Do you have vacation days you need to use but aren’t sure how to spend them with the current restrictions on travel and physical distancing?

The last thing you should do is let them pass you by, especially when it’s more important than ever to take some time to reset and relax.

To help you make the most of your vacation time this year, we’ve put together a list of 25 things to do on a staycation. Before you start checking things off the list, be mindful of the following:

Put the world on hold

The first step to true relaxation is to limit time watching the news and checking social media. Whether you watch it on TV or on your phone, it can be a source of stress, especially during a pandemic. Skip the news for a week and take a break from all of the pandemic plans and updates, politicians and other related postings.

Make sure you put an out-of-office message on your work email—communicate that you will not be checking email until you return from vacation. Then, exit your email and do not check it again until you are back to work.

Set a budget

You aren’t paying for airfare or a week’s worth of lodging and meals out, so you can get creative with spending on a staycation. Figure out how much you can spend beyond your everyday budget, then relax and enjoy yourself within those limits. Remember, one of the biggest benefits of any vacation is having free time without rules and work obligations!

Send your brain to the beach

Shut the door to your home office or cover your work station with a blanket or sheet to avoid the temptation to check your email. Catch up on errands, chores and grocery shopping before your staycation so you don’t end up doing them during your time off.  

25 ways to spend your staycation

  1. Create a vacation playlist and play it while relaxing outside on your deck, patio or balcony, or in a nearby park.
  2. Make eggs for dinner or eat dessert for lunch. Wear pajamas all day (if you aren’t doing this already).
  3. Camp out in the living room or backyard. Pack your food in a cooler, grab some flashlights and tell ghost stories all night!
  4. Stay up late. Sleep in late.
  5. Plan to have dinner delivered every night as something exciting and different. Explore the cultural food experiences in your city or town and support local restaurants. Or, if you enjoy cooking—go to the grocery store and splurge on ingredients you wouldn’t normally indulge in.
  6. Learn a new cocktail or mocktail recipe and take turns with your family or friends at being the bartender (or virtual bartender).
  7. Take advantage of the online classes and resources that are available—fitness or dance classes; art demonstrations; ballet, comedy and theatre shows; cooking classes; and “how to” videos.
  8. Play a different board game each day. Each day have a different person pick a board game for the entire family to play. There are also plenty of virtual games you can play with your family and friends.
  9. Have your own Master Chef or Chopped competition at home. Just follow rules from your favorite cooking show and try to beat out the competition. Have family members choose different food ingredients that you must include in your meal.
  10. Volunteer and give back. Doing so helps remind us all of how much we have, so it’s a great way to spend a little bit of your time off.
  11. Donate blood. Canadian Blood Services is taking all precautions necessary to ensure people can still give blood safely. Learn more here.
  12. Plan a film festival. Watch the last three (or more) Oscar Best Picture winners, all nine Star Wars movies or the entire Harry Potter series. Pick movie themes or actors and watch movies that fit your category.
  13. Have a themed dinner: dress up like the characters from your favorite TV show or movie, pretend you live in the 80’s, dress like each other or just dress like you are going to a fancy gala.
  14. Throw a virtual party with your friends. Order from the same restaurant, have dinner delivered and connect virtually with each other over dinner using WebEx, Skype, Zoom, Facetime or another platform.
  15. Visit zoos, aquariums and museums virtually. Many have animal cameras and tours set up for you to watch throughout the day. Take turns trying to name all of the animals or artifacts that you see.
  16. Declare a water-game day. Buy or borrow a kiddie pool, unravel the hose, turn on the sprinkler and commandeer as many spray bottles, buckets, water balloons and water pistols as possible. Declare a compulsory all-day uniform of swimsuits and bare feet (and, of course, waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher).
  17. Have each family member takes turns choosing an activity for the day. This may be as simple as a board game or a bike ride. Say “yes” to your kids’ ideas whenever possible, even to your teenager who wants to spend the afternoon alone in his or her room.
  18. Plan absolutely nothing at least one day and see where the day takes you. Sit on your patio, go for a walk or bike ride or take a nap. When a creative idea for something fun to do on your vacation at home strikes, do it right away.
  19. Visit a far-away place at home. Pick a country you really want to visit—or a country you have never thought of visiting—and spend the day learning about it. Cook a traditional meal and play a game native to that culture.
  20. Turn your bathroom into an aromatherapy spa. Pick up some essential oils, turn on your Alberta Blue Cross® diffuser and enjoy a long, warm bath.
  21. Grab a beach towel and lay out in your backyard. Read, listen to music, meditate or just take in the sounds of your neighborhood.
  22. Learn more about something you enjoy or how to do something new. Play chess, grow orchids, rock climb, taste wine, learn to speak Spanish or cook Korean food—there is no limit to these options.
  23. Organize, organize, organize. Marie Kondo your home—”Tidy Your Space, Transform Your Life”. 
  24. Declutter. Walk around your home with a critical eye to figure out why certain spaces aren’t working. Remove the things that are causing a disjointed feeling. That may be getting rid of a weird rug, competing art or just general clutter and mess. 
  25. Is there a home renovation project you have been putting off? Now is the time to take that on.

Get creative. This is still a vacation even if you’re at home, so let loose and have fun. A staycation is only as successful as the effort and planning you put into it. The only limits are your creativity, just as long as you don’t forget physical distancing!

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