I JUST GOT BACK FROM VACATION!!! No, I didn’t go anywhere and yes, I work from home running this blog, so why would “I” need to take a stay-cation? I’m writing this because I realized that many people aren’t used to working from home and may even feel bad for asking for time off to hang out at their homes, but it’s essential that you do this even if you’re working from home and even if your vacation time will be spent at home. Keep reading to find out why.
When I was younger and worked at an office temp agency, the idea of working from home seemed like such a luxury. I once again think back to watching episodes of Sex in the City where Carrie Bradshaw sat in comfortable clothes, by an open window with her coffee typing away on her little computer. This was my absolute dream. The thing they didn’t show on Sex in the City, is how easy it is to OVER WORK when you’re working from home. They never showed Carrie figuring out a shopping list because her fridge is empty, or sitting at a laundry mat waiting for her clothes to be done, or planning a media calendar for the month. Now I realize that her life is fiction and mine is (regrettably) not, but I think that’s the story we all tell ourselves about working from home. No commute, no stressing out with office drama, and you have so much more time, time which is inevitably packed with more things. Deadlines seem even harder to meet because now home and family distractions are so much closer and well, you’re working at home so why can’t you do it all? This mindset is a fast way to burn out.
1.) On Monster.com they reported that often people who work from home tend to forget to clock out. As a blogger, I work for myself, but trust me, I’m more of a taskmaster than any previous boss I’ve ever worked for. I’m doing what I love, so it’s easy to allow a job like that to just take over. Same with my husband. He LOVES what he does and in the past, he’s allowed work to take over and we had to figure out ways to balance things. Regardless if you work for yourself, or someone else, the desire to put in more work often means less work at other things like your hobbies or your family.
2.) You might not be used to working from home and that’s stressful. I have a lot of home experience for better or worse. I was homeschooled until 8th grade (which I wouldn’t recommend unless it was during a Pandemic). I had really strict parents who didn’t let me hang out with kids a lot. When I did go to school, I often enjoyed hanging out in the library rather than in the lunchroom. I’m also an introvert and really love my alone time to recharge. My husband is basically the opposite. He has a lot of friends both on and off the internet. He likes commuting because he gets to see the city, he likes how going into work and coming home breaks up his day. Once COVID happened and his office shut down in favor of telecommuting all that activity dwindled. The monotony of home life can get to him, so having structure and keeping work at work and downtime when not at work became extremely important.
3.) Your creativity can suffer. Most jobs require a certain level of creativity. Being a blogger I CONSTANTLY have to keep my eyes and ears open for topics to write about. I’m thankfully a highly creative person and can honestly be inspired by almost anything. However, once again my husband, found the lack of mental stimulation by going into work and interacting with people, even seeing new faces on the subway to really effected how creative he was.
Vacations offer a break from the monotony. Usually, you leave your job and your home behind to have fun and see new things. However, with COVID playing a roll in how much money we have and where we can go often the only option is a Stay-cation. For example, currently, in Massachusetts, we have a Travel Order that is asking that anyone who travels out of state to quarantine for 14 days. This limits any fun trips to New Hampshire to go tubing. I’m also not a fan of being trapped on planes in the best of conditions, so with all the complications of TSA, temper checks, masks, and those who don’t want to wear them, the idea of flying anywhere makes me feel exhausted. So a stay-cation is really the answer. Here’s how to make the best out of vacationing at home.
1.) Be Clear with what You want!: I love blogging. Blogging for me is not a problem. What is a problem is often how many house chores I have. So this last week, my husband took over the home and worked on relieving that. However, he also thought (as did I) that I needed time away from my blog to recharge. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. Blogging is something I really enjoy. I don’t honestly see it as work, so sitting around playing videogames got old for me really fast and that made my naturally active mind turn to worrying about stupid things. I should have been clear that I just needed more help than usual with chores.
If you have kids, this might be tricker and require more planning. Asking them to help in exchange for something fun like a movie night, or even a little extra allowance might be helpful. If they are littler it might be best to plan some things you wouldn’t usually do with them like playing something like Candyland with them, baking cookies, or exploring a new park. Not only will this give you time away from your usual routine, but it also gives you some bonding time with your kids!
2.) Plan some decadent meals for yourself!: Break out the nice dishes, Cook a lobster (cheaper if you do it yourself and HERE is a great recipe you can try!), Buy a nice bottle of wine, get out the face mask you were saving, use the fancy bath bomb, wash your sheets and make your bed, and just be extra nice to yourself. Being on a staycation doesn’t mean catching up on chores. It means having fun and enjoying yourself despite being at home.
3.) Find out what is available for you to do in your state: Massachusetts isn’t as big as Florida, but it’s fairly large and there are lots to do and see. We have tons of parks, beaches, and even a driving site seeing route called the Mohawk Trail where you go from one end of the state to the other and are entertained by exquisite views. I also love to drive down to Provincetown just to grab lunch and then drive the two hours back. Planning a fun lunch to take with you can make this into a fun one-day road trip! I believe every state has their cool side, now is the time to find out what that is!
It might seem silly to take off of work and yet not really do much, but trust me, your brain will thank you. You’ll find you’re more creative, rejuvenated, and might even sleep better! I liked to pretend that my home is an Airbnb and that helped me keep my mind in vacation mode a bit better.
If you need permission to take a vacation during this pandemic HERE IT IS! You work hard, you are doing your best, and if you feel you need a vacation then you should figure out how to make that happen even if it’s just for a day or two. If you liked this article and would like to be notified of future articles, please SIGN UP HERE. Also, be sure to check out my SHOP, I’m always adding new and fun things to it. Lastly, you don’t really need anyone’s permission to rest. Resting is a part of living and while you might finding it difficult to tell what is resting and what is working (like me) you still need to make the effort to take care of yourself especially during this difficult time. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day. -Heather Astaneh