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The Art of the Staycation

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May 24, 2019 | Published by


Anyone from any walk of life can feel the effects of stress. And while it’s important to manage stress in order to avoid the dangerous effects of chronic stress, sometimes jumping on a plane for a relaxing trip to The Bahamas just isn’t in the cards. For many people, this is because they already live with chronic stress.

That’s where the staycation comes into play. The staycation came into popularity during the 2007-2010 financial crisis, (7) when trips across or outside the country just weren’t financially feasible for most. Many people, including couples and families, found they could discover and enjoy activities in their hometown without having to spend as much as they would on a long-distance trip.

The Around Town Staycation

If you’re taking a break from your job, an important thing to consider is how connected you are with your place of employment. Unless it’s necessary, avoid checking your work email or taking business calls. In fact, if possible, consider turning off your devices entirely. A staycation is a fantastic way of breaking your typical work and home habits and trying something new.

If you feel the need to get out of the house, going to a park or museum can be deeply relaxing. For families, many museums offer hands-on activities that are great for kids, and since they’re always changing out attractions, a museum is bound to have something new and exciting you haven’t seen before.

Camping can make you feel truly disconnected from your work and electronics-filled life while providing a change of scenery for you to explore. But if roughing it isn’t your style, your local parks and recreation department may offer a variety of classes and programs such as cooking, dancing, arts and crafts, aquatics, and health and fitness. (1)

When it comes to planning your staycation, it’s important to get any prep work done ahead of time. (2) Have plenty of healthy food prepared so you don’t have to feel like you’re toiling away in the kitchen during your time off. You may even find this to be a wonderful opportunity to try new, nourishing foods that may be available around your town, inspiring you to try different types of healthy cooking at home.

Vacationing When You’re Too Fatigued to Get Away

What you get out of your staycation largely depends on your personal needs and limits. For individuals struggling with adrenal fatigue, even getting out of bed each morning can be a struggle. Thankfully, it’s not uncommon for a staycation to mean remaining at home.

Think of your staycation as a way of working towards being more active through positive thinking while making progress towards travelling in a way that makes sense relative to your condition.

One thing to consider is taking some time to recognize your stressors. A stressor is anything that causes a disruption in the body’s homeostasis. Stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, or environmental. (3) Many of these things are around you all the time, even while you’re at home. It could be poor nutrition, the stress of communicating with a family member, smoking, drinking or drug use. Reflecting on the stressors that are negatively affecting your life can ultimately put you on a course of recovery.

Meditation

If you’ve never tried meditation, there’s never a better time than during a staycation. Meditating even once a day for 10 to 20 minutes can help you find clarity and relaxation. (2) Take some time to gently close your eyes and clear your thoughts. While this may be difficult at first, over time meditation will become a mental quiet place you can always go to relax. (4)

Another way to appreciate your staycation at home is to find a new hobby. There are so many new and exciting things you can try while never having to leave the house. Seeking a hobby doesn’t just serve as a distraction from stressors either; A BMC Public Health study showed that practicing a hobby for two hours a week can boost your mental wellbeing. (8) Here are some low-cost hobby ideas that are good for beginners and can be done at home:

Writing

Writing can help you alleviate stress in a new, sometimes creative way. Journaling as a problem-solving tool can help you look inward and realize stressors you may not have even knew existed. Journaling even has actual benefits to your health including improving cognitive function, decreasing symptoms of asthma, and strengthening your immune system. (5)

If you’re more interested in creating than venting, fiction is a fantastic way to create situations, people, and worlds that are fascinating to you. In addition to engaging in a healthy form of escapism, you’ll also help relieve stress by having a new, productive output. Remember: you don’t need to be a professional writer for this to be effective. You’re writing for yourself, so let it flow without overthinking it!

Painting

Painting or drawing is an excellent way to interpret your emotions and clear your head. Similar to writing, benefits can also be gained by people affected by stress or anxiety by expressing their creative side and developing new artistic skills.

Individuals that participated in art therapy have felt relief by feeling they can take care of themselves by engaging in activities that benefit their own well-being. (6) Just like with writing, don’t worry about becoming the next Picasso. Paint for yourself and focus more on the process than the outcome.

Gardening

Whether you have an entire yard to work with or only a windowsill, gardening is a valuable form of stress relief with a nourishing outcome. Gardening allows you to get in touch with nature while soaking up sunlight and creating something pleasant and beneficial.

Seeds are inexpensive, so getting started is mostly a matter of a little reading and motivation. There are plenty of free resources online to help get started if you’re new to gardening or don’t have a green thumb.

Music

Recording and writing music at home has never been more accessible and affordable, with many programs, effects, and even digital instruments being completely free. It’s a rewarding project that not only helps with stress management, but also teaches you many new skills. Plus, you can devote as much or as little time per project as you like.

Conclusion

While flying across the globe may not be a plausible option for your next vacation, that doesn’t mean you can’t relax and do something of value. Whether in town, out in nature, or even the comfort of your own home, a staycation can be exactly what you need in order to alleviate the extra stress you’ve built up.

References:

  1. https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks/classes-and-programs
  2. https://medium.com/thrive-global/9-steps-to-a-mental-wellness-staycation-6bdf5aca54d0
  3. Adrenal Fatigue- The 21st Century Stress Syndrome
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/practice-basic-meditation-for-stress-management-3144789
  5. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-benefits-of-journaling-for-stress-management-3144611
  6. https://www.pinotspalette.com/woodlands/blog/pinot-state-of-mind/how-painting-relieves-stress
  7. https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/staycation-overview-and-analysis
  8. https://www.cbhs.com.au/health-well-being-blog/blog-article/2018/08/30/here’s-how-finding-a-hobby-will-improve-your-mental-health

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