What is a Staycation?
The way that I define a staycation may be different than how others might define it. A staycation is when I take a break from my work schedule and allow myself to take a break. I don’t schedule work related appointments during staycation. I use the term staycation because I don’t plan to travel, as people typically do for a vacation. The term vacate is about leaving. What I generally want more than anything else is some time spent at home. Because home is my favorite place to relax. The intent and the hope is to be in what I think of as free time.
What is Free Time?
Free time is when I spend days doing whatever I want. This also means that I don’t do things that I don’t want to do. Of course I still honor a few responsibilities. For example, as a caregiver for my mother with dementia, I meet my care-giving role during a staycation. I also still write my blog during staycation. If it suits me and reduces my stress, I might complete a project on staycation. However, the biggest personal priority during free time is to do the things that are restorative.
What is Restoration?
What is restorative for me is likely different than what is restorative for someone else. Some people are truly restored by vacations. I can truly say that I have only been on one vacation that was restorative. For my 40th birthday, I took a 3-4 day trip to Austin, TX. I went to an experiential spa called Travassa. Besides eating healthy organic foods with my sister and one of my closest friends…my activities included going to yoga, tai chi and to the spa. I sat in meditation at their on-site chapel/spiritual center and I journaled. That experience was restorative. It was only a few weeks after my father died. It allowed me a chance to reconnect with myself. It also allowed me to spend time with my sister that was separate from the laborious experience of grieving.
Outside of that one vacation, restoration for me is being at my favorite place. My favorite place is home. I know that for some people home is a source of stress. Home is where they may feel pressured or abused; or they experience dysfunctional relationships, obligation, debt, or perhaps a burden of some sort. For others, home is chaotic, messy, and cluttered. Yet still for others, home isn’t a place, home is a feeling that resides within the context of relationships.
For me…my home is my refuge. I don’t take that lightly. I know that creating and cultivating a home that is a place of peace and restoration has happened with intention and hard work. It is not something everyone has. Your favorite place may very well be away from home. However, I take comfort in knowing that I get to return to my favorite place almost every day.
An Introvert’s Dream
I am a self-described introvert. I learned long ago that while I am and can be very socially engaging and connect with people…there is a cost for me. That cost is energetic depletion. I learned that it is important for me to decline most invitations. Staycations are a dream come true for me primarily because they allow me to recharge. I make a few plans with friends one-on-one during staycations. I do enjoy engaging with and attending large social or professional gatherings; however that does not restore me.
The Gift of Staycations
The gift of staycations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Staycations are inexpensive.
- Staycations don’t require an agenda.
- Staycations are flexible because you don’t have to be anywhere.
- A staycation requires as much or as little imagination as you’d like.
- A staycation allows space for stillness.
- A staycation does not promote any pressure to look, feel or be a certain way.
For me, the true gift of a staycation is that I have figured out what works for me. It’s not for everyone. However a vital component to well-being is finding what is restorative for you. Whether you are self employed, retired, looking for work, or employed by others, a staycation – even a brief one – is something anyone can do.
Set a Limit
The key is setting a time limit on a staycation so that what you do, allow, and experience on a staycation is different from your day-to-day life. The whole point is to shrug off the pressures of daily life and let go of most of the things that you are “supposed” to do.
This staycation that I am taking now is for one week. I take another 2 week staycation at the end of each year. The ability to staycate was something I didn’t do early in my career because I feared loss of income. Now I know that staycating contributes to abundance in my life. A staycation allows me to love what is and to recognize that I truly have everything that I need and for that I am truly grateful.
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