As the founder of a global wellness retreat program, I've always considered mastering the art of vacation my specialty. But you know what I crave after months on the road, despite the exotic locales, the lively conversations, and the deep connections? Home.
For those of you who travel as much as I do, whether for work or for pleasure, or for those of you who don't have the time or money to escape from home for right now, how about a staycation?
A staycation can be a welcome retreat—the perfect time to catch up on sleep, start a new book, or try your hand at a new hobby.
Here are a few tips for temporarily curtailing your wanderlust and transforming any ordinary weekend into a wellness retreat worth remembering:
1. Consciously set aside the weekend.
Choose the dates and mark them on your calendar as you would any other vacation. Stick to them, just as you would if you had bought airline tickets or made hotel reservations.
2. Have a goal in mind.
Are you looking to rest and recharge, tap into your creativity, reconnect with yourself, master the art of doing nothing, or catch up with friends? Or are you going to give living completely unscheduled for a few days a try? It’s important to know exactly what it is you're looking to achieve so that external forces like friends, family, or co-workers don't deter you from your goals.
3. Mindfully make a plan...or mindfully plan NOT to have a plan.
Plan for your staycation like you would your vacation, from the things you want to see and do to the spa appointment and restaurants. By making a plan, you reduce the possibility of getting thrown off course and becoming distracted. But be sure to leave some room for spontaneity in your plan. Just as on any holiday, it’s always a good idea to remain open to what comes your way—perhaps it’s an invitation, an enriching conversation, or a unique discovery.
4. Fill your days with things that you love.
It is your holiday, after all. And the beauty of a staycation is that, unlike a vacation you might take with someone else, these few days are yours and yours alone. Do you love yoga? Find an immersion class or a workshop you can attend. Is cooking something you want to learn more about? Enroll in a cooking class. Are you a season behind on Game of Thrones? Now is your chance to catch up. Is your idea of bliss lying in bed all day catching up on NYT Style Sections or writing in your journal? Then do it! One of the beauties of going on vacation is leaving your day-to-day routine behind, so give that a try on your staycation as well.
5. Do something you wouldn't on a typical weekend.
Perhaps that means making a reservation at a restaurant you have long been wanting to try, visiting a museum, seeing a play, or trying a new hike or fitness class. If you are craving contact, plan to meet up with friends you seldom get a chance to see. Or allow yourself to do something as simple (yet indulgent!) as sleeping in.
In need of a bit of inspiration? Here's what my next NYC staycation is going to look like. It combines my love of exploration, fitness, sleep, solo time, and catching up with friends into one blissful, restorative, and energizing weekend.
- Do yoga after work.
- Invite a few friends over for dinner. I love to cook and never get a chance to, so this is a rare indulgence for me.
- Wake up naturally, with no alarm set.
- Enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
- Take a yoga class at Laughing Lotus—they offer many different times throughout the day, so it’s perfect for my no-schedule schedule.
- Go to the Whitney Museum.
- Meet friends I have not seen in a long while for cocktails and dinner at a restaurant from my "must-try" list.
- Wake up naturally, with no alarm set.
- Enjoy a quick breakfast before heading out on a solo hike that I have long wanted to do in Manhattan. It was featured in an Indy film called Growing Up and Other Lies and covers all 13-plus miles of Manhattan, with interesting cultural stops along the way. The whole hike takes 12 hours, so today I’ll just do half of it, stopping for lunch and taking detours as I see fit along the way.
- Treat myself to a 6 p.m. massage.
- Enjoy dinner, whether I want to cook after my massage or pick something decadent up along the way.
Erica Gragg is best known as the co-creator of the acclaimed travel, fitness, and lifestyle program Escape to Shape, which combines travel and exploration around the world with nutrition, fitness, and local flavor for a truly balanced experience. As a travel and wellness expert, Erica curates each Escape to Shape trip by drawing on her vast knowledge and cultural insight to create a vacation in which minds, bodies, hearts, and souls are transformed.
A former New York PR gal, Erica left the city life behind and headed south to Tulum, Mexico, where she co-created the popular fitness program Bikini Boot Camp. In 2007, she co-authored a book by the same title, offering her advice on how to living a balanced life through meditation, fitness, and nutrition. Later, Erica was inspired to expand her vision and travel to the far corners of the world, and she conceived new fitness and travel programs, Escape to Shape and Destination Detox. The foundation of the programs is Erica’s belief in the power of traveling, not only to learn by discovering a new culture, but to rediscover oneself.