Plan to check outat least mentally
The best way to feel like you’re getting away in your own home? Create a vacation planand 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 timeit 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 eyeit will keep you away from the pull of the daily grind. One great resource is discoveramerica.com. 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 gymticket.com 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 recipeslike Chicken Panzella Salad or Artichoke and Tomato Flatbreadjust by signing up (for free!) at the resort’s website.