I think every time someone says the word “staycation,” a perfectly fine concept dies a little.
In recent years, we’ve been trained to think that staycations are for doing things like visiting local tourist attractions you don’t want to visit, cleaning garages, or catching up on soap operas. These are things your ever-practical, non-DIY parents, friends, or neighbors do “in this economy.” And frankly, they’re so 2009.
The edges of where personal and professional time begin and end become more blurred every day. Societal gerbil wheels litter the daily landscape, and it takes more than a plane ticket to avoid them. Getting out of town does not a vacation make.
So, if that’s the case, is it really possible to “vacate at home?”
I live in a community with 100 golf courses, and I’ve observed that there’s something to be learned from an old cliche. Local doctors traditionally take one whole afternoon off every week to play golf. They go out in the middle of a large green space and bat at tiny balls. They drink beer and smoke cigars. I think this is a good thing.
But there are important distinctions that make the cliched golfing doctor more relevant than other business people who may do the same. Doctors don’t just leave their offices, but they leave another doctor “on call.” They are not networking. Their spouses are even asked not to call unless a family member is hemorrhaging. They are playing golf, and like the Hippocratic oath, this “playtime” is sacred.
The good news is you don’t have to take an afternoon a week, nor do you have to be a doctor. A shift in mindset is all that’s needed.
Pull Out the Calendar and Pick the Dates
To start, I suggest picking out two whole days in 2013 for your “staycation.” I advise that you don’t pick holidays or any other special days, as they are often full of expectations and obligations. Select regular days and plan to get out of the house early.
Want to go to the nearby gardens when they are in full spring splendor? Or take a hike in the woods during peak fall foliage? A quick internet search will tell you the best times.
Kids get sick and things come up at work, so consider pencilling in possible back up dates as well.
Depending on your means and spending style, this part of planning is intensely personal. In any case, establishing a budget is important.
If you’re more frugal than not, remind yourself that you will not be paying for plane tickets, hotels, and a week’s worth of restaurant meals. Remember that this is an investment in your health and well-being.
If you have a tendency to spend beyond your means, look beyond your first impulse. Try to unearth what it is that you truly want from your time. Most likely, you will find an emotion behind that desire to go shopping or eat out at the expensive restaurant.
Undoubtedly, there are things right in your hometown that you would like to do on your special day, that are out of reach on a regular basis, but in the big picture, quite affordable if indulged in only on occasion. Keep a look out for specials at nearby day spas and restaurants. Also, sign up for emails from places such as Living Social that offer attractive discounted activities geared towards locals.
No matter what your spending style or means, approach your budget with an attitude of abundance. Remind yourself as often as necessary how lucky you are to be gifting yourself with a special day.
Heart’s Desire, or “What’s Your Golf?”
When you go on a pricier, out of town vacation, and feel as if you have all the time in the world, what are the kind of things you like to splurge on and do? A two-hour lunch at a nice restaurant with an old friend? Read a whole book in one afternoon?
To your list of possibilities, add things in your town that you have always wanted to do, but haven’t. Also consider things you have done locally, but sometimes with a sense of obligation, such as with houseguests.
By looking into your heart’s desires, you may discover the path less traveled and there probably will be some resistance, Your “monkey mind” will fight you and tell you things like:
“You can’t afford to do this!”
“You are too important and the world can’t live without you!”
“You will miss something!”
If you’ve made it this far in this article, I can confidently can tell you that these things are not true.
Be Less “Wired”
Have you been on “real” vacation, as in the kind where you go far away geographically, and found yourself much more worried about recharging your iPad than about recharging yourself?
I don’t want anyone breaking into a cold sweat, but recognize the importance of going off the virtual grid, to the best of your ability. Make firm decisions ahead of time about how you are going to accomplish this. Perhaps plan to check your email three times during the day instead of 30, and turn off all social media notifications.
Whenever you experience any doubts, remember to take a lesson from the rule book of the golf-playing doctors. Now vacate, stay-cate, play-cate – the word doesn’t matter. If taken as directed, it is good for both you and your loved ones. Now, do it, and call us in the morning.