With everything from a pandemic and natural disasters to a rising cost of living, the past few years have left us feeling less than perky. So when you’re still expected to keep going, how do you stave off the signs of burnout? More baths? A morning meditation? Exercising in nature? More sleep?
All of these are great things to include in your routine, but when coupled with the relentless flurry of work emails, heavy news stories, and a lack of work/life balance, it might not be enough to give you the peace you truly need. What you need is a solo staycation…
What is a solo staycation?
A staycation, by definition, refers to holidaying in your own town or city, blending the benefits of travel with the convenience of staying local. But that doesn’t mean you can’t seek out somewhere that feels ‘new’ in your town or region, getting the circuit breaker you need to bring yourself back to life.
The main priorities of a solo staycation is that it’s relatively convenient, it’s more affordable than a big holiday, and it’s short, so you can squeeze it into a few days. And perhaps most importantly, these mini getaways pull you out of your everyday slog and help you reset your senses in a new environment. If it’s more achievable for you to hop on a plane to the nearest capital city or drive a few hours into the countryside, we’re willing to bend the rules of where you can enjoy your staycation!
What are the signs I might need one?
Whether it’s full-blown burnout or feeling a bit low, the signs of needing a break are rarely good. You might feel cranky or have a shorter fuse, you wake up dreading work, you’re less motivated, or you struggle to think clearly. And after the past few years of climate dread, Covid and lockdowns, and the instability of finances, jobs, and expenses, these experiences are more than valid. But if you’re catching them - or your loved ones or colleagues are noticing them - it’s a clear sign to treat the cause. Some other signs to look out for include poor sleep, lack of concentration, distancing yourself from friends or family, poor health and unhealthy habits, and greater stress and anxiety.
Whether it’s caused by work, a lack of balance in your life, stress at home, or pressure on yourself, burnout is very real - and very serious. But by being aware of the signs and finding ways to readjust, reset and rebuild better structures, you can hopefully save yourself from the full effects of complete burnout.
How will a solo staycation help me?
It isn’t shocking to learn that countless studies show travel improves your happiness. And while it would be fabulous if we could all Eat, Pray, Love our way out of the rut we’ve fallen into, it’s rare we can just pack up and hop on a plane to Europe. Which is where the staycation comes in - specifically, the solo staycation.
Travel offers a laundry list of benefits, including improved productivity, lower stress, better overall mental health, and an uptick in creativity. On top of the regular travel perks, solo travel allows for self-discovery and personal growth, more confidence, and a deeper sense of relaxation - which comes guilt-free, since you only have your needs to meet. You return home feeling recharged in a way group travel doesn’t always allow for, with studies even showing that solo travel can improve your happiness in the long term.
But you don’t have to go to Bali for three months or climb Mt Everest to recover from the grind of the past few years. You can get very similar benefits - and in more frequent doses - by planning short, achievable staycations.
What does a solo staycation look like?
We all recharge in our own unique ways, so what works for one person’s solo staycation may not work for others. It’s about what makes you feel revived.
Most of us, whether we know it or not, are in desperate need of restorative experiences. For deep rest and relaxation, you might plan a few days in a hotel or a weekend retreat, where meals are sorted (or easy to access), there’s a soothing view, a comfy bed, and maybe some yoga or massage included.
For others who don’t recharge by slowing down or having back-to-back spa treatments, the solo staycation might be a bit more invigorating. Think camping trip with long hikes, fireside dinners, and fresh air; a coastal stay with cliff walks, diving and swimming, or an escape to a new neighbourhood or city, where you can spend hours walking around and immersing yourself in all of the activity and energy.
To determine what works best for you, ask yourself:
- What makes me feel at peace?
- Where do I get the most mental clarity and calm?
- What makes my soul feel alive?
- How do I most like to rest and recharge?
Whatever comes to mind is what your solo staycation should focus on. There’s no ‘one size fits all.’
How do I plan my solo staycation?
We’re so glad you asked! First things first - you have to pick a date. While serious burnout can take months to recover from, if you’re catching the early warning signs and taking charge of your wellbeing, then a sneaky weekend fits the bill beautifully - add a day of annual leave and you can make it a long weekend! Of course, if you’re the kind of person who takes two days just to settle into a stay, then see if you can swing a whole week away to really give yourself the rest you deserve.
To start planning, you’ll want to consider your budget for your solo escape, how many days of annual leave you’ll need, if you need to involve your family or partner in your decision, and what you want to get out of your trip.
If it’s a wellness retreat you’re looking for…
…We’ve got some suggestions that come rated & approved by The Natural Bedding Company crew.
On the east coast, Bombah Point Eco Cottages is a 4.5-star retreat for the eco-conscious traveller. This lush destination is right beside Myall Lakes National Park, an 1-hour north of Newcastle and 2.5 hours north of Sydney. Here, you’ll sleep in sustainable, luxury accommodation with the bush, lakes and beaches on your doorstep.
Your days aren’t pre-planned, however with activities like kayaking, beach walks, nearby towns to explore, and the option to order food hampers and book massage services, you’ll have plenty of ways to nourish your wellbeing. Communal facilities also give you the space to meet fellow travellers in the lounge or games room, while the self-catering approach invites guests to collect daily fresh eggs from the chooks and pick herbs and seasonal produce from the Bombah organic gardens.
Other locations include Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreats, found in the beautiful Tallebudgera Valley in Queensland. This retreat combines luxuries like spa, movement and relaxation, with delicious organic cuisine and wellness seminars in a low tech environment. Fully inclusive packages range from two to seven days in length, giving you the chance to disconnect from the rest of the world, and find more connection with yourself.
For a wellness retreat just outside of Sydney that feels like it’s worlds away, Billabong Retreats is another favourite. Only 45 minutes from the CBD, yet fully immersed in Australian bushland, programs are planned around themes like living with ease, stress relief, rejuvenation and wellness, and self-care. Activities range from yoga and meditation, to informative workshops, spa sessions, and delicious wholefood meals.
How to get the most out of your staycation
If you’re going to all the trouble of carving out time for yourself, you want to make the most of it. It’s not about putting pressure on yourself to fill every hour of your time, but rather to be deliberate with your choices. If you want to have a long nap each afternoon or have your breakfast at 10am, that’s just as valid as waking up at 6am for a sunrise walk on the beach.
It’s all about intentions. Set the intention for your solo staycation before even leaving home. If it’s rest and relaxation, then turn off your alarms and notifications, book a massage on your arrival, bring the book you’ve wanted to read for months, along with your comfiest loungewear.
If you’re going to an all-inclusive retreat, then check out the schedule, factor in free time to be by yourself, and prioritise the activities that mean the most to you. You don’t have to do it all!
And if your staycation is more of an adventure than a ‘flop and drop’, be sure to prep your essentials. If you’re going off-the-grid, do you have food, water and supplies? For big city adventures, research the sights you most want to see - and consider bringing an old school map so you can spend some time off your phone.
And while these staycations are something you embark on alone, if you recharge by seeing old friends for dinner or taking your best friend on a long walk in nature, then we encourage weaving these moments of social connection into your stay. Just be sure to save some time for you - and don’t forget your intentions!
Staycation your way back to wellness
We all struggle with periods of stress, illness, and overwhelm, but rather than suffering in silence, it’s important to notice the signs of burnout before they become bigger problems. Practice pencilling yourself into your calendar, which for most of us starts with a night off work, time with good friends, morning rituals or quiet time alone.
But if you feel these symptoms creeping in more often, remember it’s ok - in fact, it’s encouraged - to prioritise yourself and plan longer periods that are just for you. It might be every few months or it might be once a year, however you plan your solo staycation, do everything you can to enjoy it!