Around this time of year, many of us would usually be jetting off to enjoy a relaxing vacation getaway and escape the chill of winter. But instead, the clock has been reset for another six weeks of lockdown and our hopefulness needs a moment to gather.
This second stricter lockdown can be a battle for the mind and it is natural to feel somewhat trapped. Fight off the lockdown blues with these tips for making your time spent at home feel more like a staycation. The best staycations can be exactly what you need to relax, rejuvenate, and rediscover the things you love about your hometown—or even your own backyard.
- Ditch the routine
The key to success is choosing to engage in activities that take you outside of your usual routine and into something that looks and feels different than the day-to-day.
Start by hitting pause on chores and distractions. Everyone’s idea of a perfect staycation is different, but most people can agree on what it doesn’t look like: the same old same old. One of the best staycation tips you can follow is to ditch the schedule, avoid your phone, emails, to-do list and get rid of other real-life distractions as well. Something as simple as turning off reminders and notifications that might pop up on your phone or smartwatch can go a long way.
When you’re on holiday, you probably make an event of your morning coffee and enjoy a leisurely start to your day. So to get a bit of that calm morning vibe when you’re at home, consider setting up some dedicated time in the morning to unwind and connect with your family or roommate over coffee. It may not always be possible to spend a long time together in the morning if you need to get on with the day, but you can probably carve out some time (especially if you no longer need to dedicate time to a commute). And that will be time well-spent, because starting your day by spending a bit of quality time with others can make you feel happier, more relaxed, and more connected.
The same goes for the kind of routine chores that make daily life feel so mundane. Only when you make arrangements to remove yourself from the ordinary can your staycation really begin. Of course these chores don’t miraculously disappear, but consider if there are ways you can mix it up, lessen the time spent doing them or make it fun – some good music and a cocktail while you do the laundry perhaps!
- Deviate from your go-to spots
There’s a pretty good chance you haven’t gotten around to doing everything a visitor to your home neighbourhood would want to do. Obviously we are limited in what we can do right now, but simple things like taking a new walk path, visiting a different coffee shop or stocking up at your local market or independently owned fresh food grocer instead of the big supermarket giants are all great ways to elevate your day into something that feels more like a vacation than just another day at home. Give yourself the space to wander your local area and take everything in, rather than mindlessly rushing. You’ll be surprised at the things you never noticed when you take the time to really look.
- Make it a spa day
Pamper yourself with a full spa experience. Carve out time to give yourself a luxurious manicure, pedicure, hair treatment, face mask — or all of them!
Better yet, treat your partner or roommate to a treatment and reap the ‘feel good’ benefits of giving your time and energy to another. Research shows generosity has benefits for the giver as well as the receiver. In a nutshell - helping others makes us happier. Giving can also reduce your stress by actively engaging your mind in activities that distract you from your worries and give you some perspective. Often, we feel better about our own circumstances when we do good for others, creating an increased sense of gratitude and contentment.
- Plan a special event
One of the most helpful staycation tips is to plan your time at home around a special event you are looking forward to - like a virtual concert, new film, or the release of a TV series season you’ve been dying to see. Pairing a highly anticipated event with your staycation at home is a fantastic way to make your time off feel even more special.
If there aren’t any live stream performances or special new premieres you want to see, consider making your own event by holding a backyard movie night (portable projectors and screens are surprisingly affordable) or outdoor campfire for roasting marshmallows.
- Cocktails and conversation
You may not be able to hit the hotel bar; however you can still enjoy some cocktails and conversation at home. To make an at-home cocktail date feel elevated and special, set the scene. Light some candles, put on a great playlist, arrange some fresh flowers, and get dressed up like you’re getting ready for a night on the town. Then, enjoy bonding over some homemade craft cocktails.
- Travel via cook books, take a virtual cooking class, or create your own fancy restaurant in the dining room!
One way to explore world culture is to try new cuisines. So if you like to cook, you can get a taste of world travel through trying new recipes. If you already have cookbooks at home, now is a great time to start working through them. And if you don’t, you can order a few online or find some new recipes on the many excellent cooking blogs across the internet or explore favourite recipes from Crown's much-loved chefs here
. Trying out new dishes from different cultures is a great way to explore those cultures, helping you experience more of the world while you’re stuck in lockdown and making your everyday routine more fun, exciting, and novel.
If you want to make this staycation idea even more immersive, consider seeing if you can pair your cuisine with a complementary virtual tour. There are many museums, landmarks, aquariums, and zoos around the world that are currently offering virtual tours and livestreams online. For example, some popular virtual destinations are the Louvre, the Great Wall of China, and the San Diego Zoo. If you, say, pair that new French dish you’re trying with a virtual stroll around the Louvre, that can make your staycation meal all the more fun and interesting. And taking a few virtual tours may help you decide where you want to travel next once the travel restrictions are lifted it’s safe to travel again
Alternatively, virtual cooking classes are all the rage right now and can make for a great low-key date night activity after a day of staycationing at home, and they’re often BYOB as well. You can also find family cooking classes that get the kids get involved too, if your staycation includes the whole family.
Of course, if your idea of a perfect staycation involves having someone else cook for you, splash out on a special takeaway meal from your favourite restaurant or somewhere new you’ve always wanted to try or wouldn’t normally splurge on. In doing so you’ll cultivate a new memory and experience – just like you would on a holiday.
- Get outdoors
Soak up the vitamin D we all need to keep our immune system strong and enjoy your morning coffee at a nearby park, stroll a shaded walking trail, or take on a more challenging hike or scenic bike ride for your daily exercise – all within your 5km radius of course.
Make brunch, lunch, or dinner feel more fun by having a picnic at home. If you have a backyard, take advantage of your outdoor space and enjoy a picnic out in nature. Grab some picnic fare, a blanket, and maybe a board game to unwind out in the fresh air. If you don’t have a yard, you can still enjoy this staycation idea by making your living room into a DIY indoor picnic space. As long as you have a blanket and some picnic-ready foods, you can have a calm, relaxing picnic wherever you are.
If entertaining kids and feeling adventurous, an overnight camping trip in the backyard (or living room) can be great fun and a real circuit breaker from the everyday at-home experience.
- Above all, make time for the fun stuff
The most enjoyable things to do on a staycation are the ones that resonate with your interests and mood. Use your staycation as an opportunity to change your routine and make time for the fun stuff you’ve wanted to do but haven’t necessarily had time to focus on yet.