Finlay Haswell, Programme Lead Physiologist at AXA PPP healthcare

Staycation ideas and benefits

How to make the most of holidaying at home

23 July 2020

  • Giving ourselves a break from the norm can do wonders for our health and wellbeing, but you don’t have to go abroad, or even leave home, to feel the benefits. What’s more, it’s cheaper, less stress (no airport queues for one) and just as gratifying.
  • A staycation can range from an afternoon off, to enjoying some much-needed pampering, to a few weeks exploring your own country.
  • Finlay Haswell, Programme Lead Physiologist at AXA PPP healthcare shares some great tips on what you can do to get the most out of your staycation and the benefits to be had. 

Whether uncertainties around travel restrictions due to COVID-19, or other reasons are hindering your best intentions to get away, you might be thinking about ditching your holiday abroad in favour of staying home instead. This doesn’t mean you should completely forget about holidaying. You still need the time to relax, reset and be truly carefree (cue the thought bubble of yourself lying on a tropical, secluded beach).

We need to take time to switch off, find some work-life balance, have time to experience new things, spend quality time with loved ones and look after our overall health and wellbeing. As ideal as that tropical paradise you’re dreaming of may seem, there are plenty of other ways closer to home to enjoy some peace and tranquillity, and you might find that the benefits of a staycation outweigh those of a holiday abroad.

Our 5 best staycation ideas

DIY music festival OR ‘Couch-chella’

Are you missing out on your favourite festival this year? No problem – bring the music festival to you. Decorate your home and/or garden in a festival theme, create your favourite playlists and decide who your headlining act is going to be. Throw on a pair of wellies, some glitter and get the whole family in the festival spirit! Get some festival favourite food and drinks in and enjoy the day or weekend just like the real deal.

What’s even better is the food and drinks will be a lot kinder on the wallet, especially if you make them yourself, and we have some fabulous recipes that fit the bill perfectly. Try our pulled pork burgerspaprika halloumi skewers and grilled garlic and chilli corn on the cob or visit our diet and nutrition hub for more al fresco favourites to suit everyone.

If you really wand to get into the festival spirit, why not pitch a tent and camp in your garden? Glastonbury eat your heart out.

Turn your home into a hotel

The thought of crispy white hotel bedding and breakfast in bed sounds dreamy. So why not bring the hotel to you? Think of the money you’d spend on a night in a hotel and why not buy new bed linen for a fraction of the cost? You’ll also get to enjoy it for a lot longer.

Source some essential oils in scents you love and buy some mini hotel toiletries. Take a long relaxing bath or slip into a robe and read a magazine in bed. Get some mini fridge style snacks and drinks and just switch off and unwind - you’re on holiday after all.

When it comes to dining, why not get your favourite takeaway delivered in the evening - this isn't a time to take to the kitchen! And for the full experience, set up a dining space as if it were a hotel restaurant, with candles and menus. 

Create your own spa experience

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a spa in the comfort of your own home by dimming the lights, lighting some candles and burning some incense. You could create different treatment rooms or zones. A waiting room, for example,where you can lounge with magazines and drink cucumber water, wear a fluffy robe, put your feet up and take in the peace and quiet. And a facial room, with all your favourite products at the ready: a face mask, a cleanser, toner and moisturiser. The bonus is you already know these products are kind to your skin so there’s no need to worry about breaking out in rashes or pimples.

If you don’t have any products you love, why not treat yourself to a few little items to really make the experience indulgent? Another idea is creating a gorgeous bubble bath with twinkling candles, a good book and your favourite beverage.

Take a break between treatments for afternoon tea (buy in from a local shop or DIY), filled with finger sandwiches, cakes, fruit and tea/coffee - whatever you want, it’s your spa day.

Be a local tourist

Many of us are lucky enough to have seen a lot of new cities and countries in our lives. We go on weekend getaways to visit Paris or Prague and if you’re anything like me, cram in as many activities and as much exploration as possible. But what about your own county, your own city, even your own town? How much of it have you really explored?

Why not become a tourist in your own ‘home’ and visit local markets, find local walking trails, excursions, new beaches, woods, parks or events? Visit museums, attractions and just immerse yourself in new things. Perhaps you haven’t climbed the largest mountain or hill near you, perhaps you’ve never taken a dip in the sea at your closest beach. Here’s your chance.

Create your own wellness retreat

Wellness retreats can be expensive, but very beneficial. So, how can we bring the wellness retreat to us? Start by deciding what sort of retreat would suit you, be it an energising fitness retreat where you explore what’s on offer in the local area or a meditative yoga retreat at home. In both instances make sure you switch off any devices, switch on your out of office and leave any work worries behind, so that you can completely get away from your everyday routine and stressors.

Plan your day, whether it’s a hike, kayaking, sailing or any other activity of choice.

Eat healthy fresh food (locally sourced if possible). Farm-to-table, vegetarian, organic cuisine tends to be the norm at exotic wellness retreats. Set aside a few days to cook healthy, nutrient-rich meals, because diet is a huge part of wellness.

If you’ve opted for a yoga or meditative style retreat, put aside time for practice, whenever feels right for you.

Benefits of holidaying at home

Everyone needs to take time to relax and recharge their batteries. Work-life balance will help avoid work-related stress and burnout. Spending quality time with the people we love, away from work is very important for good mental health.

One of the major benefits of a staycation is saving money. Without having to fork out on travel and accommodation costs, as well as other holiday essentials, you’ll be saving a fortune. A staycation can be as inexpensive as you’d like and, without travel, there’s less stress and no jet lag!

Another plus of your staycation is that it's adaptable. From a single afternoon to a whole month, the length is up to you; there are no set times for meals or activities other than those you set yourself; and you get to choose who you spend it with.

You also know what you’re getting. You can enjoy all the pleasures of holidaying whilst keeping all your home comforts. There’s no need to worry about someone looking after the dog or leaving grandma for the week, because you’ll be close (or at) home. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get planning our perfect staycations. Just remember, always make sure you’re fully switching off. Turn on the Out of Office, switch off your phone and enjoy the calm and comfort of your staycation.

Further information

Take a look at some of our earlier articles for more ideas for staycation-friendly activities that can really boost your health and wellbeing:

Self care tips
Home workouts using everyday objects
Exercising outdoors
Health benefits of walking
Why hiking is good for you
Mental health benefits of nature
Improve your mood with feel good food

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