If travel is not available for you, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of a holiday. For Inform, Niamh Sullivan shares some tips for how to holiday at home.

I grew up counting down the days to my annual family holiday. Every January I handmade a calendar that hung on my wall for the rest of the year. With every new Texta drawn cross, I knew I was one day closer to three weeks at a coastal caravan park. 

When the holiday finally arrived, I honestly felt like I was living the dream. I mean, what ten-year-old wouldn’t want to spend days at the beach, riding bikes with other kids and eating coco pops for breakfast?! But it turns out that the getaway did more for my family and I than just satisfy our sweet tooths. 

Holidays are as essential for us as eating veggies, brushing our teeth and moving our bodies. People need to take time off to unwind, restore and focus on themselves. Studies show that when we take time out, we have a better outlook on life. We’re more motivated to achieve our goals and it can help us manage our physical and mental health too.

With international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future and many of us unable to even leave our local neighbourhoods, a holiday probably seems about as far from reality as you can get right now. While it probably won’t be Disneyland and it definitely won’t earn you any stamps in your passport, it’s still important that we make time for a break – perhaps more so than ever. Whether it’s for a day, a weekend or an entire month, it turns out we can channel those holiday vibes without venturing too far from home.

Marie Kondo your home

Holidays are typically tied to hotels, campgrounds, hostels or Airbnb’s. The one thing these accommodation options all have in common is that they’re a blank slate. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll arrive at a fresh, clean room, free of clutter and chaos. This is not always the case at home. Life often gets in the way of things like clean benchtops, freshly ironed sheets and fluffed pillows.

Start your staycation by sprucing up your home, Marie-Kondo style. The queen of decluttering recommends starting with your wardrobe, before going through the rest of your home to find unnecessary items, furniture or things that just aren’t working. Although this might feel like work to start with, the result is a hotel-like living space.

Holiday food essentials

Just like my holidays are associated with chocolatey breakfast treats, most people have foods, cuisine or a meal that they exclusively associate with their downtime. Whether it’s a hot chip sandwich, fresh seafood or an afternoon BBQ, ensure your pantry is stocked up with everything you need to whip up your favourite goodies.

Do all the things you’d normally do on a holiday, at home

Every family has a holiday ritual. Maybe you have a no-phone day, where everyone disconnects for at least a few hours? Or is it the sleep-ins and breakfasts in bed that really make you settle into holiday mode? Or do you leave your make-up at home while on break?

Whatever it is that you associate with holidays, try the same at home. It might feel a little strange at first and will definitely get you out of your regular routine. But that’s precisely the point! My favourite holiday-at-home hack is to allocate an entire day to reading a book at the beach. Only stopping for an ice-cream lunch break!

Find somewhere new in your neighbourhood

When we’re at home, it is very easy to settle into a routine and stick to what we know. Although you probably love the local Thai restaurant that you go to every Friday night, why not approach your weekend as a tourist and experience a fresh view on your surroundings?

To help you get into the head of a tourist, you could try:

  • Finding a new cycle path, hiking trail or running track
  • Buying foods from your local deli and going for a picnic
  • Following a self-guided walking tour around the city, or better yet, creating your own
  • Taking a camera with you on your regular walk and try capture something you’ve never noticed before
  • Venturing over to the next town to spend the day at a different beach, lake, creek or national park than you usually would.

While COVID-19 has turned our world upside down for the time being, the benefits of a staycation aren’t just apparent during a pandemic. Everyday life, personal health challenges, work, family or other commitments mean we can’t always go away on an actual holiday.  So next time your dreams of sipping cocktails in New York, hiking through Fiji or visiting a museum in France are a little out of reach, remember to that you can find all of the benefits of a holiday in your very own backyard.

Niamh Sullivan is a 22-year-old ocean loving and solar powered storyteller. When she’s not chasing her latest yarn as a TV reporter, you’ll find her attempting to catch waves on her malibu, planning her next backpacking adventure or solving any life problem with coconut ice cream.
Don’t take it personally if Niamh forgets your name or stands you up in a coffee shop, two years of chemotherapy treatment and time spent in a coma means her memory is worse than a goldfish. This brain injury may mean she struggles to retain any short-term memories but it’s a good excuse to get out of washing the dishes.

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