By Anna Themanson, LCPC, CADC
COVID has interrupted quite a few fun plans in 2020, including many trips and traveling plans. As we’re entering month seven of COVID restrictions, many of us are finding creative ways to get some much needed rest and relaxation through staycations! A staycation is a safer alternative to traveling out of town or out state while still experiencing those vacation vibes we’re all missing.
The one thing that is guaranteed with a vacation is that there is a change of scenery and routine. For a staycation to feel special, it’s important to break out of your routine. One idea of how to do that is switching the room you sleep in whether that’s a guest bedroom, or setting up sleeping bags in the living room. Do you take walks around your neighborhood? Take a different route, or ride a bike instead of walking. You can also support small businesses by ordering take out from local breakfast restaurants instead of cooking up your usual at home.
Secondly, think of what you usually like to do on vacation and try to recreate it at home. Do you enjoy spa days? Treat yourself to a nice bath bomb, face mask, and new nail polish for a rejuvenating day. Do you enjoy lounging around? Get your favorite snacks and plan out a movie day in your comfiest pajamas. Do you enjoy shopping? Shop at local boutiques and small businesses in surrounding areas that you don’t normally frequent. Staycations can also be a wonderful opportunity to do, try, and see the things you’ve thought about but never got around to it! Examples of that could be trying a new restaurant, visiting a local museum, or going to a drive-in movie theater.
As the weather gets colder, it’s more and more important to take advantage of the “good weather” days we have left. Lucky us, there are many areas to take in fall foliage! You can visit the Morton Arboretum, Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park, Gilman trail, and many more! Another way to enjoy being outside is having a bonfire with s’mores, taking an outdoor yoga class, or going for a drive to look at the changing fall leaves.
Parents have had to be extra creative during quarantine to keep their kids entertained, and staycations are no different! Here are some ideas to help kids have fun and relax. Your family could camp in your backyard or basement/living room, redecorate the kids rooms, paint/draw self-portraits, make an obstacle course, or complete a scavenger hunt! You could also have themed days of your staycation; for example, on animal day you go to the zoo, eat animal shaped macaroni, and watch the Lion King!
The last tip for a successful staycation is to unplug. Turn off those e-mail notifications and don’t even think about “getting ahead in work”! It is so important that we take time for self-care, fun, and rest. Without taking time off and time for ourselves, we could be at risk for burnout, exhaustion, and lowered immune systems. Enjoy your staycations everyone!