at home!

In October when I realized I was burning out I knew I had to make some changes overall. A Facebook memory also reminded me that it had been a year since my last vacation. How did I allow this to happen?

We were scheduled to get on a plane and visit some friends at the end of March. This was obviously cancelled as they tried to come home and we had to deal with the daily changing consequences of COVID19.

Usually, we take a vacation again over the summer. Usually a week in July and a week in August to enjoy the weather and our pool. We cancelled these too. With our reduced staff due to COVID layoffs, we felt we needed to be more present in our businesses. We also convinced ourselves that working from home gave us the flexibility that we didn’t normally have and it would be ok.

The vacation we thought we would take in the fall (after March was cancelled) we realized wouldn’t happen by late September when restrictions didn’t ease up and cases started to rise again. Then before I know it, it’s October and I’m not doing so well.

My husband and I decided to take a staycation. We selected 11 days in November. We “booked” the same amount of time off we would if we were travelling (Friday to a Monday). We talked about going to stay in an Airbnb for a few nights but by early November we realized that more restrictions and lockdowns just made it hard. The decision was to just stay at home.

When we travel, we know we will work for a couple of hours each day. This is just where our businesses are at. We were prepared for that with our staycation. I will admit, that in previous years when we have staycationed at home, we have not done it well. Therefore, I was nervous but I knew we had to try.

I’m writing this on the last day of our staycation… if we had gone away, today would be a travel day. We would arrive home later today and prepared ourselves for a few days of catching up and adjusting back to “normal” life. However, today is not a travel day. In fact, my husband is at a client’s site helping with a systems move. I’m working and likely have some unscheduled appointments. And last night we sent my husband’s 92-year-old grandmother to the hospital in an ambulance. Due to the lockdown, we couldn’t go with her, nor can we visit. So we have our phones off silent waiting for updates. If you could read into the results of our last day of vacation, you will see, we didn’t do the staycation well. Here is what I learned:

  • Transitions are important. There was no transition to vacation. In fact, by working from home over the last number of months, when I woke up on the first Friday, there was no signal to my mind that anything had changed. Not sitting in my office felt awkward, foreign and I ended up wandering around lost for three days.
  • We don’t treat staycations the same. If we were away, we would not have been home to attend some appointments. Appointments we kept because we were home. Turns out these change the way your vacation day flows. For example, I sat through a landlord-tenant board hearing and I drove to our mailboxes to pick up business mail, I arranged curbside pickup for holiday gifts etc. I would have moved or made different arrangements had I been away.
  • Household duties are still there. You also cannot escape your household chores. I did laundry, dishes, cleaning etc.
  • Some of what I need a break from I can’t escape right now. I can’t escape COVID and because of COVID I can’t get someone to house sit and help monitor the 92-year-old in our care.
  • When you on a staycation, those around you treat the vacation differently than if you were away. Because we are all home, there is less understanding that you are on “vacation”. This is true from both the world around us and our staff. We are home, so there is a belief that we are still available. I think this has a lot to do with our mindset.
  • The office is too easy to get to. With working from home, we found it hard, especially Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to walk away. I updated my website, did presentations and even finished year-end. All while on “vacation”.
  • Transitions are important part 2. There was no transition back to life. When I woke this morning, the trigger was my husband leaving bright and early for the client. It was my trigger that we were back to reality. Without it, I’m not sure I would be sitting in front of my computer already.

I have the awareness that we need breaks. I have the awareness that I need to change more than just planning a vacation. I have the awareness that I have to work on keeping my batteries changes on an ongoing basis. I also understand that we need longer periods of rest, like a staycation. My role: figure out how to make the staycation work. I have my learnings from this one. I can improve on some of them. Others I’ll have to learn to live with. It starts with me. I have to ask myself… what would you have done if you were away? I then have to train everyone else to treat my staycation as a vacation but it starts with me. I have to understand what I need and want from the staycation and then find ways to make it happen.

I will be preparing my high-level plan for 2021 very soon. On that plan, I’m going to plan for 4 week long staycations. I read about an entrepreneur who took one week long “reading week” each quarter. I week to get caught up on reading, personal development and rest. That is my intent for my 4 staycations in 2021. The goal is to keep my batteries full so that when we get back to travel in 2022 I’m off for an adventure, not to recharge. Maybe a safari? or a trip to Europe? I want to learn to recharge at home so I can play around the world. Maybe this is part of my COVID learnings. Looks like it’s been a hard lesson and one I’m still learning and refining.

Looking forward to my next staycation…

Do you staycation? Does it work for you? Do you have any awesome words of advice for this workaholic?

“Sometimes a break from your routine is the very thing you need”