Having recently taken a long-awaited, much-needed vacation to close out 2022, the time has come to return to work for the new year. To be honest, calling my time off a "vacation" is a little misleading, as I didn't actually "vacate" anything but my workplace for the week. What can I say? I'm not much for travel with my time off.

What I am, however, is an expert in the art of lazy staycationing. You see, a staycation is generally defined as staying in one's home, or home country, rather than traveling with their time off. Most also believe that a staycation should include day trips, and that's where my variation differs. The way I do it, a staycation is about hitting the couch, or the bed, and trying to do as little as possible with a long stretch of time off. That's why I added the term "lazy".

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But much like looking like you just woke up, it takes a lot of work to do a lazy staycation right? That's where I come in. Expert, remember? In my nearly 35 years on this earth, I've developed some strategies that should help one maximize their sanctioned laziness when they get time off from work. If you're the type to get out and do it, this list is not for you. This is for those among us who think relaxation time is about relaxation. So, follow these five steps and you could be a master of nothing in minutes!


Step 1: Make Sure You Have a Plan for the Nothing You Want to Do

There's nothing worse than sitting down on your couch to start your staycation, only to realize that you have no idea what you want to do. This will likely leave you staring at a wall, or your powered-off TV, racking your brain as to what the first thing you want to do with your free time is going to be.

It's important to make a plan. You don't need to write anything down, necessarily, but you should at least have an idea of what activities you'll want to engage in while you're off. If you're a gamer, like me, make sure you have a game or two (or three, if you have a lot of time) that you already know you'll want to get in some playing time on. If you're the type to binge-watch some streaming shows you might've missed during the busier months, make sure they're the first thing on your watchlist. All that time spent searching for something to do is a waste, so try not to do that.

my flatmate hasn't done the chores again

Step 2: Don't Let Chores Rent Space in Your Brain

Dirty dishes, laundry, and the like will almost certainly accrue while you're lazing off, so make sure it's a new mess. You don't want to add to chores that already need to be done when you're trying to be lazy, so make a point to get that stuff done before you start. Make sure the dishes are caught up, run the sweeper, and get at least four pairs of lazy pants washed and ready to go, so you can focus on what's really important: doing as little as possible.

A man relaxing on a couch with sweets and beer

Step 3: Get ALL of the Snacks You'll Need Beforehand

Getting caught without snacks while you're deep into your couch time isn't great. Save yourself the hassle of going to the grocery store while you're staycationing by getting everything you'll need before you start. Chips, drinks, donuts, candy... whatever your preferred snack, load up before you hit the couch. The whole point is not getting up for anything but the bathroom, so learn from the Boy Scouts and be prepared.

Businessman looking at a clock

Step 4: Don't Schedule Anything Before 10 A.M.

Sometimes, you just can't help but end up with things on your calendar while you're enjoying your time off. Whether it's a medical check-up, dental work, or just family gatherings during the holiday that you took time off for, people are still competing for your time. It can't be helped, but it can be blunted. If you absolutely must put something on the schedule while you're on a staycation, make sure you schedule it for any time after 10 in the morning. It's still your time, so there's no reason you can't sleep in if you want to.

Stressed man with message on sticky notes over his face in office.

Step 5: Work is Irrelevant

The absolute, number one thing you need to remember when you're on vacation, whether you decided to be weird and go on a trip, or if you're normal and stayed home, is that you are on vacation. If you spend half of the time checking work e-mails and keeping tabs on what's going on in your absence, that kind of defeats the purpose of taking time off in the first place.

Make sure your e-mail's automatic reply is set, turn off as many notifications on your phone as you can get away with, and just pretend you don't have a job for as long as you're gone. Staycation or vacation, the time is always up well before you're ready for it to be, so disconnect and enjoy it. Your brain will thank you when you return to work.

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