you gift cards – whatever they are!  If you are a gift card saver, this is the time to use them up. Even if it is a shopping trip to Target.  

Visit your church bulletin sponsors. If you are wondering where to go, take a look at your church bulletin sponsors. The advertisers would appreciate the business and you are doing a good deed by supporting their sponsorship.  

Design your trip around a popular event.  Is it July and you can’t go see the Tour de France? Bring France to you. Watch the tour, enjoy some French wine. If you are cooking at home, set a Provence style cafe tabke and cook a French meal.  Or go out to a French restaurant.  Take a French cooking class or watch on Youtube. Buy some French products online and enjoy opening and using them. Use a map to “visit” a couple of popular cities, read up on the history, visit a museum with Impressionists works, or even go on line to learn historical details. Go for a bike ride. Order a French movie online.  Learn a couple of simple French phrases.

Create a wine or brewery tour – Mike’s a novice brewmaster so we always include a brewery tour or brewpub wherever we go. If you can’t go to a winery or brewery, bring it to your staycation.  Choose a region such as Colorado, California or the Northwest and design a tour with the brew, wine and some regional treats.

The important thing is separate from your routine, disconnect from chores, open and clear your mind of the ceaseless “listing” of things to do, quiet the voice that wants to critique, and just – enjoy the moment.

Six Staycation Helpful Hints

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