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Balance work and life on a staycation


Balance work and life on a staycation

How staying close to home can help you get away

Although flying to a tropical island or a snowy ski resort are great ways to spend a vacation, a similarly relaxing destination may be right in your backyard. It’s called a staycation, and it’s a trend that is quickly becoming popular among healthcare professionals.

“There’s the myth that you have to go somewhere to be on vacation,” says Terri Levine, life coach at Comprehensive U, Inc., in North Wales, PA, who frequently works with healthcare professionals. “That’s just not true.”

A staycation—said to be coined by a Canadian comedian—has become a widely used term, as the United States saw a decline in summer and holiday travel in 2008.

Described as the time an individual or family spends at home relaxing or making day trips to area attractions rather than taking a traditional vacation, staycations are becoming increasingly popular in today’s tough economy of rising unemployment rates and cost of living. People are looking for ways to balance their work and personal life without spending a lot of money.

Sometimes, the only way to save money and still enjoy time off is to stay home and just enjoy the downtime, says Marlene Gonzalez, life coach at Life Coaching Group, LLC, in Plainfield, IL. A staycation can offer more benefits than most people realize, Levine adds.

Staycation time can be used to do some gardening, lounge by the pool, or visit local parks, festivals, and museums. Or you can use it to concentrate on yourself and your well-being. “You can go on a mental vacation,” Levine says. In doing so, you’ll find that you can replenish and renourish yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Gonzalez advises her clients to take at least one week per year to focus on that replenishment. “It’s about taking ownership for yourself and your needs. When you go away on vacation, you’re often escaping yourself and your needs,” she says.

Traveling can often cause more stress than relaxation when dealing with long lines and wait times at the airport. The ever-increasing costs of a vacation and other activities add to that stress.

Gonzalez has several clients who skip the hassles of traveling to simply focus on their personal needs. For example, one opted for music therapy and another signed up for a weeklong intensive yoga class. Others have taken courses offered at local colleges.

Taking a staycation can be a great time to simply rest and get the proper sleep many lack, Levine says. Change your routine slightly during your time off. Focus on mind, body, and spirit, she says. Go for a walk, take a long bath, or have lunch with a friend.

Levine makes an agreement with clients prohibiting them from doing anything work-related, such as checking e-mail, which can hinder a real vacation.

Plan four staycations per year, whether that means a week off from work or just a day or two, says Levine.

Develop a list of things you want to accomplish while you’re at home, such as completing projects around the house you haven’t had time for, picking up a book you’ve been wanting to read, or spending time with family or friends.

“You have to make sure these things are just as important as anything else on your to-do list,” Levine says, adding that the list should align with goals for self-improvement to help you learn more about yourself.

Planning a true staycation should involve:

  • Scheduling official start and end dates so your staycation won’t become regular downtime that can include too much time in front of the television
  • Scheduling fun daily activities that are close to home to get you out of the house


Adapted from The Doctor’s Office, April 2009, HCPro, Inc.