Top Tips for Getting Away From It All, Without Actually Getting Away

I have just booked a holiday, the kind of holiday I have never booked before… an all inclusive week long spa break. I have almost always gone away in search of something; adventure, creativity, exploration (of self and the world), romance, culture, learning… but now I know all this is available on my own doorstep I feel less of a need for a holiday and strangely, I feel like I need to need this kind of holiday!

This got me thinking and in a recent survey I did in my own head, it seems that many people reach a certain point, let’s call it a breaking point, and decide they need a holiday. The ten main reasons for going on holiday, according to the aforementioned survey, were as follows;

1) Need to get away from work/life stress

2) To relax

3) To get quality time with loved ones

4) Habit – “we always get away at this time of year.”

5) A break from the norm

6) A new experience/different culture

7) To have some fun – nightlife, a sporting event, or just an adventure.

8) To get some sun/a tan (so that you can feel happy/look healthy)

9) It’s on my bucket list – “I’ve always wanted to go there.”

10) Facebook is showing that everyone else is doing it and I need some new pics to get everyone jealous.

The funny thing about holidays is that sometimes booking them seems to add stress. For example, people often book their two week break, and then spend months telling others (before and after) that they can’t afford anything else because they have just paid for/been on their holidays (which of course must include a whole new wardrobe and toiletry stock up). There are also those that worry about their work, either before they go, desperately trying to tie up ALL lose ends (they can’t possibly delegate), or whilst away, or when they come back to hundreds of emails. This kind of thinking is what makes some believe they can’t take a break at all.

So how can you get the same results that a holiday gives you, without actually going on holiday?

Here are my top tips for getting away from it all, without actually getting away:

1) Make the most of your free time – don’t just come home on a Friday night and eat dinner in front of the TV. Plan a date night; a quick drink after work or a dinner date does not cut into your chill out time, it’s part of it!

2) Schedule in a couple of hours at the weekend or an evening in the week to do something for you. Get creative, read a book quietly in a cafe, or simply sit in a warm bath. Make sure other people are aware this is happening and it’s for you… not to get away from them, but to reconnect with yourself. Equally, schedule in quality time with loved ones – a lift to football practice or food shopping with your partner does not count!

3) Think good thoughts and you really don’t notice the rain… and share that with others, smile at strangers.

4) Have a themed night in. Mexico, Italy, France, Asia..get everyone to bring a dish using unusual fruit and veg, get dressed up, find some tunes, decorate the dining room, rent a relevant movie… bring the culture to you.

5) Once a month turn a weekend into an adventure – jump on a random bus, stick your finger on a map, make a list of places you want to go and can get to, put the ideas in a hat and pick one, or simply take a walk and get off the beaten track. The key here is to be excited about what you might discover.

6) Have a night out with the girls – slap on some fake tan and bust out the summer time tunes as you get glammed up.

7) Focus on what you have got – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, grateful people are so much happier than those always chasing something else. Write a gratitude dairy every couple of days and reflect when needed.

8) Relax – meditate, swim, do a yoga/mindfulness class, have a lay in… whatever works for you, do it… and do it often.

9) Really look at things around you in wonder – see things differently and you will find many wonders already in your world.

10) Be silly – letting your hair down isn’t just for children or when alcohol is involved. Go dance in the kitchen and sing in the street!

10 Tips For Enjoying Your Summer "Staycation"

Have you ever returned from a vacation feeling exhausted? There are benefits to traveling, but sometimes a quiet week at home is simply the more relaxing and restorative option. Many Americans are opting to save money and reduce their carbon footprint by enjoying a "staycation".

The staycation is a key piece of jargon these days. As you probably guessed, it's a hybrid of the words 'stay' and 'vacation,' which is actually what the noun describes: a vacation which involves staying where you are, or staying close to home.

It's important to choose an actual beginning and an end to your staycation. Just because you're staying at home, it's still a vacation and it's really important to get into that mindset.

Don't get stuck on the idea that you've been there, done that just because you're limited to a 100-mile radius. You likely haven't even scratched the surface, so go into this with a positive attitude.

A staycation doesn't have to feel second-best to a get-away. With a little planning, your frugal week could be everyone's favorite "trip."

10 Staycation Tips

1. Got a friend with a pool? Offer to bring burgers and hot dogs for everyone. You've supplied the food, they've supplied the pool – everyone's enjoyed the day.

2. Movie marathon – rent your favorite TV series and watch the whole season over a weekend. Serve "make it yourself" pizzas, set up a sundae bar, and have bowls of buttery popcorn within reach.

3. Be a shutter fly. Take photos of your home town from the perspective of a visitor. Go to the top of the tallest building in your town and admire the view. If you take some especially good shots, you can always enlarge and frame them for gifts.

4. Check out the local country flavor. Join in the watermelon seed spitting contest at the county fair, cheer for the local minor league baseball team, and make a splash at the community pool.

5. Camping in one's own backyard offers the sights and frights of sleeping beneath the stars, but with none of the hassles of loading up the gear and four-wheeling into the mountains. To make the experience as authentic as possible, make the house off-limits for everything but bathroom breaks.

6. Pamper yourself. If you can't afford the time or money it would cost to go on a traditional vacation, you can spend a fraction of the money at a day spa getting a heavenly massage that will leave your body relaxed and your mind clear.

7. Be a Hotel Guest. You don't have to get off an airplane to stay at a hotel. It's surprisingly relaxing and you can enjoy all the fun things that most of us don't have in our own homes: room service, brand-new little soaps, whirlpool bath tubs, pools and saunas, fun attractions in walking distance, maid service, etc.

8. Offer your home to a student in a summer exchange program.

9. Volunteer at a senior center and you're sure to meet people with fascinating stories to tell.

10. Get a season pass to the local water park, zoo, or amusement park.