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4 Ways to Have a Great Staycation!

It’s a different kind of summer. Try these tips to relax and renew without journeying far from home.

Summer staycation ideas
Credit: Getty Images

By now, many of us have grown accustomed to being flexible, creative and open to ways to stay positive and present during the coronavirus pandemic. Summer vacations have been a tough one to let go of, especially if our plans involved plane rides, large reunions or crowded destinations. But all that work you’ve done since March can serve your summer. In other words, you have the skills you need to create an easy, affordable “staycation” that is both fun and meaningful.

1)  Take Vacation Days

If you were traveling out of town, you’d take time off from work, have neighbors water your plants and generally be “away” for a set period of time. You can water your own plants during a staycation, but try to be intentional about being away from colleagues, deadlines and routines that don’t serve your vacation mindset. Millions of vacation days are left on the table annually by American workers. For your mental health, make sure that even if you’re not going far, you do go “away.”

2)  Beeline for Nature

Spending time in the outdoors is a balm—and a way to connect with a sense of “vacation” in short periods of time over short distances. Depending on where you live, a day hike, walk in an urban park or trip to a local botanical garden might be just the ticket. Overnight camping is a lower-risk activity (check your local area for rules and restrictions) that can let you sleep somewhere else for a few nights. Public recreation experts advise keeping outdoor activities within your family or quarantine “pod,” respecting six-foot distancing guidelines and, as always, taking all garbage with you when you leave natural spaces.

3)  DIY Day Spa

A spa day can be a mentality as much as a destination—and though it’s certainly easier to outsource your relaxation to a professional, you can try some easy, affordable things to create a spa-like oasis in your own home. Make a morning-night schedule that includes the ingredients in a special self-care day: quality sleep; a break from technology, especially the headlines; plenty of hydration (slice up some lemons or cucumbers into that water!); and inexpensive skin care that could involve sheet masks purchased from a pharmacy, a leisurely hand massage with your thickest cream or a long soak in a scented tub. Keep the lights low and welcome the evening with flickering candles, gentle music (try nature sounds, classical music, or soft jazz for a spa sensibility). Feed yourself simple, nutritious meals and snacks (lots of fresh fruits and veggies). You can even pick up a light, fun magazine during your next grocery run to cue the feeling of a lovely, calm spa waiting area.

4)  Make It Meaningful

Wherever you, um, don’t go for your staycation, show up fully and with a mindful eye toward making meaning. You might putter in the garden and reflect on the phrase, “grow where you’re planted.” You might decide to finally start a project or idea that you’ve been percolating for a long time, reminding yourself that you can make space for new things. Or you might simply take a break from working, physically and emotionally, relishing the away-ness for any amount of time you have. Hazrat Inayat Khan, the Sufi Muslim teacher, once said, “Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” What have you made beautiful in your place? Celebrate and embrace the opportunity to spend time there.

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