After my last couple of posts about putting the Daily Vacation mindset into practice (Putting It Into Practice) and using your guestroom for your own time "away" (Local Destination: The Guest Room), I wanted to let you know how my mini home vacation went this past weekend. Originally, my plans were to have Friday evening free - with the help of my husband - and spend the night in the guestroom as a guest in my own home. The plan expanded slightly in some ways and changed a bit in others in the end.
I decided to count all day Friday as a vacation day and set up my week so that when Friday rolled around, I wouldn't have anything that I had to do around the house or errands to run. I still had my ten month old daughter with me the whole day, so my plans also took her needs into consideration. We started the day with a trip to the nearby Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. I used a coupon to get a bagel and cream cheese for only $1 with the purchase of a hot beverage (since part of the mini-vacation plan was to keep things as cheap as possible while still having fun). I was able to read a magazine I had brought along and linger over my breakfast while my daughter played with straw wrappers and napkins.
We then stopped at the grocery store to pick up some items for my lunch. I find making a meal from fresh food a wonderful indulgence and wanted to include the experience in my vacation. Plus, by stopping at the store and purchasing strawberries and roast beef to eat at home, I saved money by not getting takeout. After my daughter had some play time and her lunch, I was able to put her down for a nap and enjoy my lunch. I tried to make this vacation day lunch different and more enjoyable than my usual lunches that I have everyday. I made up the plate in a pretty arrangement on a tray and took the whole thing into our sunroom to eat there with a good book I had been saving for that day. The addition of the sea salt pita chips and using real mayonnaise on my sandwich instead of our usual reduced fat really made it a perfect meal.
My criteria for the afternoon activity on my vacation day was something that was free, local, indoors, and would entertain my daughter slightly more than myself. I wound up taking her to the local ice arena where we watched a pickup game of ice hockey for over an hour and had a great time. My daughter was fascinated by the entire thing, and I've always enjoyed watching sports at any level ( Local Destination: The Bleachers ), and seeing ice hockey played in person was a brand new experience for me.
I headed home and enjoyed leftover Chinese takeout for dinner with my husband, and then he took my daughter for the evening, so I could do whatever I chose. Once again my criteria had to go along the lines of being local and relatively inexpensive. In the end, my time out consisted of getting a haircut and blowdry and doing some shopping with giftcards I hadn't had a chance to use yet.
At this point, the plan had been to enjoy a leisurely bath in the guest bathroom and watch a movie and spend the night in the guest room, but then the evening turn an unexpected turn (best laid plans of mice and men, and all that). My body reminded me that I'm getting quite pregnant with a wave of heartburn, and I no longer had any wish to do anything novel that night and only wanted to sleep in my own bed. So I watched a movie with my husband and slept in my regular bed and postponed the other half of my vacation until the next night after my daughter went to bed.
Saturday night I was able to enjoy my bath and the originally intended movie. Then I spent the night as a guest in my own home very comfortably in our guestroom and continued the relaxation into the next morning by taking my time getting ready for the day and lingering over a breakfast that I had once again arranged very nicely on a tray for myself. My evening away had transformed into a min-vacation day and a separate mini-vacation night, but both were enjoyed very much.
After planning and then taking a scheduled mini-vacation, I wound up with some take away thoughts for anyone planning the same experience. Don't plan so much that you find yourself running all over the place because you're trying to squeeze everything you enjoy into a few free hours. A big chunk of my Friday was spent at home in my regular surroundings, but I was free to enjoy them as a guest rather than a usual resident. I also did not beat myself up when my plans were interfered with. Make sure you plan what you can and roll with what actually happens. Even on real vacations, you often have to change plans unexpectedly.
Also, remember that you don't have to spend a lot of money to relax. A mini-vacation day doesn't have to translate to an expensive spa day. Think of what makes you feel relaxed (good food, getting out of the house, uninterrupted reading time) and incorporate the basics into your mini-vacation. And finally, don't unpack your mindset fully once you "get back" from your vacation. I plan on taking the extra minute to make my meals more balanced and visually appealing, since I discovered this weekend how such a simple action can make a regular activity so much more enjoyable. I also have intentions of being a spectator at the ice arena again. I have to say that I really had a great time this weekend and having now done it myself, I strongly encourage you to plan your own time "away".
*As a quick addition to all of this, I really have to thank my husband for giving me so much personal time this past weekend. A lot of my vacation was made possible only because he stepped in and allowed it to happen. I also need to thank my daughter for being the kind of kid that I can peacefully take out in public and for being a very sound and long sleeper when it comes to naps and bedtime.*