Take a vacation? In this economy? Psssssssssh, please.
A weekend beach getaway might not be in the cards right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your time off. In fact, a staycation may be the perfect opportunity to boost your mental health and reignite your motivation. Here are some tips for planning a mental wellness staycation, courtesy of the mental health professionals at CNLD Testing & Therapy.
What Is a Staycation?
A staycation is a vacation where you stay at home. You still have time off work. You still get a break from “real life.” The only difference is that you’re not traveling to a new destination.
Why Staycations Are Excellent for Mental Health
A staycation can serve several purposes. It gives you a dedicated stretch of time to rest, relax and recoup. It also provides an opportunity to catch up on chores or projects you might be neglecting. If your house is driving you crazy or you’re tired of looking at that half painted wall, this could be a time to tie up loose ends.
With this in mind, you don’t have to dedicate your staycation to being productive. Your body and mind may benefit more from resting or lounging in the yard. Read a good book. Take a bath every single night. Eat the junk food you never get a chance to enjoy. This staycation is all about you!
If finances are affecting your mental health, a staycation is the perfect solution. Approximately 59% of travelers say that rising gas prices have changed their travel plans. There’s nothing wrong with spending your time off at home and saving money along the way. You simply need to structure your vacation in a way that still provides a mental reset.
How to Plan Your Mental Wellness Staycation
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your staycation:
- Remove yourself from work completely, if at all possible. Pretend that you’re going out of state for a vacation, and plan accordingly. Your workplace doesn’t need to know that you’re in town, and you shouldn’t make yourself available in that way. This staycation is all about peace and tranquility.
- Consider sending your kids to a friend’s house for a few days. If your work life has kept you from spending time with your children, you may prefer having them around for your staycation. If the kids are driving you nuts though, make arrangements so you can have some peace and quiet. Even if it’s just one night, it can provide a ton of stress relief.
- Dedicate the first day to doing absolutely nothing. We call this a reset day. You may have projects you want to complete, but you can start those on day two. That first day is all about giving your mind and body some time off.
- Limit social media and screen time. If you spend your entire staycation scrolling on your phone, you probably won’t get much out of it. This may be the perfect time to take a break from social media altogether. Try to do things that feel enriching and rewarding instead.
- Don’t put too much pressure on planning. You can have goals for the staycation, but don’t plan every single day down to the minute. Leave plenty of flexibility for naps, movies, bubble baths, card games – let the staycation have a mind of its own.
- Limit your errands during your staycation. If you’re using this time to catch up on tasks you haven’t gotten to throughout the year, you might have to run a few errands. If you’re purely going on a staycation for peace, then just stay home. Get the groceries delivered and use the time you save toward your mental wellness.
- Balance your time inside and outside. Fresh air does wonders for mental wellness. You can veg out on the couch as much as you want, but try to spend some time outside as well. Soak in some vitamins from the sun and breathe in the beauty of Mother Nature.
- Don’t be afraid to spend the entire time by yourself. Sure, you may love hanging out with friends and family. If that’s how you want to spend your time, go for it! But if you just feel like walking around the house naked and sleeping in until noon, that’s perfectly fine too.
- Allot for a buffer day to mentally transition back into your work life. This may include getting your clothes and meals ready for the work day or planning out your first day back at work. Use the last day of your staycation to transition back to work life so you don’t feel a smack of stress first thing in the morning.
Don’t Make This a One-Time Experience!
Mental wellness requires maintenance. The rejuvenation you get from your staycation will only last so long. Make this into a rule for your lifestyle, not an exception. Use up your mental health days and paid time off at work. Treat yourself with the same love and care that you give to everyone else. In fact, we challenge you to plan for your next vacation or staycation as soon as you finish up this one.
Check out our 25 Weeks to Better Mental Health guide where we provide step-by-step solutions to boost mental wellness. One of those weeks includes planning a vacation to soothe your soul. We know this works, and we can’t wait for you to test it in your own life. Enjoy your well-deserved time off!