If there’s one thing I fully understand it is the idea of getting time off from your everyday routine. Most people around this time of the year jet off to somewhere luxurious, but considering I’ve been a student for the past…well, I’ve been a student, and haven’t had much money to devote to a willy-nilly warm vacation, I’ve had to really take those relaxing break, out-of-the-ordinary hours when I can get them. Yesterday I planned my first “real” staycation, it didn’t go as planned (as most plans don’t) but it was still relaxing. This wasn’t the first time I’ve spent the whole day off of work in my own home, but it was the first time I’ve made an effort in actively not doing, writing, emailing, anything at all. Here’s how I tried to make my at-home-Wednesday a paradise!
1. I told people that I was taking a break from work. This is usually the first and best step for taking a Staycation, because it means that people won’t expect to get emails from you, but will expect to see instagrams of you snuggling up with a glass of wine and four hours of Netflix. Hey, you guys get your weekends off, being a student or a creative-mind we don’t get to just work 9-5 and turn our brains off afterwards. So taking a full 24 hours off of writing, off of professional itneraction it really helped get me out of my head and into that vacation-mode.
2. I planned certain things ahead which is a normal vacation-y tip, its hard to “plan to relax” all the time, so I just made a lunch date with my dad and planned on maybe going to the mall or to a museum. I would’ve liked to get those things done, but since I would’ve had to bus and it wasn’t as warm as I would’ve liked it to be I ended up just staying at home and milking the relaxation. But having the plans in place, lunch with dad, watching a certain tv show with my family at eight, it really made the day less of a “what do I want to do?” and more of a “here’s some time, find something good to help relax you!” I also had decided beforehand that I was going to watch House of Cards on Netflix, so there was a lot less “What should I watch?!” issues that usually come with down time (in my experience anyway!)
3. I was active and healthy to an extent. I feel good after a workout, so I did a short one in the morning and practiced meditation in the afternoon, I would’ve liked to get a yoga practice in but my period cramps were really doing a number on me yesterday (TMI? I don’t care. This blog’s about my life, and I’m not going to hide the fact that two weeks a month my body hates me.) Minus the french fries and burger and beers at lunch (hey, I was on vacation!) my snacks were pretty minimal. English muffin, apple, a cheeky rice krispie square, I didn’t want to just pig out on everything I could find, but I wanted to treat myself. There’s good in balance, and that’s true for any vacation but when I’m at home I’m more likely to buy a bag of chips and keep them in my room while I’m relaxing, which isn’t great for me. This time I just ate when I wanted to, and I don’t feel bad about it.
4. Leave the house once or twice. I always make jokes that I’ll be in such need for a getaway that I’ll hop on a train and book a hotel room in Toronto for a night and not leave the room but watch tv in my underwear and eat room service, and only leave in the morning to go home. I say this is a fantasy vacation, but I would get stir crazy. Even taking a walk with good music, the dog, or an audiobook on my part makes a big difference. Those are things that I don’t have time for in my regular routine of work and social plans, so it is nice to get out if the weather permits.
5. Don’t worry about the work you’re not doing. I struggled with this bit yesterday and its always been something I can’t get over. When I was in school my Staycations would consist of me spending two hours in Second Cup alone reading with a white hot chocolate, two hours laying in bed with a bottle of wine reading vogue, then dinner out, then either a movie with friends or netflix. That entire time I would have to actively stop myself from worrying about the readings I should’ve been doing or the paper I had pre-written to do this day off and needed editing still. Yesterday I got to about dinnertime before starting to really get bothered by the lack of work that was going on. I have a busy day the rest of the week so it is hard to not want to get up and just get that last bit of work done, I’d feel better afterwards and be able to relax. There comes a time during every cvacation where you think of what you’ll have to do when you get back to the real world, but unfortunately when your vacations are a day long they don’t seem to be as effective as needed/wanted/intended.
My advice? Find ways to make the stress less prominent and work through it. Relax, put on candles, have a glass of wine, call a good friend or your family, watch a confusing show who knows find something to make sure that although you are taking a break that it is well worth it. There is nothing like “taking a break,” and only feeling more stress than before. We are human, we need to take it easy sometimes.
I hope this has inspired you to take a break yourself, as for me, I’m off to catch up on some work that should’ve got done while I was on vacation but didn’t, because I was busy relaxing.