One thing that six years of working at my place of employment has produced is three weeks of paid vacation every year. I've spent the last 9 months focusing on my finances, repairing my credit score and just being better with my money altogether. In the absence of spending just because I can, I've enjoyed seeing all the unique places my friends are traveling to in 2017, as I get travel inspiration on where I should travel in the upcoming year. Another thing I've spent the last 9 months working on is unapologetically indulging in me time. I spent the majority of my 20s not appreciating the importance of investing in myself and although I've been fighting the urge to book a flight to someplace warm and seaside, I would be lying if I said I haven't enjoyed my new discovered love for staycations and all their relaxing glory!
If you’re hoping to avoid the travel bug like I have this year, here are some tips to help you plan your perfect staycation:
1) Catch up on sleep sis!
If you know me well, you know that I am the reining nap queen, 29 years strong. I strongly believe that God designed rest for us, especially women, to refuel everything we give out in our busy days. Your staycation is the perfect time to selfishly catch up on sleep. If you’re really being honest with yourself, how many days a week do you cheat yourself out of a good nights sleep? Sleep in late, go to bed early and turn your phone off before your head hits the pillow. This way you’ll rest without interruptions and will be able to return back to your work rejuvenated and focused.
2) Get Lost in a Good Book
Maybe it’s just my inner nerd, but I love nothing more than cuddling into my fluffiest, warmest blanket with a new book. I am currently reading God Always Has a Plan B by Zondervan and Hallmark, and I can honestly say it's been the most riveting book I've read during my twenties. We're taught that when one door closes, God has another one waiting to open for us but if we're honest with ourselves, a lot of times, it's a lot easier to hear it than actually have the faith to believe it applies to our situation. What I love the most about it is that through each scripture, parable, story and word of encouragement, the promise of Romans 8:28 ("in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him) is brought to life in a way that assures you that Plan A doesn't always fall into place, but through the grace of God, there's a Plan B with your name on it, with the promise of a new perspective, new attitude, and new direction for your life.
3) Spend Time Outdoors
We'll talk about binge-watching your favorite movies and shows in the next point, but spending your whole staycation glued to the television isn't where it's at sis. Get off your couch or crawl out of bed and get some fresh air. Take time to fully clear your mind, unplug from your phone and any mindless drama surrounding you. Spend your time outdoors soaking in the beauty of nature. Don’t focus on getting pictures for your Instagram feed. Just spend time focusing on your experience.
4) Netflix, Hulu and Chill
I hate that my favorite girlfriends live so far from Atlanta because all the fun Girls Night In ideas that float around in my head on a weekly basis all go to waste. (insert dramatic GIF here) Nevertheless, both Hulu and Netflix have stepped up there game this year and have given me ENDLESS binge options to curl up on the couch with my favorite snacks with. Even though I'm still bummed The Cosby Show was removed from the Hulu line-up, they've sorta kinda redeemed themselves by adding Family Matters and Hanging with Mr. Cooper. I forget how funny Family Matters was and can appreciate the healthy family values and lessons it portrayed for the African American community.
5) Get Your MasterChef On, Solo
One thing I hate the most about my work schedule is the limited amount of time it leaves me to cook a wholesome meal throughout the week.I'm not a meal prepping queen like a lot of my friends so I always enjoy being able to cook with no limitations while I'm vacationing. My cooking plans always start on Pinterest and after hours of tormenting myself with repins of delicious recipes, I throw on my favorite Spotify playlist and sing and dance and pretend I'm the greatest cook in Atlanta. After singing and dancing my heart out, I've usually built up an appetite and can't wait to relax and enjoy my meal.
6) Work Out
This one isn’t really for everyone which is fine! But if you’re running out of things to do or simply just enjoy a good workout, take some time to sweat off the stress and refuel your body and mind.
7) Explore Your City or Go on a Day Trip
I LOVE LIVING IN ATLANTA! There is literally something for me to do, no matter what kind of mood I'm in. My work schedule doesn't allow me to get out as much as I'd like to and the fact that I'm the homebody that I am, even after 7 years of living here, I discover something new and exciting each time I leave the suburbs to enjoy some city time. I understand that everyone doesn't share the same love I have for my city, especially if they've lived here their whole life. If that's your testimony, staycationing in your hometown can feel suffocating and frustrating, because you've run out of activities that might interest you. One way to avoid this obnoxious feeling is to plan a day trip. Every area has their go-to locations to visit. Whether it’s beaches, mountains, or downtown districts that attract you, you’re bound to find something new. Planning a day trip allows you to explore a new place without costing you an arm and a leg or without you having to get on a plane or drive too far.
8) Debrief From Current Events
This one just might be my favorite, especially with all the CRAZY that plasters the news every day. Sis, TURN OFF THE NEWS and don't check the mail, just like you would if you were out of town! When you banish sources of stress, stress itself follows suit. I promise, the earth will continue to turn even if you're not reading all about it every morning at 7:30 sharp. Sadly, the bills will still be there when your staycation is over BUT allow yourself a break for even those for a few days and watch how tolerable adulting becomes
9) Bring the Spa to YOU!
Pampering is MUST before, during and after any vacation for me. Staycationing is no different! Nowadays, spending a ton on professional spa days isn't your only option to a perfect pampering session. Bring the spa to you girl!
- Turn your bathroom into an aromatherapy spa. Stop in at a health-food store to pick out a selection of essential oils in scents you like (calming lavender, rose oil, or chamomile; energizing peppermint or lemon verbena). Then draw a warm bath, sink into it, and let Mother Nature do her botanical best for you.
- Make staying hydrated a beautiful thing. Fill your prettiest pitchers with ice water and slices of lemon, orange, or cucumber. Place them (each with a glass) at various strategic points around the house and in a shady spot outside. Then, as you go about your day, stop often to take a long, cool, flavorful pull.
- Hire a massage therapist who makes house calls. Ask friends for recommendations, or do a bit of web research. Most good day spas will dispatch a therapist for a home visit; 20 percent is the standard gratuity for house calls. If your yard is relatively private (and shady), consider having your rubdown in the great outdoors.
10) Do Absolutely NOTHING
After running around for 40 hours a week, I thoroughly enjoy doing NOTHING at some point during my staycation. By nothing I mean, no planning, no thinking, no pressure. Life comes at us fast. Hours turn into days, Days turn in weeks. Weeks turn into months. Months turn into years. All before we know it. Yes, glowing and growing is important, as well as flourishing in our careers, but when was the last time you stepped away from the chaos to enjoy the unexpected promises that come with no schedules, no text alerts, no texts, no meetings, no nothing? Some of life's best moments happen during moments of nothingness. Endulge in yours accordingly.
Staycationing isn't everyone's cup of tea but if it's yours, I'd love to hear your favorite way to staycay. Drop your comments below and if you haven't already, don't forget to subscribe to, like and share your posts from the blog!