Travel, of course, is a joy and something that I wish I could be doing constantly. Sometimes, it's not possible and sometimes, staying home can be just as good. Whether you have a spring break or a long weekend coming up, here is a road map for planning a lovely staycation.
First, the prep work.
Before your staycation officially begins, prepare as though you are going out of town. Clear your refrigerator of old food, wipe down your counter tops and appliances with a fresh smelling, nontoxic cleaner or with a blend of white vinegar and essential oils. Put away your laundry, pick up loose items, and give your linens a good wash. Plan your meals for the week (see below) and restock your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables, fun drinks, and an assortment of desserts. Assemble all of the supplies you will need for the week so that there is no need to run to the store.
Start your day with a low impact workout.
During your staycation, don't feel compelled to wake up at 5:00 am to go to the gym. Instead, wake up naturally with the sun and start your day with a low impact, relaxing workout. This could be a gentle yoga routine, a walk around the neighborhood, or a quick swim in the whichever body of water is nearest. By starting your day with a workout, you will feel more physically comfortable throughout the day and will be able to relax guilt-free.
Follow up with an hour or two of home spa treatments.
After you've cooled down from your morning workout, follow up with a warm bath and spa treatments. Start with a good soak, using an aromatic soak from Fig + Yarrow, classic eucalyptus Epsom salts, a luxe bath oil, or a foaming bubble bath. While in the bath, apply your favorite mud masque. The steam in the room will help to enhance the benefits of the mud and also prevent that dry, cracking feeling. After your bath, when the skin is soft, apply a body exfoliant from a brand like Herbivore or Clarins, then rinse with a shower. Before drying your skin, moisturize with your favorite lotion. Slip on a robe and give yourself a manicure/pedicure while you dry.
Settle into the relaxation mindset.
Start by lighting a relaxing scented candle. My favorite calming scents usually include mint, sandalwood, or chamomile. During your preparation period, shop online or even at Target for a brand new candle. Next, put on the most luxurious, comfortable pajamas you own. It's important to meet both criteria. You will find a good balance with a quality cotton t-shirt and a pair of soft, thin shorts. While comfort is key, looks matter too! I always feel so much better wearing a matching set of pink pajamas than I do in an old shirt and random shorts. Brush your hair, pull it back out of your face. Take a few minutes to meditate and focus on manifesting a relaxed mindset.
Have something nice to eat and drink.
The key to devising the perfect staycation meal plan is balancing comfort food with healthy, light dishes that won't have you feeling sick afterwards. Think of the type of food that makes you feel best. This is different for everyone but for me, it is rustic, vegetarian French dishes such as a slice of French bread with jam and Brie, crudite (haricots vert, bell peppers, cucumbers) with a yogurt dip, and a simple fruit tart. Pick a few simple things that you can make ahead of time and eat throughout the week. Gather together ingredients for a few variations of smoothies and juices. Finally, be sure to treat yourself to a dessert from your favorite bakery. If you don't know of an independent bakery nearby, the dessert sections of Fresh Market and Whole Foods are great! Keep a few good snacks on hand such as fresh cut fruit, sliced bell peppers and celery, and your favorite candy as a splurge.
A few recipe ideas:
- Chloe Coscarelli Vegan Blueberry Pancakes
- Really any recipe from Chloe's cookbooks
- Fruit smoothies and juices
- Whole Grain Strawberry Breakfast Bars
- Pomegranate, Orange, and Strawberry Salad
- Apple Cinnamon Chips
- Restore Kale Smoothie Popsicle
Spend some time with screen-free entertainment.
Rather than zoning out with the typical Netflix binge or HGTV marathon, try out screen-free entertainment for awhile. Queue up a few episodes from your favorite podcasts or try a a few new ones. For staycation, you may want to switch it up a little---perhaps let go of NPR for a bit (I know it's difficult) and try a lighthearted series such as What Should I Read Next?, Garance Dore's Pardon My French, or Style Scouting.
Spend some time with a new book or a stack of magazines. Right now, I'm reading Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series which I have found to be the most relaxing yet compelling books, perfect for a staycation. Some other great, relaxing book options are The Starboard Sea, any historical fiction by Julianne Donaldson, or a classic fairy tale. If you're looking for less of a commitment, pick up an assortment of magazines to work your way through.
Take a nap!
There aren't many things better than an afternoon nap. Once reading has tired your eyes or your podcasts lull you into a daze, let yourself sleep for awhile. Ensure that there will be enough light in the room when you wake up by opening the blinds or turning on a lamp, because waking up in the dark has the tendency to create foul moods.
Go out for an ice-cream.
After dinner, go out for ice-cream or frozen yogurt. Pick your favorite treat in town and go all out. If you'd rather stay home, make your own soda float or banana split. Enjoy outdoors, if possible.
Watch a relaxing movie or show.
When the sun goes down, pick out a movie or show to watch as you are winding down. My recommendation is to pick something light and calming. Game of Thrones is no way to end a relaxing day. For movies, I suggest The Intern, Before Sunrise, Pride & Prejudice, Begin Again, Legally Blonde, About Time, and Haute Cuisine. Some good TV options are Gilmore Girls, anything on HGTV, and The Great British Bake Off (which is basically Xanax in the form of television).
Open the windows or go outside for a cup of tea.
After dusk, take in the fresh night air with a cup of tea. If you have a balcony or a backyard, use it! If not, simply open all the windows and doors in your apartment and listen to the relaxing night sounds while you drink a cup of warm tea to wind down. A few great bedtime teas are chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm.
Get to bed early and have a restful sleep.
Before bed, slip on a pair of cozy socks and prep your skin with a night cream. Turn on a relaxing rain sound or white noise app and cover your eyes with a cute sleeping mask. Be sure to get a good night's rest and begin again in the morning.