If you're like most of us, you've been diagnosed with the early stages of "vacation deficiency:' We're so task oriented, we lose site of our basic restorative needs to grab that necessary vacation "me-time." We dream of stealing away a few days, or weeks, so we can be catered to in the South of "Somewhere;' or to quietly explore hidden corners of our awe-inspiring planet.
The psychology of what makes a vacation so curing, starts well before the actual excursion. It's the process of planning, leading to the feeling of anticipation and excitement that feeds that great expectation of that future perfect soul-healing escape. It's a series of needed gates we must pass that are ultimately responsible for creating that final "vacation high" rapture.
Some psychologists will argue that we oftentimes derive more pleasure planning our trips than actually experiencing them. Yet, not being conscious of that can cause us to miss out on the joy, and say to ourselves "I will be happy WHEN I'm on vacation!" But why can't we spend more of our life being happy NOW? Why do we restrict ourselves to only a few carved-out yearly sessions to simply feed and replenish our soul? Why can't every non-workday become a true vacation experience for us? The answer is, it CAN and should be!
Great! Nice. HOW? The answer is right under your feet. If you know the secrets, you can transform your home into your favorite vacation destination and eliminate the constant "homesickness syndrome" and "midvacation crisis" feelings. You don't have to negotiate timeshare travel dates, make another life-pact with your credit card, or feel like you're on the stock market floor committing to the final travel package to enjoy the benefits most seek from an "away" vacation.
When my family couldn't afford to enroll me in the camping adventures I craved, I stumbled on the joys of YardCationing which eventually led to me StayCationing 2.0. I set up my Boy Scout issued pup-tent under the apricot tree, ran an extension cord to my little TV, loaded up the tent with my favorite cookies and unrolled my new sleeping bag. And BAM, at a young age, I found I simply could be in nirvana, while at HOME, sleeping under the heavens!
The Jewish culture discovered this long before I did. They follow an ancient tradition for their StayCation that they refer to as "Sukkah. " The meaning is much deeper than one can explain here, but my simplified, non-religious explanation is, it's a time in which they set up their own tent or shelter, just outside their home, on their property, to rejoice, eat, sleep and appreciate the fragility of life, and the magnificence we can look forward to.
This buzzword StayCation is new, but not the concept. It dates back centuries as we see in other cultures. We've simply lost the art of vacationing at home as modern transportation options became accessible with a few swipes on our phone and a credit card number. After much ado, and a 1 o n g intro, we are going to reveal the Seven Secrets to the Ultimate StayCation 2.0! (Ascending applause here)
1. The Joy of Planning
According to a 2010 study published in 'Applied Research in Quality of Life', planning and anticipating, your trip can make you happier than actually taking it. And if the planning starts at home for your StayCation 2.0, we can guarantee an end to missed flights and unexpected hotel charges on your planned excursions!
Take joy in the "planning" and jot down the things you love doing on your "away" vacation, but never find time to do at home. We're attracted to clutter-free resort environments, so plan your spring-cleaning to be ready for your summer home vacation. We like to set up physical heath goals for our vacations, which is simply a deadline. Do the same at home! Take time to shop for your new seasonal wardrobe. All this comes through the joy of "planning" and is available to everyone, everyday!
2. The Joy of Connection & Disconnection
While hotels and resorts may seem like a great place to find new connections, our hearts desire consistency and something deeper and more sustainable. At times, I often feel "lost" while traveling, which makes sense as the transient nature of vacation consumes our sense of belonging. We all thirst for connection, and for many it's a need second to water. The twist of this is, we think we have to leave our own space to feel, "connected" again as we often, unconsciously neglect our most valued relationships at home, leaving in search of new connections.
Try disconnecting literally and figuratively by unplugging the Wi-Fi router at home during your StayCation 2.0. Then focus on reconnecting and nourishing your relationships and get lost in the "Joy of Connection."
3. The Joy of Being Catered To
A key ingredient in making a vacation so desirable is the pleasure we experience when being catered to. Someone to pull your sheets tight and to replace those wet towels carelessly dropped on the floor earlier, while you're out being served local cuisine. Hotels and resorts have this indulgence figured out. They hire staff for every moment you're there, to cater and indulge your every whim, at every corner. Guess what, you too can call your "Clam Squad" and have them come to your home anytime you choose, and for much less than it costs for an overnight stay and spa package at your favorite resort!
Live like a king or queen at home and hire a private chef, a masseuse and a daily cleaning service. And, go for the big one; invite a private Sommelier to do a wine tasting for you and your loved ones at home! Staffing your personal space with a few professionals experienced in the fine art of private residential catering will ensure your home is transformed into the perfect StayCation 2.0 destination!
4. The Joy of a Sleep Retreat and Meditation
As humans we require adequate rest and relaxation. It's how we recharge and stay healthy. Yet, while we are at home we are often overwhelmed from the pressure of a long "to-do" list! Many of us are guilt-ridden at home for simply sneaking in some sacred naptime, yet while we are away, we boast to others how much we slept in. Allow yourself the luxury of restorative sleep! In anticipation of this, don't forget to make sure your bedding is conducive to extended hours of slumber and update your linens with quality, high-thread count, white sheets and thick sumptuous comforters. Set aside some quiet time each day for stress-relieving meditation, or just simple daydreaming for your next StayCation 2.0.
5. The Joy of Resort Living
One of the most luxurious aspects of vacationing is the uplifting feeling we get from the ambiance of the resort. It envelops us on a sensual level; from the soft music in the lobby, soothing our over stimulated minds, to the scent of fresh flowers and dreamy twinkly lights strung from the trees. When preparing your home for your ultimate StayCation 2.0, take a cue from the interior designers and architects who have spent countless hours creating these "sensory pleasure" spaces. Invest in Bluetooth speakers to fill your home with "soul-nurturing' music, and hang small white globe lights in your backyard. Scatter a few French imported candles throughout your home in soothing natural fragrances, such as eucalyptus or tuberose. And, always remember to keep fresh flowers strategically placed throughout your home in a single palette for maximum "resort" like impact!
6. The Joy of Excellent Food
Vacations, more often than not, are a time we give ourselves a free pass to indulge in our favorite foods. Think of how pampered you will feel if you bring in a private chef to prepare exquisite meals you wouldn't normally prepare for lack of time. Stock the refrigerator with loads of colorful farm-fresh, exotic fruits and seasonal vegetables. Scatter large beautiful ceramic bowls throughout your home filled with papayas, mangoes and your favorite summer fruits. Treat yourself to leisurely brunches al fresco of avocado toast and eggs Florentine served with freshly squeezed orange juice while wearing your most glamorous pajamas and robe at home. Enjoy specialty cheeses and a charcuterie board while lazily taking in the sunset before supper.
It's often considered a luxury upgrade to have a full kitchen in your resort suite. You have one right at home, so plan to use it, thoughtfully, with the intention of providing gastronomic pleasure on a daily basis while luxuriating in your own five star private StayCation 2.0 residence!
7.The Joy of Exploring your Own City
You can't underestimate the value in traveling to new countries and experiencing other cultures, but what if you could find this at anytime in your own hometown! We take our own local culture and scenery for granted, and it's not until we have a guest coming to visit our great city, do we see the beauty through new eyes.
You can find culture in every city. Try walking and be a tourist in your own city. Clear the day and hop on a public transportation and take the third random exit. Find a subway if you have one and head toward your city's cultural center. We often try to learn new languages when traveling abroad to enrich our experience. Pick a local language that you've always wanted to learn and set a goal to become conversationally fluent in it. "Hello, may I have a coffee, please" is my favorite sentence I always try to master.
While modern traditional vacations are simply brilliant, they are not available to everyone, and usually not as often as we need, so take better care of yourself and use these simple steps to take control of your own vacation
life and cure the "vacation deficiency" syndrome for good!