Here we go again, another summer on the homestead…What can you do to make the most of the summer? How can you slow down enough to actually enjoy it? If you are on a budget, what kind of activities will satisfy the summer vibe without breaking the bank? Here’s how to enjoy your summer staycation on a budget!
Mindset is everything. The worst vacation ever can quickly become the best vacation ever if you set your mind to it. Prepare yourself with the following concepts.
- Positivity. We can’t control outside factors, but we can control our take on it. LifeHack.org puts it simply, “When something happens, you get to choose whether it’s a positive or negative situation and react accordingly.” Positivity doesn’t mean you need to pretend or skew the situation; it just means you make an effort to find the good and enjoy what you can. For example, COVID may keep us home, but it also allows us to care for our home and enjoy it fully.
- Mindful. Practicing mindfulness will redirect your focus on how you can help others and find a purpose in what you do. Sometimes we get carried away with what we want materialistically, clouding reality and numbing our pleasure sensors. When we slow down and spend time thinking about what we have and how we can help, we are in a better situation to enjoy ourselves and others.
- Creativity. Things are not always straightforward. Tap into your creative mindset to explore fun activities or ways of redesigning your home’s exterior to provide a staycation haven.
- Gratitude. The greatest of all mindsets is one solidly fixed in appreciation, especially while facing the pandemic. When you truly appreciate the roof over your head, the sun in the sky and clean drinking water…everything else is icing on the cake!
We’re not talking thousand-dollar renovations, but rather a redesign of designated areas and a few inexpensive touches that make your home a fresh haven. Audit your yard and common living areas. Make a list of your favourite family activities and move things around accordingly. Not only will the end result be enjoyable for years to come, but the process will be fulfilling and enjoyable too.
- Are you a family of board gamers? Clear a spot in the basement or family room and set up a board game area. Look for a high bar-style table with stools. If you look on your local community sale pages, you can probably find a whole set for under $100. Then find a shelf or storage piece that can home all your games at once and hang a spare whiteboard on the wall for easy scorekeeping.
- Are you an athletic family? You don’t need room for a soccer field just to keep the kids busy. Clear the yard of things you never use anymore. Spend an hour on Pinterest for great ideas on setting up the backyard for active kids. Install a ninja kit or work as a family to make your own obstacle course. Create a goal with log posts or rocks. Lay down a few cheap cement patio slabs and install a basketball hoop. Splurge for a pool or trampoline, as these are two installations that are worth the investment.
- Are you an artistic family? Set up an art caddy near a bright, daylit area like the kitchen. Explore different mediums like watercolour, chalk paint, sketching, charcoal, pastels, etc. Pick up discounted items at design discount stores for a fraction of the price. Hit up the dollar store for canvas, art paper and disposable or cheap washable tablecloths. Scan Pinterest for fun outdoor ideas, like rock painting, water balloon painting, etc. You can even look for a storage bench on a community sale site for storing supplies in a shady area.
- Are you a hands-on, work with your hands family? Collectively make a blueprint of all the fun things you would like to see in your yard. Get your hands dirty and explore landscaping. Dollar stores have plenty of decent tools for beginners. Into woodworking? Build a flower box, a privacy screen, a vegetable garden table or go large and make a treehouse of sorts.
- Are you a social, talk-for-hours kind of family? Create conversational areas. Does everyone congregate in the kitchen? Grab some stackable stools and keep them handy. You can also decorate some mugs or hi-ball glasses from the dollar store using Sharpies. Look for cushion fillers that become floor cushions, as well as storage for old or unused pillows, blankets and stuffed animals. Outdoors, create a conversation circle. Center it around a dug-out fire pit or a simple coffee table that everyone can also rest their feet on. Just make sure you can arrange it to have appropriate social distancing between the chairs!
REDISCOVER YOUR VALUES
The thing that makes a summer most memorable is usually the people you spend it with and the values you share with them. If you haven’t given your values much thought, there’s never been a better time. Solid values and focusing your day-to-day life on something more significant than work or school will make life more enjoyable and meaningful. New York Times bestselling author James Clear makes the healthful connection, “In fact, writing about how our day-to-day actions match up with our deepest personal values can mentally and biologically improve our ability to deal with stress.” Brainstorm with your roommates, spouse or kids and make a list of what you feel is essential. Then, look for ways to build on those values throughout the summer.
- Happiness. Look for ways to make each day a happier one. For example, take 5 minutes every morning to observe the trees and birds in your complex. Breathe the fresh air and feel the sun on your face.
- Kindness. Make little cards or notes for your neighbours or friends you haven’t seen in a while. Receiving a little message of love can make a persons’ day.
- Knowledge. Pick a few things you want to learn more about, either individually, as a family or a little of both. From library books, podcasts, documentaries and more, the world is your oyster.
It’s extremely important that when you are off work and on a staycation, you put the following rules into effect.
- Forget the chores. Even if you enjoy a clean house, find a way to scale back. Leave the dishes for the morning or clean up before bed but then let things be throughout the day.
- Unplug. Movie nights and lazy mornings on your phone are all good and well; just make sure that on those days where the sun is out, you are too. Leave your devices in the house and spend your day outside, enjoying nature and people over entertainment.
- Be spontaneous. The key to any good staycation – or vacation – is to be spontaneous. Are you a serious planner? Schedule in a few hours or certain days where you throw caution to the wind. Jump on a bus you don’t usually take, look for a new park or nature space, take a road you’ve never been on, etc.
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