This year everything from school to sports to summer blockbusters has been either disrupted or put on indefinite hold. Even summer vacation has been affected, but that doesn't mean you can't take some intentional time off to rest and recharge with your family.

The benefits of a vacation are clear: reduced stress, improved mental health, and stronger family relationships all come from taking the time we need to rest and recharge. Vacations are even good for our work, as when we return we often have more energy, are more productive, and have more creative insights to solve problems.

Time off has never been more necessary. But in 2020 we face a unique challenge: how do we get all the benefits of a change of scenery without being able to travel? Enter the staycation – taking your time off from work at home. The phenomenon of the staycation isn’t new (the word first appeared in 2005), but this year may be when the concept reaches peak popularity.

One of the greatest stresses of traveling – the actual logistics of getting from here to there – aren’t a factor. But that doesn’t mean a staycation is easy!

Don’t forget to plan ahead

Staying at home, it can be easy to slip out of the magical mental space of vacation. Make a schedule to help avoid your daily routine, but don’t forget to include free time. It seems counter intuitive that more structure would lead to a more satisfying vacation. After all isn’t freedom the opposite of work? Not exactly. According to a 2010 report in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, 28% of people who said they had a bad vacation also said they left planning to the last minute. Plan ahead, and once you are on staycation be extra careful not to check your work email. Maybe consider hiding your computer under a sheet or in the closet!

Now that you are making your vacation schedule, what should you plan to fill your days?

photo of man and child reading a book outside

Get Lost In the Pages of Good Book

A good book offers an escape from reality, a window into someone else’s life, or a trip into a different time. Whether you like a thriller, romance, historical fiction, or any other genre, the key to the perfect summer read is nothing too heavy.

This interactive list from The New York Times Book Review has suggestions for every genre.

Looking for an age-appropriate read for kids? Take a look at these lists from the Association for Library Service to Children.

Outdoor kitchen with a woodland view at sunset.

Indulge in Local Flavors

Because they embody the character of a place, local foods are often the most memorable parts of vacation. For your staycation, consider taking a deep dive into the fruits and veggies of Minnesota. Visit a farmers market for the freshest, most local ingredients. Find a market near you with the Minnesota Grown farmers’ market directory and pick a few uncommon recipes from this list of 33 underrated summer foods.

hand reaching out to a cold glass on pink lemonade on a sunny day.

Unwind with a drink to sip (or spike)

Non-alcoholic cocktails have been on a meteoric rise, with some of the Twin Cities’ highest profile bars joining in on the trend (R.I.P. Marvel Bar). Not only can these complex and refreshing beverages be enjoyed by all ages, they come without a hangover so you can indulge to your heart’s content. Of course, if you want to add a shot of your favorite spirit, we’ll never tell. What’s not to love?

35 recipes from Bon Appétit’s Healthyish that don’t need booze to taste great

Family on the couch watching television.

Binge Watch A New Show

Approach with caution. While it can be fun to immerse yourself in your new favorite show, it’s important to strike a healthy balance with other activities – like going outside! Before you press play, make a pact with your family to only watch a certain number of episodes. When you reach that final cliffhanger, it will be hard to step away, but you won’t regret it.

24 Shows to Binge Watch, Travel + Leisure

Lounge chairs by the deep blue pool.

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Take a Nap

With the institutions we rely on closed, families have taken on more responsibilities. Yet, the number of hours in the day remain unchanged. Consider dividing your staycation between having active fun and constructive rest. Take a nap! According to the Mayo clinic, the best naps are 10 - 20 minutes long, and the best time to nap is in the early afternoon.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

As a landscaping company, we would be remiss if we didn’t encourage you to go outside on your staycation, whether that is dining al fresco in your own backyard or taking a day trip (safely) to one of Minnesota’s beautiful state parks.

38 Perfect Parks, Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine

No Matter What: Do What Brings You Joy

Who knows, maybe after this year you will get hooked on the staycation lifestyle. If that’s the case and you want to upgrade your yard to make next year even better, contact our landscape design team to start the design process.

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