Repeat after me: Everyday life can be paradise if I let it.
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“I need a vacation, but how does one even begin to take vacation in a two bedroom apartment in NJ?” It’s a question I asked myself months into the isolating global pandemic lock down. Ideally, I would be traveling out of country to my beloved Trinidad and Tobago to visit family, but since the rest of the world refuses to welcome us, I find myself stuck here trying to get creative. (Unfortunately, getting creative doesn’t involve ditching Jersey for remote work and virtual schooling in Barbados like many others taking advantage of the situation.) So here I stand, in my beautiful yet cramped apartment trying to make the best of it.
Rather than focusing on everything I can’t do in my small home, I decided to instead focus on everything I shouldn’t do. (Yes, I know how strange that sounds.) Enter the 10 commandments of a perfect staycation. You ever notice that every good vacation includes some very similar elements and boundaries regardless of where you are? For example, every vacation always prohibits mediocre cooking, the best drinks, lots of photo opps and little discussion of the stresses of life. Well, I’m sure without guidelines I am likely to do the opposite. If I’m still in my home, I’ll be apt to treat it just like every other day and still find myself stressing about demands of life and the things I should be doing. Having the 10 commandments of a perfect staycation in a small home will certainly ensure “time in” will be the best possible escape anyone can imagine. Here’s to Staycation 2020 Quarantine edition…
Here they are…
Commandment 1: Thou shall start with a clean home
Ok, so no one wants to spend a vacation time cleaning. That’s why it’s imperative you do this BEFORE you start your staycation. And honestly, no matter how much you may hate tidying up there’s something so satisfying and freeing about a home where everything is in its place. Plus, a clear home almost always equates to a clear mind. And a clear mind is necessary for a perfect staycation. So do yourself a favor and do some cleaning and organization before it even starts. Might be a good reason to finally hire a professional organizer or invest in a closet organization system like this one with over 4,000 positive reviews on Amazon.
Commandment 2: Thou shall nap without guilt
Am I the only one who feels guilty taking naps even when a nap is needed and deserved? For that reason, I am the queen of power naps. I’m talking naps for only 10 to 30 minutes. But on a vacation, we don’t power nap so of course that means we must nap freely during the perfect staycation too. Don’t worry about all the things you could be doing; just nap peacefully. If you really want to go all out, try taking a nap without setting an alarm. I know that would be tame for most, but for me that would be ultimate risk taking.
Commadnment 3: Thou shall ignore all emails
I know your phone is probably right next to you and your email notification is going off, but I beg you to ignore them when on vacation; especially if they are work related emails. Emails can be a huge mental drain and an even bigger time suck. Sometimes answering just one email is enough to send you down the rabbit hole. Being home and having access to your email does not mean everyone should have access to you. Set your away message for the duration of your staycation. And if for some reason you do get tempted to check emails, be prepared with an escape plan.
Commandment 4: Thou shall not cook anything
Cooking every meal of the day for multiple people is a lot of work. You can’t just cook the food, you must come up with the meal plan, make the grocery list, go to the grocery store, put the groceries away, make the food and clean the kitchen. It’s so tiring day end and day out. So on staycation, I suggest you ditch the spatula and treat yourself to some other food when possible. Order out when you can or if you’re still apprehensive about buying food during a pandemic, you prep food for the week ahead so you barely have to lift a finger during staycation.
Commandment 5: Thou shall avoid the most instagramable anything –
Unless you think you’ll really enjoy it. The goal during any staycation or vacation is to have a good time, not only LOOK like you’re having a good time. I don’t care what all those influencers say about their perfectly coordinated photo op of some location. Sometimes, that’s all it is – a photo opp. Appearances aren’t always what they seem. Something what looks totally fun, instagramable and sure to earn you a ton of likes, may not be enjoyable at all. The whole purpose of a staycation is to unwind, escape the norm for a while and have some fun. It’s not a popularity contest or chance to update your feed. So unless, it’s something you think you’ll truly enjoy, avoid all those blog posts and online features boasting the “most instagramable” anything. That’s not what we’re after on this perfect staycation of ours.
Commandment 6: Thou shall be willing to explore what thou already knows.
Part of what makes vacations so enjoyable is the ability to explore the unknown and do something different. But when you’re on staycation, you already know everything… especially if you literally have no plans to leave your home. So instead, you have to get creative and explore what you already know but from a different angle. If you’re literally not leaving your home or small apartment, explore what you already know by re-purposing areas of the home. Instead of always eating on the kitchen table, why not build a massive fort in the living room and commit to always eat lunch in there. Or instead of consistently reading a book in bed, you can switch it up and read a book on the patio. Take the opportunity to explore different parts of your home and break your routine as much as possible.
Commandment 7: Thou shall go with the flow
The natural thing to do for so many people is to set a daily schedule or even time blocking. However, for your staycation I urge you to do the opposite. Ditch the schedule and just go where ever the day may lead.
Commandment 8: Thou shall not even think about work or the stressors of life.
If it stresses you out, don’t think about it during vacation. That means no discussions about upcoming work projects or arguing with health insurance about claims. If it can wait, just don’t. And if you’re someone who feels guilty just “ignoring” something you know needs to get done, put it in your calendar now for the following week. That allows you to feel more in control and not like you are turning your back on something important.
Commandment 9: Thou shall eat, drink and sleep like a queen/king.
If there’s ever a time you feel like royalty, it’s during vacation. I know during day-to-day life, sometimes you’d rather not be noticed or make a big fuss over things. But this staycation is your vacation so I say do it big. Break out the fluffiest duvet cover for the bed and insist on waking up to the best views your bedroom has to offer. Make the best cocktails you can find and put them in the most ornate chalice-like glass you can find. (These copper coated wine goblets are gorgeous and definitely royal like!)
Commandment 10: Thou shall treat and make home feel like an oasis.
Sometimes the best part of a vacation isn’t the locale or fun things to do it all; it’s the amazing hotel. While my two-bedroom home doesn’t come close to hotel standards, I’ve found ways to bring that oasis feeling of a hotel to me. Sometimes all you need are a few simple touches to make your home feel like the AirBnB of your dreams. Use the fluffy towels in the bathroom. Utilize, the hotel triangle fold with the toilet paper. Or get a nice succulent and lavender plant and place it on your table by the window for a nice tranquil breakfast with a view.
Did I miss anything? What are your rules for an enjoyable staycation?
TERRIfic Quip: Remember to build a life you don’t need escaping from.