In the midst of the novel COVID-19 virus, every American is encouraged to stay home, avoid non-essential travel, and maintain a distance of at least six feet away from others. Under these circumstances, a vacation is out of reach, but a staycation is just an attitude adjustment away! Even while focusing on being productive, you can focus on self-care, mix up your routine, find ways to take time for yourself and take pleasure in your surroundings. With these simple steps, you can have a staycation that proves to be a highlight of these challenging times; or you can incorporate these ideas into your everyday life to inject daily moments of relaxation into stressful times.
1.) Pamper Yourself With a Fabulous Bath
First, let everyone know you're taking a bath. Nothing's as big of a bath time buzzkill as an aspiring bathroom burglar. Next, set the stage. Adjust the ambiance with scented candles, or get your aromatherapy machine running. You may also need some entertainment--music, a laptop playing Netflix, reading material, etc. What's most important, though, is what goes into the bath with you. Add a cup of bath salts to your bathtub brew. Try Epsom Salts--we love Dr. Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Therapeutic Soak too.
Next, add bubbles. Sure, you can use Mr. Bubble, but making a bubble bath is super easy. All it takes is one cup of baby oil, half a cup of honey, half a cup of hand soap or shampoo, and one tablespoon of a fragrant essential oil or extract if desired. Pour your bubble bath slowly into rushing water to fill the tub with bubs.
Then it's time to luxuriate your olfactory sense. Add at least ten drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender is calming, while rose and geranium are delightfully floral. You can also use bath oil, which has the benefit of balancing out hot water's dehydrating effects. In general, you want your bath products to be hydrating.
You'll want to lay back on a bath pillow. If you don't have a specialty headrest, luckily, you can improvise. Some terry cloth towels rolled up will work just fine. Ease into the water, and relax. While you luxuriate, consider a face mask or body scrub. And when you're stepping out to dry off, don't forget the moisturizer to replenish any moisture lost during the bath.
2.) Brush Up On Your Bartending Skills
Pull your dusty cocktail kit out of your kitchen cabinet and experiment with creating new cocktail recipes or replicating the classics. The most refined, sophisticated cocktails only have two to three ingredients. A Negroni is just Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin; a basic martini is just gin and dry vermouth. Although, you can always challenge yourself with a more complicated recipe, or by making your own bitters and simple syrup. All of these ingredients are things you can pick up at your local supermarket and liquor store. With a masterful old fashioned or sazerac in your hand, you’ll really impress your friends during your video chats (which are a quarantine life-saver)!
You can also use your staycation as an opportunity to perfect your own take on classic recipes. A mimosa may just be champagne and orange juice, but what’s the right ratio for you? Same thing with a bellini! It may just be white peach puree with a splash of raspberry or cherry juice, but how much of each? And how much Prosecco or Cava?! Then there’s the bloody mary; a true challenge for any mixologist. You could dedicate months to perfecting the bloody mary!
3.) Soak Up Some Staycation Sun
Just because it's a staycation doesn't mean you shouldn't be getting any Vitamin D. So, throw on your bathing suit and head to your backyard, porch, roof, or pool. Grab a plush towel and pillow to give yourself a luxe treatment. Grab a drink, wear a nice hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, and don’t forget the sunscreen to keep your skin safe.
As reported by Healthline, sunshine on your skin kick starts the process of Vitamin D absorption. Sunshine is crucial for bone and cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of weight gain and several forms of cancer. It also keeps seasonal depression at bay and improves sleep.
You can also bring your favorite tunes outside with you. A portable speaker like the JBL Flip 5, which is also waterproof, is indispensable for the quarantine and your staycation.
4.) Nap like a pro
If you're sleep-deprived, want to relax, feel a sudden onset of fatigue, or are working through something emotionally demanding, a nap is just what the doctor ordered. In fact, the doctors at the world-famous Mayo Clinic have some orders for your nap. Try to take it before 3pm so as not to disrupt your sleep and keep it 10 to 20 minutes long to avoid grogginess.
The keys to a good nap include:
- Tapping into familiarity. Put on clothes that you're comfortable sleeping in and go to the place where you usually sleep (your bed).
- Avoid using technology in your bed. Your body should recognize your bed as a destination for sleep only.
- Make sure the temperature is ideal and put your phone on do not disturb mode.
- Also, make sure to isolate yourself from noise. Earplugs or a sound machine can help, but if you have neither don't forget that there are apps for your phone. Most streaming music services and even Youtube can provide you with soothing sounds.
- Also, if you're having trouble relaxing, just focus on your breathing and put some mindfulness tricks to use.
5.) Find Some Zen
A staycation is a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness or try out meditation. Simply observe your thoughts/feelings as you experience them and allow them to pass without engagement. Studies show that if you label your feelings as you experience them, they decrease in severity, which makes it easier just to watch your feelings go by.
Choose a space that feels good, like maybe the area where you caught some Zzzs or sunshine. Make your space comfortable, with a pillow or blanket. Then, choose a position that you're comfortable in and be present with yourself. Apps like Calm or Headspace, which have been offering free additional support during the current pandemic, can aid you with your meditation, as can a meditation podcast.
As Healthline puts it, there's no one proper posture for meditation:
- You can sit in a chair on a cushion or with a cushion supporting your back.
- You can lay on your back.
- You can kneel on a bench or pillow.
- You can sit cross-legged.
The most important thing is keeping a straight spine and keeping the rest of you (jaw, shoulders, face, etc.) as relaxed as possible. If you find yourself being overly critical or having thoughts you didn't mean to engage, don't be so hard on yourself. It’s an ongoing practice! And one of the tenets of mindfulness and meditation is that you’re fine just the way you are! The challenge is in accepting that as true.
6). Treat Yourself
Want to indulge your sweet tooth without getting too involved? Some of these recipes don't require milk, butter, or eggs, and some take as little as two minutes in the microwave to prepare. Of course, everything's better with a scoop of ice cream on top, and maybe some caramel or fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry.
- Vanilla Crazy Cake: No milk, eggs, or butter required. 8 ingredients. 35 minutes in the oven.
- Chocolate Cookies: No milk, eggs, or butter required. 7 ingredients. 11 minutes in the oven.
- Chocolate Mug Cake: Only 3 ingredients: one ripe banana, cocoa powder, and one egg. 1 - 2 minutes in the microwave.
- Two-Ingredient Banana Pancake: Just eggs and bananas. It can be cooked in the oven or frying pan. Top as desired.
- Mberry: This a dessert life-hack. The mberry is a pill made out of what's commonly known as the miracle berry or miracle fruit. It's an all-natural berry that makes sour things taste sweet. Pop an mberry and experiment with lemons, limes, pickles, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, mustard, stinky cheese, and anything else you may have around the house.
Taking time to just be without any expectation of doing anything else is a true vacation. Resist the urge to check things off some bucket list or use your time to be "productive." Relax, indulge, practice self-care, sip your cocktail, and slide deeper into your bubble bath. This is your staycation.