How to Plan a Staycation in Your Own Backyard

By Amanda Wowk

May 19, 2020

Have you been counting the weeks since you’ve had a real day off? You’re not alone. With so much uncertainty, it might feel strange to ask for time off right now—especially with nowhere to go. But spending all your time surviving, with little time for thriving, will inevitably lead to burnout. You need a break. And even if you’re not taking a beach vacation, you should still take your vacation days. 

While a staycation might not have been on your 2020 radar, getting in vacation mode at home can reap some serious mental health benefits. And seeing as May is Mental Health Awareness Month—and we’ve been sprinting through life since, well, all this began—there’s truly never been a better time to plan a staycation. 

Not sure where to start with planning a staycation? Here are some ideas.

Camp in your backyard—or living room

Don’t let your tent spend another minute collecting dust. In the comfort of your own backyard, plan a night of outdoorsy fun. Pitch the tent. Build a campfire. Roast marshmallows. Stargaze. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make backyard camping your Memorial Day Weekend tradition. 

But I live in a fifth floor walk-up, you say. Noted. Here’s where you get creative and pitch said tent right in your living room (or kitchen, or space next to your bed). Cue up the Night Sky app, turn on a campfire via YouTube, and sip cocktails from your Yeti mug. Best of all? No mosquitoes.

Order from your favorite restaurant 

It goes without saying that your favorite local restaurant would love to help you up your staycation ante with a gourmet meal. Plus, who doesn’t need a night off from cooking? Order delivery or pick up your order curbside. Either way, your dinner plans are sorted and you’ve supported a local business in the process. 

Plan an outdoor adventure 

Hiking, biking, kayaking—the list goes on. No matter what mode of exercise you choose, get outside and leave the screens behind. Explore a part of your neighborhood you never even knew existed. Doing so will help improve your mood, release endorphins, and break a sweat—a boost for your mind and your body.

Read the books you’ve been meaning to

Whether your Goodreads app is overloaded with “Want to Read” books or your bookshelf is moaning under the weight of your to-be-read pile, a staycation presents the perfect time to indulge in your second favorite form of escapism: reading. Looking for a tale to satisfy your burgeoning wanderlust? We rounded up 15 books with stories from around the world. 

Tip: If you can’t get to a bookstore right now, you can order online from Bookshop and still support your local indie.

Take an online class that aligns with your vacation self

Your vacation self—you remember him or her, right? Carefree. Adventurous. Spontaneous. Zen. You can be that self during your staycation, too. Just close your eyes and think of what circumstances get you there. Is it a wine tasting overlooking a picturesque vineyard? Or, a cooking class with your partner, one that explores a new or favorite cuisine? Maybe it’s a sunrise yoga class on the beach?

Whatever your flavor, there’s a virtual experience to spice up your staycation. Here are a few online class ideas to get you started:

Schedule a “spa” day

Speaking of zen, what staycation is complete without a spa day? The key is to plan ahead for the self-care essentials you’ll need. We’re thinking face masks (the moisturizing kind), bubble bath, a deep-conditioning hair mask, a fluffy robe—you get the idea. Work your way through your subscription box miniatures or order the essentials from your favorite online beauty retailer. All that’s left to do is don your robe and slippers, pop a little bubbly, and treat yo’self.

Master the art of doing nothing

Of course, the last thing you need is a vacation from your staycation. So, if none of the above activities—make that, any activities—suit you, then do just that: nothing. Your staycation, your rules. Sounds kind of perfect, actually. 

So today—no, right now—pick a day to take completely off. Submit your PTO request and mark it on your calendar; do whatever’s needed to make it official. There’s no time like the present to prioritize self-care and your mental health.  Your post-staycation self will thank you for it.