Every year the thing I most look forward to is my summer vacations. I typically take a couple of long weekends here and there and then I take off one full week vacation with Dan or my family. It’s my absolute favorite and I look forward to it every year. We have done a big extravagant vacation line spending 10 days in Italy to smaller quaint vacations like a week in a little cottage by the Bay at the Cape.  

It doesn’t matter what the vacation is, I start counting down the days around April and we typically go away in August… By the time July comes, I could barely concentrate at work because I can’t contain my excitement.

But this year things look a little different. Just around the time that we would have started planning and booking for our vacation the pandemic hit, then all planning screeched to a halt.

I know that many people are in the same boat, or even worse, they already have had to cancel a much-needed vacation. Now, I want to make sure I make note that I do believe canceling vacations is the least of everyone’s worries right now. In the grand scheme of life, this cancellation is insignificant, but at the same time, you are allowed to be bummed if plans changed, like I am. There is nothing any of us could do about it, but it still definitely sucks. 

Though, when times are tough and not in our favor, we do as my Uncle Curt says, “We make do.” We make do with what we got, and make the most out of the situation we are currently in. 

This year Dan had extra vacation days that he had to use up by the end of June, so we took a vacation the week after Memorial Day Weekend. We claimed it our “Stay-cation” and we made do with the current circumstances. Then at the end of the week we both just kept saying, “Wow, that was a really great vacation.”, “I had so much fun.”, and “I really loved that.”

If we are being completely honest, I did not have high hopes going into it and honestly thought it was going to kind of suck. For starters, it’s late May so it’s still not super warm yet in CT. In CT in May, mostly everything was still closed so there wasn’t much to do. Only SOME restaurants had opened just the week before, but most were still closed. There were no places to shop, nowhere to get your nails done and have a spa day. There were no outside resources that we could take advantage of to help make the vacation better. We had to get back to the basics, and we made do with what we had.   

Today I wanted to share with you some of the things we did to make our staycation fun during a pandemic that you can try in case you find yourself in a similar situation. 

  • Focus on what you CAN do and not what you CAN’T do. 

This is incredibly important because this is all about your perspective and the way you go into your vacation.  If you go into a situation and all you think about is how terrible it is going to be, then it is indeed going to be terrible, just like you predicted. You will find all that is wrong and nothing that is right.  

When heading into your stay-cation, or vacation during a pandemic, you have to make sure you DON’T do this. Don’t complain and go on about the things you can’t do because of the pandemic, but be grateful for all the things that you still CAN do. 

Focus on the good and you will find it.  

  • Brainstorm and write a list of all the fun stuff you want to do during the week. 

I wanted to make sure that we were still getting the most of our week off and that we did all of the things we wanted.  I wanted to walk away from vacation feeling fulfilled and satisfied with the time spent on my vacation, spoken like a true Type A person. 😉

My list consisted of long walks by the water with a morning coffee, read my book at the beach, make a delicious meal, and watch the sunset. While Dan wanted to go on a bike ride, work on his car, get ice cream, and go out to dinner. 

Luckily a few restaurants in our area were open and the weather was warm enough to allow us to go out to eat. By the end of the week, we did every single thing on our list and we were both really happy about it.  

For us, we want nothing to do with work or cleaning during our vacations. We also don’t own a home yet… But for you, this may be the ideal time to take time off to get house projects done that you have been putting off for who knows how long.  

All that matters is that it’s what you WANT to do, that you are taking the time to refresh, unwind, and NOT think about work. 

  • When you go grocery shopping for the week, buy all of your favorite things. 

As I mentioned before there weren’t many restaurants open when we took our week off, especially not compared to now so we had to buy and make most of our food. Which we typically do anyways to save money.  

Since we were on vacation we made sure that we spoiled ourselves and bought ALL of our favorite things that we typically wouldn’t buy in our weekly haul. 

We bought: cheese, honey, and crackers from the Madison Cheese Shop (an amazing fancy cheese shop), lots of wine, Twizzlers, raisinets, sour patch watermelon, cape cod potato chips, tortilla chips, and salsa, Starbucks premade iced coffee, chocolate, popcorn, and dried fruits. All of the “snacky” things we wouldn’t typically have in the house, except popcorn of course. Dan freaking loves his popcorn.  

The point of doing this was to make ourselves feel special and to give ourselves one more reason to be excited and happy about the week. It’s kind of like when your mom would treat you with pop tarts if you had a good week when you’re a kid, but were just adults now and splurging on premade iced coffee is a big deal. It’s all about the little things, they add up. 

  • Practice gratitude every day. 

Just like it’s easy to focus on what you can’t do versus what you can, it’s easy to forget to stop and give thanks for the current moment you are in.  I wholeheartedly believe, your world is what you make of it, and practicing gratitude makes it such a beautiful place. 

Every day I would make a point throughout my day to think to myself or say out loud, “Wow, we are so lucky that…”, or “Isn’t this so great.” or “I love this so much.” I remember specifically two moments on the vacation that made me so happy. They were simple moments that you would normally think nothing of. One was when I was reading on the back porch on a cloudy morning and the other was when I was sitting on the beach on a foggy day.  

When I was reading I remember, thinking to myself, “I just feel so relaxed right now. I am so grateful for this moment of pause and nothingness.”  

Then when I was at the beach, even though it was cloudy, and may have been missing earlier in the day, I still couldn’t stop thinking how beautiful and peaceful it was to be there. There was no one else on the beach, the water was calm, and a bird was flying across the sky that seemed to blend in with the water so you didn’t know where one stopped and one started. It was just beautiful. 

I’ll never forget those moments, but they were only able to happen because I kept looking for the good, even on cloudy and foggy days.  

Vacations or Stay-cations, or whatever you may do, will look different this year. It just simply won’t be exactly as we had imagined or planned, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be great. That doesn’t mean all is ruined, it just means you have the opportunity to make do with what you’ve got and to make lemonade out of lemons. 

It’s all about perspective. Make the most of the situation you are in and you will never be disappointed.  

Until next time, 

Happy Summer! =D