What would you normally do on a day off? Go to the movies? Travel? Hit some stores? Just because you can't do any of that with state-wide closures doesn’t mean you can’t take a vacation day nonetheless. Because you’re stressed, you’re anxious, you’re working your ass off—in fact, if there ever were a time to take a day, it's now. The tricky part is that it's not immediately clear how. Ultimately you know you'll just hold court in your living room and not work, but there are ways to make the day even more enjoyable. Here’s how to go about it.
Put your vacation responder email on
People! This is essential! A successful quarantine vacation is predicated on meaningful boundaries, and there’s no bigger boundary setter than a message in writing that says “I am unavailable to get back to you right now.” Sure, it may feel a little silly to alert your inbox of your home “vacation plans,” but it’ll direct people to leave you alone. The same goes for Slack, or any other messaging platform your coworkers use to hit you up.
Set the mood
This really depends on the kind of vacation vibe you’re going for, but whether you’re a yoga retreat kind of person, a beach bum, or a regular degular schmegular club hopper, a good drink is always on the table. Make yourself a green smoothie if you’re health-conscious, or pour a pretty cocktail to set the mood (depending on where you live, you can get your favorites delivered to your door). And then turn on some tunes. For relaxing, let-your-hair-down music, click on Erykah Badu and Jill Scott’s “verzuz” playlist. For something slightly more upbeat, Insecure’s Spotify playlist is equipped with all the songs that are played on the show, and if you want to go full on happy-go-lucky, click Spotify’s Serotonin playlist for steady beats that just feel good. Alternatively, work in a playlist that’ll transport you to a different setting all together. A few suggestions: Boozy Brunch, New York City Sounds, and the aptly-named Beach Sounds. As you’re listening to that…
Toss on a beauty treatment that requires minimal effort
On an ideal vacation, someone would be doing these treatments to you. So unless you’re quarantining with a boyfriend who is down to administer a full body scrub, you’re going to have to treat [sigh] yourself—better make it something easy to do. If you’ve got a bathtub, fill that sucker up, burn some candles, and turn off all of the lights. Pour in your bath recipe of choice—some magnesium salt, a frothy body wash, maybe a little oil—and step right in. If you’re not really a bath person, you could also give yourself a little foot soak by dunking your toes in a clean bucket or wastebasket. For a hair treatment, throw on a hair mask, wrap your head in Saran wrap, and wash it out the next morning for soft, bouncy strands. And as far as face treatments go, consider the overnight mask in the [gasp] day. You know it’s just a pumped up moisturizer, right?
A good slow-cooked meal comes with a two-fold reward. The obvious is that in the end, you get to eat something delicious—but the stewing alone! That’s a treat in itself. Filling your home with the earthy, spicy scent of slow cooked beans, or pulled chicken, or chili, or beef stew…it’s like how Thanksgiving smells all day, minus the dry turkey. To be ultra lazy about it (and you should, because again, this is your vacation), grab as many pre-chopped veggies from your grocery store as you can—this is no time to be precious about whether or not you did the chopping. Toss ‘em in a Dutch oven, along with some chicken or vegetable stock and dried spices, and move along to your next activity of the day. In about an hour you’ll be smelling something way more enticing than a fancy candle.
…about something you want to learn about. You know how rich people travel to Italy or Japan or some other far corner of the world just to take a cooking class? Traveling Spoon gives you that experience virtually. They’ll connect you with a cooking host, who will walk you through an authentic home-cooked meal of your choice. Of course you don’t have to stick with cooking. Want to get better with selfies photography? Take a free class online with Nikon. Honestly, there are online classes now for virtually anything you can think of. All the schools are doing them, Hogwarts included.
Maybe you’re more invested in vegging out on the sofa—we got you. If you haven’t already, grab a few friends and pool your money into several streaming services—no sense in paying separately for something you all can enjoy. And then choose a series with bingeable episodes. If you’re a fan of Black Mirror and don’t have the patience to wait for new episodes post-pandemic, give Counterpart a try on Amazon Video. Over on CBS All Access is The Good Fight, otherwise known as the most under-the-radar best show on TV right now, and Disney+ has The Maldorian, which is cute and fun (baby Yoda!). If you’ve seen every single Real Housewives episode ~twice~, try out an import from our neighbors in the north. The Real Housewives of Vancouver apparently includes a spa visit replete with diamond and whale sperm facials? Oh, those wacky Canadians! You can also stream select episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show for several hours of mixed emotions (you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love), or give Weeds a try on Netflix. It’s that summer feeling, in a TV show. Bonus: download a few episodes at home and then go to a park and watch them on a soft blanket. Bring some snacks and it’s practically a cinematic experience.
Listen to an audiobook
If you’re having a hard time getting into Normal People on Hulu because of the casting, try the audiobook instead. The angsty drama is still there, the confusing mental gymnastics you have to go through to reconcile the character with the actor is not. And since the book is short and sweet, you can probably get through all of it in a day.
Buy yourself something nice
It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be for you. There’s so much going on right now that at times, it can feel impossible to hold tight to any measly scrap of joy. Ultimately that joy, as corny as it sounds, comes from inside—no one “thing” or object could ever serve as a cure-all. But if there’s something within your budget that you’ve been holding out on because you felt guilty or silly about the idea of the purchase, please take this as a pass to get it. Get that bottle of nail polish, buy that olive oil dispenser you mentally logged as a nice-to-have but not a necessity. You deserve it.
Is this not the ultimate vacation? Stay in your bed all day. Scroll Instagram. Text your friends. You’re on vacation, baby.
Photo via ITG
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