7 Ways to Have a
Healthy Vacation Without Ever Leaving Your Home

 ‎May ‎07, 2013Go to full article

Same place, different mind-set—that’s the
challenge of a staycation. How do you exist within the same four walls, with the
same distractions—messy basement, couch and remote, computer, junk food,
phone—yet create a relaxing, healthy, away-from-it-all experience? According to
a 2009 AP-Gfk poll, one-third of Americans have already canceled a trip due to
financial concerns, and more than half have no plans to hit the road this year.
For the recession-squeezed, or the downright too-exhausted-to-travel, we tapped
the experts for advice on how a typical family of four can have an invigorating
(and inexpensive) vacation without leaving home.

Plan to check out—at least mentally
The best way to feel like you’re getting away in your own
home? Create a vacation plan—and stick with it. “Think about what your intention
is for the time off, write it down, then put it up on the fridge,” says Meredith
Haberfeld, a New York–based life and career coach. If your goal is to feel
connected to your family, set aside specific time for family-only activities,
dinners, and outings. Research shows that family rituals (like vacations) boost
parents’ and kids’ mental and physical health. But just because you’re not
getting away doesn’t mean you can’t focus on together time—it just takes a bit
more effort.

If you’re winging it, you’re setting your staycation up for
failure. “You need to have some clear goals and set up a schedule,” says Ken
Robbins, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of
Wisconsin–Madison. “Most people do a poor job because they don’t plan and then
they answer the phone, they do an errand, people stop over, and before they know
it, the week is over and they’ve done what they usually do.”

Rediscover your hometown
For a true mental getaway, explore your surroundings with a
visitor’s eye—it will keep you away from the pull of the daily grind. One great
resource is Simply plug in your location and you’ll find a
list of nearby offerings for museums, galleries, libraries, parks, and unique
businesses (think candymakers, tea producers, breweries, bakeries). City
magazines or weekend newspaper sections are another great resource for in-town
events such as outdoor concerts, movies in the park, and theater performances.
Or head to the closest college town to take advantage of some free campus
offerings, like dance performances, lectures, and more.

Create your own swanky destination
Can’t afford to get to Canyon Ranch? You can create nearly
the same healthy experience at home. “If you’ve always wanted to take a yoga,
water aerobics, or spinning class, schedule a day where everyone does a few
things at the local rec center,” says Melissa Thornton, a marriage and family
therapist in Trumbull, Conn. Many gyms and yoga studios offer a free
introductory trial or a discount for your first class, or log on to to score free passes to gyms in your area.

Try a little in-house pampering and healthy dining for the ultimate spa experience. Light
candles, put body oils and rose petals in a bath, and play some soothing music.
Try at-home facials and pedicures for a relaxing mother-daughter group activity.
And when your tummies start to rumble, gather your family and head to the
kitchen. You can try hundreds of Canyon Ranch’s healthy recipes—like Chicken
Panzella Salad or Artichoke and Tomato Flatbread—just by signing up (for free!)
at the resort’s website.