We are taking a small summer ‘vacation’. Actually, Katina and I are taking a two-week break from podcast episodes. (It’s a great time to catch up if you are behind!) As we dive into our little summer break, we want to remind you to focus on reducing your stress and taking a vacation in 2020 of your own.
2020 is a mess
We can all agree this year is awful. Hopefully everyone has had at least one bright spot but it’s mostly just been tough. This kind of non-stop ‘chaos’ in the world around us can really take a toll on mental health. If you are anything like me, you might be feeling a bit exhausted with everything and struggling with the uncertainty of it all. It’s frustrating to see coronavirus cases skyrocketing around us. It’s hard to not know what tomorrow will bring, when this crisis will be over, and when real action will be taken (for this and for all the social justice issues being discussed). And we can’t ignore that so many of us are facing unemployment or underemployment in the economic challenges the crisis has created. We all want to feel some security in our lives.
I know I’m probably repeating the obvious but hopefully it’s somewhat validating to hear someone else express similar 2020 feelings. It felt good to write it. With all that being said, how can we best cope? We wrote a rundown of some tips back at the beginning of all of this. But, what about now? Well, we are back to remind you to be easy on yourself and all that you may be feeling. Some of you may be able to or feel comfortable venturing back out into the world a bit. Some of you may not. There may be some days where you feel good about how you’ve managed your life this year. Some days you may feel like a total mess. Your feelings are valid. Try to accept them as they come and acknowledge them with a little mindfulness.
Reminder: Vacations are extended breaks from work
One way we can all take care of ourselves this summer is to not forget about vacations. Vacations in 2020 are still possible! Remember, a vacation does not mean an extravagant trip. It doesn’t even need to mean leaving your town. We are talking about taking an extended period of time away from work – more than a weekend! And, work can mean many things. Some of you may sadly be out of work right now. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to take time away from the stress of unemployment. An unemployment vacation can be an extended time away from resume writing and job applications. We all know that can be incredibly taxing and a lot of work.
We’ve talked about vacations a lot in the past – why they are important, how to be mindful on them, and how to come back to work after. We need to be taking care of ourselves. It’s summer and we are all used to taking time off during this time of year. We are used to adventures, long days, and warm summer nights. While a vacation in 2020 will probably look a lot different than what we are used to, we should try to reclaim the joy and the break from our daily lives.
A 2020 Vacation
So what can a 2020 vacation look like? Get creative! And if you need some inspiration, check out our list below. Please note that we encourage you to heed all of your country, state, and local health guidelines when planning and participating in vacation activities.
Staycations have long been considered a ‘cheaper’ way to take a break. While you can’t explore everything your city normally has to offer, there’s probably some fun stuff you can tackle in your own area. Do you have any outdoorsy spots you can visit? Hikes? Beaches? Lakes? Nature can be massively helpful for your stress. Take a week off and explore the great outdoors near you – physically distancing and with masks, of course!
You can also use a staycation more simply. Just take the time off and fill your day with whatever you need in that moment. Maybe you want to read that new book that’s been sitting patiently and waiting for you. Maybe you didn’t get to make banana bread like everyone else early in the quarantine and want to give it a try now. Do whatever your heart desires. Just leave that work computer off!
Renting a house at a nearby destination can get you a much needed change of scenery. Maybe you want time chilling by the pool. Is there a house in a town within driving distance that can give you a pool getaway? Sometimes just changing where you are staying, even if you aren’t adventuring outside of the property much, can be a nice change of pace. Bring some books to read or some other hobby you’ve been meaning to do during quarantine but has somehow escaped you.
Additionally, you can rent a house with other quarantined friends. We recently rented a beach house for my mom’s birthday. It was a great time to see my parents and sister and act like things are normal. We all took tests before going and quarantined ourselves as best as possible to limit exposure to the virus. Then, when we were together, we just lived our lives. We hugged and cooked together. We did not keep 6 feet apart. It was amazing and much needed. This may not be possible for everyone given varying health situations but if you are able to, it’s a great way to see people and minimize the risk as much as possible.
Camping may also be a nice getaway. While I’m not a camping person (I really hate bugs and love running water), camping is a great way to get a break, a change of pace, and some outdoor time. You can really disconnect from technology and work. Many national parks are open or opening up. Reserve a spot, keep your distance from others, and enjoy the time away from your normal worries!
Whatever you decide to do, the most important part is the recovery from work. Don’t turn on your work computer or leave it at home if you venture out somewhere. Fully detach and give yourself that time to recover and refresh. We need these breaks to reduce our chances of burnout. We are constantly being bombarded with new information and lots of stressful news. 2020 has been a year for the history books. But don’t let that stop you from your 2020 vacation dreams!