Staycation ideas if you’re staying home this summer

How do you take a vacation if you’re still not leaving home? How do you take a vacation from life at home … at home? Even if you’re grateful for health, safety, and a pleasant home, the monotony can wear on you. It’s been a stressful few months.

What do you love about vacation? It might be a change of scenery or a new adventure. Or maybe it’s the mental relief of really living in the moment or being away from all the things you usually feel the need to do. The good news is that there are ways to get a taste of these experiences at home. If you’re not leaving home yet, here are some ways to change things up anyway and refresh your mind.

Take an actual break from needing to feel productive. If you’re lucky enough to work from home, the downside is that you’re always at work (maybe while also trying to educate and entertain kids and do useful things at home). Take some time to relax. Working at home, especially with children, means struggling with divided focus and competing responsibilities. Make a conscious plan to distance yourself from all of your normal work and home responsibilities for a while.

If you’re a couple with children, schedule time for each parent to be off duty. Our brains become stressed by constant interruptions. When you’re off duty, go somewhere else with a door between yourself and the family and focus on something you enjoy, whether it’s a craft or reading or exercise. Do this all summer. And the parent with the kids—take that time to do something special with them. The change of pace will help everyone will come out of these experiences refreshed.

Find a fun new class online. Lots of classes are going online that you might not have expected, from martial arts to exercise to art to music lessons. Search up something you enjoy and go for it.

Take a taste tour of your town. Look up recommendations for top places to eat in your area and knock them out one by one with takeout.

Cook food from around the world. Choose one country at a time, look up recipes, and make a special meal. If you want to get extra creative, look for ways bring the ambience of each country into your home for the evening too.

Change the scenery at home. Rearrange the furniture and try something new. Wall hangings are an inexpensive way to make a big change, and they’re easy to switch out.

Camp in instead of out. Camp in the backyard or sleep in sleeping bags all together in the living room. Grill camp food, and if you have a place to do it safely, roast marshmallows and make some smores.

Plan a family game tournament. Punctuate the summer with something fun by planning regular game tournaments that give everyone something to look forward to. Ban devices and get out some special snacks. Plan prizes for winners to raise the anticipation level. If you’re not into games, you could make it a regular film festival instead, with a different theme each time.

If you have young children, have letter-themed days. On A day, eat apples and asparagus, learn how airplanes fly, and draw and color an aardvark. (No judging if it comes out looking like an armadillo.) On S day, slurp spaghetti and soar past the stars into outer space in a homemade rocket ship.

Enjoy a spa day—or add elements from it to your routine. Put together a kit yourself, or order a ready-made one online. If it’s in the budget (since you’re not traveling anyway), you might treat yourself to a fluffy white bathrobe and a couple of great big fluffy towels. If you enjoy a good soak, you might like a bath caddy tray.

Put yourself in the mindset of a traveler. Half of travel is about our mindset rather than any particular place. When we take a walk at home, we often zip around our familiar route, our minds on something else. When we take a walk on vacation, we look around, enjoy what we’re seeing, and absorb the sights, smells, and sounds around us. Take a different route and really look around you. Listen to the animals, really look at the plants, soak in the world around you. Add a sprinkle of adventure by walking down different streets or paths and see where you end up. (Keep your phone with GPS in your pocket just in case!)

Whether you end up staying at home or you venture out and about, make a plan to change your routine and give yourself a break this summer. We hope you find joy in unexpected places.

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