How to Take a Break From Work This Summer When You Can’t Travel Far

With a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, you can tap into the vacation mindset — no plane ticket required.

Westend61/ Getty Images
Westend61/ Getty Images

The line between work and life has become more blurred than ever before, and with this new reality comes new challenges. It’s no surprise that many employees around the country say they are experiencing increased stress and exhaustion, and having trouble juggling all their responsibilities. While some companies are taking the initiative to encourage workers to take time off to recharge their batteries, there’s often a dilemma for employees: With COVID-19 cases still rising and travel restrictions in place, taking a formal vacation can be unrealistic. And yet, carving out time to reset is crucial for our focus, productivity, and well-being. The solution? Redefining how we recharge.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us how they’re recharging, even if they can’t take a traditional vacation. Which of these ideas will you try?

Take a midweek break

“I take a midweek day off: no phone, no email, and no social media. To avoid getting bored, I plan various rejuvenating activities to do each week, whether it’s cycling, reading, walking, or picking up a few meals for the weekend from local restaurants trying to stay in business.”

—Stephen P. Brown, conductor and composer, UK and USA

Explore a local nature trail

“This week, my husband and I took some days off from work for a birthday vacation. Travel is restricted right now, so we found a few local nature trails, fields, and farms that are within driving distance, as well as some restaurants that we could order takeout from. Yesterday, we went to a walking trail that leads to a beautiful waterfall and picked up a late lunch on our way home. Tomorrow, we’re visiting a daisy flower farm. During the drives, we find ourselves with more time to connect and bond. So far, it has been more grounding than our usual vacations and we plan to do more of this even after travel restrictions are lifted.”

—Amal Mehic, process engineer, Syracuse, NY

Give yourself a (mini) vacation from technology

Every few months, I take two days away from social media and most technology, and I do an intensive weekend of self-care. I embrace visualization, time in my garden, music and dancing, and enjoy special meals with my favorite foods and drinks. I also make time for extra long yoga sessions and nature walks. I live far from my family and friends, so we rely on virtual connectivity to maintain relationships. Before I take these tech-free weekends, I forewarn everyone in my inner circle that I’m taking time away. It revitalizes me completely.”

—Diana Grant, holistic well-being coach and author, Lincolnshire, England, UK

Break up your PTO

“I recently canceled the request for my August vacation thinking, ‘Well where am I going to go anyway?’ Then, I decided to check with my supervisors, and they gave me the green light to split up the week, which translates into working three-day workweeks for the summer. All of a sudden, I’m excited about August again! I’ve begun taking early morning walks in nature, and I’m planning to do longer hikes over some beautiful long weekends. Add to that some pleasure reading along with some creative cooking, and I call that battery-recharging success.”

—Deb Rosman, author and speaker, Madison, WI

Try an at-home spa day

“My mom and I have a DIY spa day. We heat up the neck warmers in the microwave, give ourselves manicures (full hand soak included), and even do our own pedicures. We laugh about fun times on the various trips we’ve taken together over the last many years. It’s been our way to bond and recharge while at home.”

—Donna Peters, executive coach and podcast host, The Me-Suite, Atlanta, GA

Pick up a new hobby

“As an introvert, I need time alone to recharge and relax. For me, learning something new is a form of relaxation. I’ve started learning tai chi recently, which is also called meditation in motion. Learning the different forms feels like riding a hoverboard — the process of learning how to ride it while having fun helps me relax and get into a vacation mindset.”

—Mecyll Gaspary, writer and blogger, Germany

Take a “day-cation”

“To recharge from work, I take a day-cation! Since my schedule doesn’t permit a longer break, I take a day off each month, where I basically do nothing but spend time with myself, eat, drink, sleep, and simply do just what I feel like. It helps me rejuvenate mentally and physically. I schedule these day-cations in advance, and definitely recommend this strategy to all those who can’t vacation due to the pandemic.”

—Aakriti Agarwal, coach and facilitator, Hyderabad, India

How are you recharging right now without a traditional trip or vacation? Share your suggestions with us in the comments.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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