In face of everything that has unfolded this past year, the tragedies in the news, the rising covid stats, you might have heard people tell you to “take it day by day,” to just focus on the minutiae of your present to get you through the week, the month, the year. While this is a great coping mechanism, especially at a time when we’ve had to cancel vacations for the foreseeable future, is it really aiding in our wellbeing? The truth is, taking it day-by-day is living in a survival mode that many of us are unfamiliar with, and something it takes away from us is a detailed image of what the future looks like. What are we looking forward to when we see our days as checklists?
The truth is, we all need a
Staycation may conjure images of staying in your PJs and watching TV, but it doesn’t have to. What if we grafted the logic behind “taking it day-by-day” onto the staycation? This way, a staycation becomes a respite, something to look forward to, but also something smaller than a trip to Ibiza. As we follow municipal and federal restrictions on proximity, a staycation can be a wonderful way to bring excitement back into our lives. The world is a tough place right now, but this is exactly why the idea of a staycation can benefit our wellbeing/mental health and get us thinking positively. Here is how you can incorporate staycations into your day-to-day to restore yourself, mind, body, and soul.
The new perspective on ‘staycation’
There are undeniable positives to travelling internationally. Studies have found that spending time abroad is directly linked to our ability to think creatively, and travelling can lead to healthy ageing. In face of this evidence, it might be hard to see how a staycation can be beneficial in for your wellbeing in any way — how can a spa day at home improve our creativity?
Here is where a redefinition comes in. The global climate of 2020 has brought to light that the word “stay” can mean more than staying at home. It can mean going for hikes on sparsely-populated but nearby trails, scheduling bike rides in places you’ve never thought to visit before, having a picnic in a park on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The pandemic has us getting creative in how we make time for ourselves, in how we recharge. The brilliant part is, these are all various iterations of the staycation. New experiences in spaces outside of the four walls of our homes can lead to us feeling better and brighter.
It’s super important right now to take some time off from work. So minimize the amount of time you spend reading or watching the news per day (it’s important to remain aware of what’s going on in the world, but this doesn’t mean we have to consume the 24-hour news cycle), and research places you can go outside that will challenge you to ground yourself in the present, that will help you take it day by day in new and stunning ways.
Visualize and anticipate
Remember the feeling before a vacation? The sweet moments before falling asleep when you would weave your anticipations of the upcoming trip into the perfect adventure. Sometimes this anticipation is more exciting than the trip itself, which falls under the sway of the humdrum reality of checking into the hotel, picking up the rental car, and currency exchange. Visualizing and anticipating an upcoming trip makes us feel happy and excited, but covid has seen to it that we won’t be able to perform it as it pertains to international travel for a while. Does this also mean that we can’t be happy in this particular way for a while?
Absolutely not! Professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Leaf Van Boven says that though it can be hard to remain positive about the future sometimes (when we have our minds glued to the news, for example), we can still feel the sweet excitement of anticipation by actively crafting events and moments that we then look forward to. This takes a bit of effort on our part — we need to think about something to do that we normally don’t ( such as a picnic in a park or a hike on a trail we’ve always wanted to explore but never have), then schedule a day for the excursion, and then actively work on anticipating it. Think about how nice the sun will feel on your skin, the warmth running through your muscles as you traverse a new path, the feeling of being present in your body.
All these visualizations and anticipations with regards to a staycation that you set for yourself can help you manage your future and will have you thinking positively and mindfully. Ultimately, anticipation of a staycation will be a workout of sorts for your mind, in a good way — it will have you focusing on the good, and creating meaning for yourself in a healthy way.
Rest and recharge your batteries
The ability to allow ourselves to take some time off is a skill that, like a muscle, gets stronger the more we use it. As many of us work from home, it can get increasingly difficult to step away from our work screens, and when we do, it can be difficult to escape the feeling of guilt around the idea that if we have the time, we should be working. Millennials have the most difficulty in unplugging because of the way this generation has been brought up: 75% of millennials have a hard time stepping away from work. This inability to allow yourself to rest and recharge can lead to increased anxiety and ultimately burnout.
Before we can allow ourselves to rest and recharge, we need to understand that it’s okay to do this. There is no reason why a staycation should bring on feelings of guilt — when the time comes, you need to truly give yourself the space and time to unplug because ultimately, this will help you become a better version of yourself. It’s important to step away from work, and to look forward to this stepping away, to a staycation, because it brings on creativity, but most importantly, it allows you to recharge your batteries.
So go ahead, allow yourself to go on a staycation, and keep in mind that it can be just as exciting as travelling abroad. For more information on how you can rest and recharge meaningfully, check out Thriver’s Learn & Grow category here.