Living and working through COVID-19 has been strange to say the least and as an essential worker, the last few months have been brutal. Most people are still staying home for the most part, but you still go into work every day with uncertainties and stress.
As a healthcare professional, you probably haven’t had a chance to relax while all of this has been going on. Whether you're a nurse or respiratory therapist on the front lines or an occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist adapting to teletherapy, you are probably long overdue for a break. But how can you take a proper vacation when so many options are either unavailable or simply unsafe?
Most people today will say their work-life balance is out of commission. However, re-establishing that balance is important. Aside from the obvious benefits of relaxation and unwinding, vacations are also good for your health. According to multiple studies, people who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.
While going on a tropical vacation or a long road trip sounds great, it probably isn’t in the cards right now. So, what are some alternatives? It’s time to use some of that stockpiled vacation time and enjoy a well deserved staycation. We’ve put together a few ideas to get you started.
Bring the Vacations to You
If you are an avid traveler, then these are difficult times for you for a multitude of reasons. It may be frustrating to not head out and explore new cities and meet new people. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t visit places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.
Many people are turning to virtual travel now. Some of the most impressive national parks and exotic locations are available for a virtual tour. Without leaving your living room, you can visit the Louvre in Paris, or see what the beluga whales are up to at the Georgia Aquarium.
Museums theaters, zoos and aquariums all over the world are offering some sort of virtual tour/interaction. Whether your interest is personal fascination, or looking for educational activities for you little ones, this is a perfect opportunity to “get out” without leaving the couch. Travel and Leisure put together a list of 100 things to do from home. There’s bound to be something entertaining for you there.
If you are the kind of person that unwinds best at a spa, then try and replicate that environment at home. Roll up some fresh bath towels, lock the bathroom door and retreat into your scented candles and essential oils. Run a hot bubble bath, pour yourself a glass of good wine and grab the book you’ve been putting off.
Or, pick out your favorite nail polish colors and teach yourself how to give the perfect manicure and pedicure. If you mess up, start again with a new color or alternate. The process is about making you feel happy and relaxed. If you aren’t into polish colors, try a detoxifying facial or exfoliating body scrub. Pamper yourself.
This one is perfect for the whole family (or not). Make your favorite movie treat, be it popcorn or nachos or something sweet. Rearrange the furniture a little so it feels like a new setting. Get all the pillows or blankets you could possible want and take turns picking the entertainment.
If you can, make it a big event. Set up a projector and sheet in the backyard and relax outside on these hot summer nights. It will feel like you went out on a “date” even if it was only to your backyard.
Speaking of backyard, if you like to camp, now may be the perfect time. Pack up your camping gear and head out to the great outdoors! Not all campgrounds are open, but the one out your back door is. If there’s not a campground available nearby, pull the comforters off the bed and pitch your tent right outside. Either way, a night sleeping under the stars without TV may be the perfect way to unwind.
If you aren’t very outdoorsy, or simply live in a climate that isn’t fun to be outside at night (hot, humid, and bugs) then set up the tent in the living room. Turn off all the lights and play a nature track on your phone. Build a “fort” with your kids to really elevate the experience. Tell stories for entertainment and disengage from the hustle and bustle of regular life.
Take a Break
While the world continues to react to our ever changing new normal, don’t forget about your mental health and wellness during this time. If you can’t take a week or two off, you can at least entertain one of these suggestions for your next day off.
You deserve a break, and a chance to recharge your batteries. It’s in the best interest of of public health that you are at your best. So, take some well deserved time and enjoy a perfect staycation.