How To Have The Ultimate Self-Care Staycation [5 Steps + 15 Suggestions]

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This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support.

While the idea of a staycation has been around for years, the self-care staycation has become all the rage lately as of late. In fact it's one of the wellness trends I've been dying to indulge in this year and finally did a few weekends ago! You see, as a woman it can be SO easy to put myself on the back burner; and I know I'm not alone, in fact women's health issues aren't talked about enough. Historically, I've been a giver. I used to give, give, give until I felt depleted, resentful, and sick. However, over the years I've learned how to keep myself healthy, full, and in good spirits in order to truly give in a way that wasn't hurting me. Queue self-care staycations!

What the heck is a self-care staycation?

It's a vacation you take in your county, city, or home, where the goal is to rejuvenate and revitalize your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. IMO, it's a getaway that will bring you a fuller sense of wholeness (or oneness).

Why you need a self-care staycation:

Because life can become seriously overwhelming and we can lose sight of having fun and who we are. As someone who previously spent the better part of her twenties fighting off burnout, I speak from experience. Personally, I'd recommend doing it once a quarter, or at least twice a year. It's a fantastic way to boost your energy, creativity, and motivation. It's all about the permission to be selfish and indulge (in a healthy way) so you can be your best self and live your best life.

How to have the ultimate self-care staycation:

Getting started is always the hardest part, right? If you have kids, I know this can be trickier, so it's my recommendation that you either send them to a grandparents or friends house for the weekend OR build your staycation around them! In a way, self-care staycations are all about connecting with your inner child, letting go of rules, routine, and norms – so if you do have your kids around for it it's totally okay! In fact, you might be surprised what they teach you when you let go of the reigns a little! I'm going to give general steps on how to have the ultimate self-care staycation first, and then a few extra tips for parents below.

Step 1: Set a date!

This is a commitment to yourself, so just like you would schedule a vacation, get your staycation on your calendar ASAP! Otherwise, the excuses will likely start rolling in and you'll keep pushing it off.

Step 2: Make arrangements in advance for responsibilities

If your job likes to bother you on the weekend, make it clear you'll be out of touch. If you want to ditch the kids (no shame!) schedule them at a grandparents or friends (bonus: schedule a backup plan in case that one falls through!). Cancel all your mundane appointments, meetings, classes. Pay all your bills in advance. Get the grocery shopping and laundry out of the way! Truly get in the mindset that your on a secluded island with everything you could possibly want and there's no reason to lift a finger unless you want to.

Step 3: Set some loose ideas down on paper

You know those moments in life where you're like, “there's nothing to do, ugh!” Well that simply isn't true. This staycation is allll about getting you out of your comfort zone, so don't be surprised if that thought pops up! That's why we are going to *loosely* plan ahead in case that moment happens. Write down a list of activities or guidelines that you think would enhance your experience. For instance, if you typically rely on Netflix to fill your time, maybe do a “no Netflix” guideline or lock your cell phone away altogether! The idea is to get out of your routine/rut and make room for new experiences and energy.

In terms of “activities” play around with what feels right. Maybe you want to do the staycation alllll inside your house! If that's the case, jot down a few ways you can engage all of your senses in your home that'll get your pamper vibes high. If you want to do it around your city and actually see some of the sights or do some of the activities you never let yourself indulge in, make a note of those (some ideas: go to a reiki circle, get a massage, schedule a sound healing). Write it all down!

Step 4: Let gooooo

Whatever you're writing down right now is only a guideline – not a rule. It's there to help you if you feel bored or stuck, but not a set of regulations you must adhere to! Let go of any judgments or expectations of how the weekend will be and remain present. I feel like this quote from Lao Tzu is a great anchor going into a self-care staycation:

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Step 5: Have fun!

Seriously, this is all about YOU! Have some fun! Create, play and follow your intuition! If you get an overwhelming urge to go to a park and slide, do it! If the thought to “build a fort” floats through your head, go for it! There is no right or wrong way to spend your time, as long as your rejuvenating yourself! The most powerful breakthroughs I've had were doing things I felt like I “didn't have time for” because my to-do list was longer than a football field. But when I take the time to build a fort, go to the beach, watch a cartoon movie *without kids*  because it's what I want to do, I have the best experience and that investment in myself pays me back 10 fold when I show back up for my normal responsibilities.

Some suggestions for your ultimate self-care staycation:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Do a workout class because you love it – and for no other reason than that!
  • Light a candle and stretch
  • Eat healthy and nourishing foods
  • Check in and listen to your body and give it what it wants (this is an essential practice to develop! Our bodies constantly try to tell us something, here are some tips on developing this practice)
  • Make a gratitude list
  • Meditate
  • Only use positive and affirming language
  • Remain present
  • Get a massage or acupuncutre
  • Schedule a session with a healer (shaman, reiki practitioner, color energy healer, etc.)
  • Build a fort
  • Watch a movie or tv show you've been dying to see
  • Fly a kite
  • Play video games
  • Bake
  • Try cooking with these 6 spices

*the idea with these is to choose things you don't normally do that your excited about!

How to handle your self-care staycation with kids?

You can stick with all of the steps above OR you can tailor this a little more to letting your child teach you something. Seriously, kids already know mental health hacks that adults can totally benefit from! Consider sitting down with your kid and asking them what they really want to do. You can set some guidelines (like no breaking items, burning down the house, or causing any sort of permanent damage or harm). But let them take the reigns on the weekend. Maybe ask them pointed questions like, “How do you want to take care of ourselves this weekend? What can we do that you're excited about and we don't normally do?” Maybe the couch turns into a pirate ship and you have to fight Blackbeard and his crew off? Or you eat grilled cheeses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, it may be exhausting and not your ideal expectation of “self care” but when we are present for ourselves and our life, that's the true testament to self care. Plus it'll be a memory for the books!

*As always, I don't have kids yet, so that may be terrible advice, but keep an open mind!

No time for a self-care staycation (or want even more ideas to step yours up?) check out these ways to treat yo' self from my friends at Hancock Regional Hospital!


The Beginner’s Guide To Meditation: 5 Tips To Get You Started

6 Ways To Practice Self Care During Chaotic Times Of The Year

How to Cope with Anxiety In Real Life

Advice To My 18 Year Old Self

How To Respond With Love To Toxic Communication

Want more self care vibes? Grab TCM's positive self-talk worksheet!


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Originally published on 3/14/2018; Updated on 3/30/2020