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clouds bookVacation is a must. But it’s not enough. It takes time and money to escape for several days. Most of us just can’t afford to do that as often as we need it. There are lots of lesser ways to escape–some better for us than others. A hike in the woods is an inspired alternative. Unfortunately, it’s not the choice most folks make regularly. Some disengage with a favorite TV lineup or dive into electronic gaming. Others numb out with drugs or alcohol. And let’s not forget the many opportunities to check-out online–from social media to shopping cart. Heck, with your ipad in one hand, a glass of wine in the other and an eye on Mad Men, you’re among friends.

These popular substitues for respite may bring temporary relief, but they often lead to bad habits–if not addiction. What if we learn how to give ourselves a regular break without resorting to the usual diversions when we can’t take a full-blown holiday?

Think about what it’s like to be on vacation. You probably work less, play more and give yourself permission to just be. More than anything you do or don’t do, taking a vacation is really a state of mind; less pressure to perform and more freedom to explore.

Here are some ideas for a stellar staycation, even if all you have is one sweet Saturday:

1. Slow Down: Give yourself permission to sleep in. When you get around to it, think about what you’d like to do with your day. Then pick one thing. Just one. Then give yourself permission not to get to it. Take time to lie on your back outside and stare at the clouds. Do less than necessary.

2. Lighten Up: Make someone smile and smile yourself. Joke, laugh, flirt, sing, skip, do a cartwheel if you can. Roll down the hill. Be a total dork. Make fun your priority. Turn on some music. Turn it up. Whistle while you don’t work.

3. Mix It Up: Seek out new corners in your own backyard. Play musical chairs from your usual positions at home. Take a new route. Get lost just out of curiosity. Try a new food. Wear a new hue. Change the station. Do the same old things in a whole new way. Turn it upside down.

4. Turn It Up: Push past your comfort zone. Do something that scares you just a little. If you feel like a fool on the dance floor- get thee to a club and dance. Make someone an invitation too good to refuse. Spice it up. Go to your edge. Be turned on. Find an itch you forgot you had and scratch it.

5. Do It Up: How can you tell you’re on vacation? Would you have a spa treatment? Some cleaning help? Would you do some fine dining? Go window shopping? Maybe you would get a good book and do nothing but read all day. Be a little naughty. Indulge, knowing you deserve it. (You do).

6. Check Out: It’s hard to escape connectivity these days. Zones without cell coverage can scarcely be found outside an elevator. Don’t wait until you’re out of range to take a break from your smart-phone. Turn it off. “Walk away from the computer, sir/m’am.” Emails, updates and phone calls can wait a day. Dare to disappear. Power down for peace.

Add your own get-away must-haves to this list and get stayin’! It’s as easy as taking tomorrow off. Enjoy!