Photograph: VisitDenmark - Daniel Overbeck
Text: Aina Masood
Summer energy brings joy but can also be draining, making you feel like you need another vacation to recover from a vacation. What if I told you that it is possible to do so?
“Staycation” refers to a vacation you take at home or near your home instead of travelling to another place. Surroundings that are familiar to you serve as a sanctuary where you recharge and emerge anew, and what better way to enjoy a staycation than to indulge in Danish summer.
Denmark comes to life in summer. It is the season that represents growth, energy, expansion, creativity and most of all, activity. In contrast to winter in Denmark, you will experience increased energy levels and hence, the urge to stay active. Summer arrives with longer days, shorter nights and a warmth that melts your heart. If I were to talk about my first summer experience as an international in Denmark, I could say that I had abundant energy and experienced an urge to be outside all the time. It is time to enjoy the summer sun, eat Danish strawberries, and take long bike rides. However, sitting at home made me feel uneasy and being on the go stole the opportunity to do house chores and focus on work. While summer is dominated by the emotion of joy, I also felt guilt, sadness and worry. I was stuck in a cycle of increased energy, urge to be active and guilt of not doing enough.
You might be wondering, how does a staycation help? Well, the answer is, it helps because it frees you from the stress of DOING and serves as a psychologically luxurious experience. It can be a day, a week or however long feels right to you. The secret is to create a space for yourself where the demands are low, and you have the freedom to do what you want. It helps you reflect on your environment, re-prioritise, revisit your goals and be more centred. It can be at your home or in a summer house, a spa resort or a hotel room.
Research shows that short staycations decrease stress levels and had a significant positive impact on health. Simply planning a vacation or a staycation has known to decrease stress and increase joy. It helps you honour your right to pause and allow you to slow down and bring stillness to your life amidst the anxiety and stress of every day. From this place of stillness, you can examine your feelings and emotions. Examining and recognising your emotions would help you be more aware of what you need from life, leading to acknowledging your emotions. This helps you in boosting your self-esteem and self-improvement. Moments of stillness provide you with clarity that helps you in moving forward with confidence.
"To begin your staycation, remember there are no rules. It is advisable to disconnect from work and, if you want, disconnect from social media."
To begin your staycation, remember there are no rules. It is advisable to disconnect from work and, if you want, disconnect from social media. Plan activities that help you be more physically engaged, bring you joy, and help you connect with your inner child. It could be spending time in nature, reading, doing a movie marathon, going for a hike, camping, reconnecting with friends and family, board games, cooking, painting, swimming, or anything that helps you enjoy your time. You can add a spa day or a dance lesson. You can become a tourist in your home city. If you are doing it with your partner or anyone else, remember that the person with you is more important than anyone else and try to engage in activities where you both have fun and get a chance to re-energise.
In conclusion, when you plan your staycation, remember that it does not have to be an expensive and luxurious journey. Instead, it focuses on bringing relaxation, happiness, and relief to your life. It also helps you to slow down, deal with burnout and build a relationship with yourself.