You know one thing I’ve seen several colleagues do throughout the years that makes no damn sense? Give up their vacation days! So, most of you in Corporate are probably familiar with the term “use it or lose it” as it relates to Paid Time Off. This essentially means that you are required to carry a balance of no more than x hours of PTO at any given time. Thus, if you have more that the allotted amount, you will end up forfeiting those hours.
You may as well be returning a portion of your paycheck to the company. How crazy is that? Why?!
I know a few close African friends who feel guilty and undeserving when they take time off, perpetually waiting for “the best time when things calm down at work”. Let me tell you what I tell them. There is never a perfect time. Trust me, the building will not burn down if you take a few days for yourself. And if waiting for the best time means giving those days back…not worth it.
I value every single day of PTO just as much as I value my pay check.
While I enjoy travel, I have actually come to appreciate and prefer the beauty of a well-planned staycation.
For one, you save some coins and you spend way less time prepping and stressing as you would planning a vacation.
3 weeks ago, I took 5 days off and staycationed, coming back feeling more recharged and reset than I have ever felt on any vacation. Here is how I spent my time:
One of the main reasons I chose to staycation instead of travel somewhere was the desire to reset. I spend 10-14 hours days at work, either staring at a computer screen, in long conference calls and dealing with coworkers who, God bless ‘em, get on my nerves quite often. My commute is approximately 3 hours a day, half of which is spent sitting in SoCal traffic. My healthy living routine had begun to ping-pong between 2 stages: the Sunday night mental resolve to do better in the upcoming week (i.e. meal prep, workout, meditate, etc) and the comatose-induced neglect of all things healthy that descends by Wednesday. I had to do something different. Basically if you sound an awful lot like the woman in this post, it may be time for a staycation.
I spent the first two days at home doing a green juice cleanse, getting to use my juicer that had been gathering dust in my
appliance graveyard kitchen cabinets. I reconnected with my love for whole foods, eating healthier portions and drinking at least a gallon of water a day. I was able to work out daily, varying my exercise from running to weights, Zumba and even squeezing in massages.
In addition to getting a better grip on my physical wellness, I was able to spend some time with me, to do what I call my “self-development homework”. Instead of a rushed ten-ish minutes of speed meditation, I was able to sit for hours with nothing to do but breathe and live. Ah did it feel good!
Most of us Corporate professionals dream of doing something different from what we are doing today. Whether it’s moving up the corporate ladder, switching job or careers, or starting our own businesses, we need time and mental clarity to execute our vision. Sometimes, with a busy work schedule, it can be difficult to prioritize implementing our plans. During my staycation, I was able to clean out the mental clutter and decipher what my next steps would be to bring my visions to life. I set a time-bound, action plan and start checking things off the list. I made phone calls to offices that I ordinarily would have no time to call since their office hours coincided with my busiest work hours. Staycating definitely provides the space, mental clarity and time to nurture our dreams till they come alive.
Every busy person with a love of books knows how tough it is to consistently include reading into one’s routine. While most times, I make do with audiobooks while driving, nothing beats sitting with an actual book on the beach and hearing the pages turn.
I Ran Errands
So how about I’d been driving around needing a car wash for about 6 months?! Yea, the sight of the bird poop on my back window was really starting to get to me. With the fast-paced nature of my current job, super long commute and tired evenings, my weekends seem to vanish before my eyes. By Friday, I would make a list (I am the queen of lists btw) of all my tasks for the weekend with every intention of checking them off by Sunday night. However, come the following Friday, I would find myself re-writing items from the previous list onto a fresh list, until I was eventually drowning in lists. Each unchecked box taunting me endlessly!
My staycation offered a respite from my crazy schedule, allowing me to catch up on…well… stuff. Washing my car, doing my taxes, making my DIY hair mixes, cleaning nooks and crannies, visiting my doctor, were all items I was finally able to accomplish.
I Enjoyed Bonding Time
If you know me, you know I am big on quality time with family and friends. I am not talking about the half-assed phone conversations where we are barely listening to the other person because we are just using them to escape our lives. I am talking about deep, meaningful, heart-felt conversations or interactions that leave us knowing each other better. Interactions that last long enough to break the initial barrier of small talk before the real, deep-seated issues ae comfortably shared.
How many of us still have these? We are often so busy with life, we barely have time for ourselves, talk less of others.
This staycation was the perfect time to check-in with my peeps and see how everyone was really doing.
Obviously, I am still a huge fan of actual travel vacations and love discovering new destinations. But I plan to continue my staycation practice as a means to recharge my batteries, while still staying productive. Here’s to heading back to work on 100%!
Are you a big fan of staycations or do you replenish through travel? Please comment and share.