25 July 2008


I am always amazed when a new word makes into the English "dictionary" or lexicon. I mean, I remember a world before "Internet" and "iPod" and "Facebook" and "cell phones" and "BlackBerry" and yet, today EVERYONE has one or knows about it - even my 88 year old grandmother in the small, tiny town of Palatka, Florida.

Well, the new word of this summer is "stay-cation" - or when you take time off work to stay at home, instead of traveling somewhere for a vacation. With increasing fuel prices, it is becoming harder and economically infeasible for families to travel any great distance on vacation. Whether by automobile or airplane or train or whatever...with gas prices hovering near or above $4 a gallon, people have to make a choice with their vacation funds...and more and more people are choosing to stay at home. There was recently a Good Morning America spot about ideas you could implement to make it fun - picnics on the front lawn or at a local park; renting a hotel room and playing "tourist" in your hometown (added benefit: using their pool and facilities).

I'm taking a week off work next week and staying at home. Now granted, I will be getting my roof replaced - it was damaged during the tornado that hit our town in March of this year - so it won't be ALL fun and games, but I have some fun things planned as well. I took my first "stay-cation" last year and found it to be very productive and enjoyable. I made a long list of things to do - most of which actually got accomplished, believe it or not - but I also learned a lesson or two:

Time off work should be spent enjoying yourself. While you may have "projects" to do, taking time for a massage or spa day or afternoon at the movies will do wonders for the soul.

Don't make too long a list of things to do. You'll look at the list, get overwhelmed and do nothing.

Set a time limit for how much time you are going to devote to a specific project each day. If you want to go through a closet and clear it out, set a time limit. "I will work on this closet for two hours - or until noon - and then I'm done." Setting a time limit means the end is in sight at the very beginning and maybe you won't resent doing it so much.

Stay focused. If your goal is to re-do your budget - re-do the budget. Don't distract yourself with doing the laundry at the same time or clearing out the DVR queue or ... well, you get the picture. One thing at a time will get more things done.

Turn off the alarm. Your natural sleep cycle will wake you up when it is time for you to awaken. This is always hard for me because I naturally wake up at 4:00a. On vacation/stay-cations, I have to give myself permission to burrow back under the covers and go back to sleep. It usually only takes about two days for me to not feel guilty about it.

Go to a new restaurant.

Go to that tourist attraction that you only get to enjoy when company is in town and insists on visiting. You will find you will enjoy it more when you don't have to play "host".

I don't know what your plans are for summer vacation, but if you are staying close to home, I hope these hints help. Have a great weekend. I don't know (yet) if I'm vacationing from blogging, but just in case...

Be blessed.

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