The unexpected cold spell gripping the country has us itching for palm trees and sunshine in warmer locales. Fortunately, Spring Break season is quickly approaching — and it shouldn’t just be for college students to enjoy. Vacations are scientifically proven to have physical and mental health benefits; improving cognitive performance, lowering the risk of heart disease, boosting mood, and reducing depression. 

The good news is that you don’t have to actually go somewhere to get the benefits of going on vacation or to have a great Spring Break. Staycations are an increasingly popular type of trip that’s much easier for the modern lifestyle to accommodate while still providing a sense of novelty that delights and relaxes.

What’s a “Staycation”?

A staycation is a portmanteau combining the words “stay” and “vacation”. It’s when a person stays locals but behaves like they would on a proper trip — taking off work, eating out at restaurants they’ve been curious to try, playing tourist and visiting local landmarks, or lounging around all day and indulging in some serious pampering. 

There aren’t hard-and-fast rules about how far you can go from home and still call it a staycation. Some people consider it to mean literally staying in their home; others might stay in a hotel. It can refer to hanging out locally in neighborhoods you’re already well-acquainted with or perhaps exploring a new city that’s a short drive away. 

All that really matters is finding ways to escape from your everyday routine without the need for extensive travel. Getting the benefits of a vacation while staying local is about recreating the sense of newness and discovery that comes with traveling away from home, which stimulates the brain to be more creative, less stressed, and happier overall. 

Tips for planning a successful staycation

  • Set clear boundaries. Treat your staycation as you would a traditional vacation by setting clear boundaries with work and other responsibilities. Communicate your time off to colleagues and make sure to disconnect from work-related activities. 
  • Create a relaxing environment. Transform your home into a sanctuary by decluttering, adding calming elements like candles or plants, and creating a cozy space for relaxation.
  • Prioritize self-care. Focus on self-care activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul that you usually don’t have time to indulge in during your regular day-to-day. 
  • Create an itinerary. Most people go on vacation with at least one thing in mind they want to do or experience. Treat your staycation the same way and give yourself something to look forward to. 

Staycation Spring Break Ideas 2024

Spring Break dates can vary, but they typically occur between late February and early April. If you’re vacationing locally, it might still be pretty chilly so hitting the water might be out of the question. There are 4 things everyone can do as part of their spring break staycation.

1. Order room service

If you’re staying at a hotel for your local vacation, ordering room service can make your staycation feel much more decadent. It can be pricey, but with all the money you’re saving on airfare, cabs, and babysitters, you deserve to treat yourself to something extra special. 

2. Have a spa day

Kick your self-care up a notch by indulging in professional spa services. They’re designed to maximize relaxation and are probably much more tranquil than your home, especially if you don’t live by yourself or share walls with neighbors. 

3. Take a mini road trip

If it’s a sense of adventure you’re looking for, a mini road trip can be just the ticket. You can create a loop of nearby destinations, looking at attractions and staying in hotels along the way, or you can treat your home as a home base and venture out for quick day trips. Challenge yourself to find the favorite spots of locals or quirky establishments that make this new locale unique.  

4. Hop on a sightseeing tour

When in doubt, play tourist in your own city and treat your city as if you were experiencing it for the first time. As part of a sightseeing tour, not only can you view all the features that make your city special, but you’ll probably learn a thing or two about its history that you probably didn’t already know. The best part? You’ll leave the tour with a renewed sense of wonder for your own backyard that’ll make you feel good about where you already live. 

Taking care of your mental health shouldn’t be an every-once-in-a-while sort of endeavor.  Find a mental health provider today and make self-care part of your everyday routine.