How to have a staycation

This article is for you if you’re tired from your week, bored but don’t have enough money to travel or if you just need an easy, routine-free weekend. Let me run you through why having a “staycation” holiday in your own home is so great. Firstly and in case you’re not familiar, a staycation is like a nap — a quick little recharge. It’s not a full-blown holiday. It’s a weekend retreat; in your own home.

To really make the most of your holiday at home it’s important to make space — physically and mentally — to relax. Read on for a bunch of practical ways you can prepare for your holiday at home. Hopefully these little nuggets of experience in the art of sleeping lots and doing nothing will help you on your way to planning the staycation of your dreams.

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When did the staycation trend emerge (and why should you care)?

The concept first came onto my radar when I picked up my favourite magazine — Kinfolk Magazine — early in 2015. Kinfolk is a lifestyle magazine that explores ways for readers to simplify their lives and cultivate community.

The particular article I read that fateful day centred around the perks of doing nothing. The writer, Nikaela Marie Peters, wrote about idleness and the beauty of time spent at home, doing not much at all. The prospect peaked my interest. Here’s some of what she had to say: “Far from laziness, proper idleness is the soul’s home base. Before we plan or love or decide or act or storytell, we are idle. Before we learn, we watch. Before we do, we dream. Before we play, we imagine.

It seems that doing nothing and increasing productivity are linked.

And Ferris Jabr — an award-winning writer — agrees. In an article he wrote called “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime” he says, “…downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life….Moments of respite may even be necessary to…maintain a sense of self.”

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The benefits (and pitfalls) of holidaying at home

At it’s core, a staycation is a vacation spent close to home without the usual routine that comes with everyday living. The concept has earned a reputation as an affordable way to recharge. And for obvious reason. To me, it means time off spent in a cozy bed. There’s no transit time, only comfy clothes…and I get to keep my own pillow. My staycations tend to include late sleep-ins, good food, red wine, card games and deep chats with my lovely husband James.

It’s pretty clear that there are benefits, loads of benefits. But there is also a major obstacle to the promised land of good qualify R&R. In my experience, there is just one thing that can take a staycation from hero to zero in no time at all — distraction. The tech struggle is real. It’s so easy for digital distraction to plague us. So to curb distraction, we’ve come up with a few really simple things you can do to prepare for your staycation and stay in the moment during your ‘home holiday’.

Prepare beforehand + stay in the present

Throw caution to the wind; not laundry in the wind to dry
By nature holidays have an absence of routine and mundane tasks. A staycation should be no different. Ensure you take care of all washing and tidying prior to the commencement of your weekend off. Make this a Thursday night task so that by the time Friday afternoon rolls around you can kick back without a worry.

Treat yourself; you’ve earned it
You’re saving on travel costs, so you can treat yourself to some little luxuries I say. During staycations we typically fill our kitchen with staples like brie, red wine and fresh sourdough. We also love eating out but eating locally. There’s something satisfying about hoeing into some good ol’ ramen at the local Japanese restaurant, with it’s endearing yet tacky red and gold paraphernalia. 

No (or low) tech zone
Imagine for a second that you had a weekend where you were free from the clutches of the infamous blue-lit screen. This fantasy is not only possible but entirely reasonable. You work hard and deserve a weekend free from notifications, updates and interruptions. To create this blissful ecosystem you could…let family and friends know in advance that you’ll be on holidays and would prefer not to be contacted, set a short window of time during the day where you reply to very urgent emails and/or add an intelligent ‘out of office’ email notice to your work and personal email accounts.

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I admit, it can be difficult to mentally justify taking time out (a day, or a whole weekend) for a quick recharge. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that if an experience doesn’t have a clear functional or practical outcome, I can be weary of it’s value. But I think that’s why I find the ‘staycation’ approach so refreshing  — and liberating. I can make pasta from scratch, brew real tea and dig into that book about the brain I’ve had sitting beside my bed all year, untouched.

Staycations are practical, affordable, refreshing and oh-so-worthwhile. They allow me to give myself permission to relax, do nothing and recharge. And for that, I am grateful to the art of holidaying at home. So, I deeply hope you’re able to embrace rest as you spend time decompressing in your home, with your loved ones, on the weekend. To good quality rest!