I’d found a cheap flight, cleared my schedule for five days and got set up with studios in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
I’d spent a long winter cozied up at home and wanderlust was tugging at my heart. The idea of jetting off to on a Mediterranean adventure for a weekend seemed super exciting.
When fall rolled around, I realized I’d booked myself to be on the road five weekends in a row—I caught a nasty cold twice in the same month. The workshops in Tel Aviv weren’t attracting much interest and the political situation in Israel seemed less friendly by the day.
I absolutely love traveling but just staying put was starting to look pretty attractive.
Which is how I ended up at home with five clear days on my schedule and a world of freedom at my doorstep.
Enter Project Staycation: How to have the best time without leaving the house.
1. Make an “Opportunities List.”
You’re on holiday—to-do lists are out!
But how do you want to spend this time you’ve been gifted?
This is an opportunity to get around to a lot of the things you struggle to squeeze into the chaos of your regular life.
The laundry, scrubbing down the kitchen shelves, soaking your tired body in the tub, snuggling up in an armchair with Gone Girl (which everybody but you has managed to read, it seems), a movie night with your lover, organizing your taxes, filing course notes, paying bills, writing letters, journaling, putting order to the everyday madness.
A staycation is about clearing space.
Which means doing those pesky household chores but also means taking time to do things you find purely relaxing.
An Opportunities List helps me get clear about how I want to use this precious time.
It helps me choose the feel-good activities over mindlessly getting sucked into hours of clicking through Facebook posts from people I haven’t seen in ten years and probably didn’t care about in the first place. (Don’t pretend that never happens to you.)
2. Say no to appointments.
When I first decided to cancel the trip, I momentarily went into autopilot and started considering all the things I could reschedule back into my weekend.
I could probably pick back up a few private yoga sessions that I’d cancelled, I could make plans to meet friends for coffee, I could accompany my boyfriend on a daytrip to Münster.
I had to remind myself I was completely run down from too much of exactly that—packing my life so full of places and people that I’d totally lost balance.
On your staycation, resist the urge to fill the void.
Say no to anything that promises to involve buses, traffic, delayed trains, planes, waiting, large crowds, busy intersections and fixed plans.
Don’t let anything creep onto your Opportunities List that’s attached to a specific date and time. Appointments (even the fun ones) create potential for all kinds of frustrations and stresses that do not belong on your staycation.
3. Set your clock to staycation mode.
Sometimes vacations leave us feeling more drained that we were when we embarked on them. Staycations are truly for resting.
Go to bed early.
Get up early.
Take time to prepare three healthful meals each day.
Chew more slowly.
Get lots of rest.
4. Move your body, gently.
One of the most difficult problems about being a person on the move is that I often don’t have the time and energy to move in ways that are rejuvenating.
My morning yoga practice is usually the first thing that gets tossed out the window when I’m spending a lot of time on the road. A staycation is the perfect space to reset routines.
Start slowly—a gentle home yoga practice, a brisk walk, a bike ride through the park. Make sure you pick something that leaves you feeling energized.
5. Buy less.
Whereas vacations can be costly endeavors, staycaytions are intentionally cheap. Most consumer experiences are fall into the high-potential for frustration and stress category.
This is not the time to plow through your Christmas shopping!
On my staycation I bought groceries, ordered a couple of books on Amazon and treated myself to lunch. Pretty much everything else I did was free.
I also did a much-needed purge of my closet and hauled a bag of clothes off to a donation drop box—an entirely satisfying staycation activity.
Your staycation is about appreciating what you already have, rather than accumulating more stuff that you don’t really need.
At the end of your staycation you should feel rested, focused and excited to get back to your daily routines.
Not going to Israel meant I didn’t have to come home drained from a long flight, a time-zone change and four nights of sleeping in strange beds to a house full of dirty laundry and last week’s dishes.
It allowed me to clean up the disorder at home and take a time out for myself, so that I could plunge back into a busy week at work, coffee dates with friends, dentist appointments and all the coming and going in between, without feeling like I was splitting at the seams.
My staycation let me take a step back from the pressure of an overly full do this now list in order to simply appreciate the richness of my life.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Liz Huntley
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock