Friends, how are we already more than halfway done with the year? As I went to write my rent check at the beginning of the month, I paused and thought, “OK, this year is moving at lightning speed, maybe I should slow down a bit.” And here’s why: I’m currently three months into a new job, which comes with an entirely new work routine, schedule, and way of using my creative brain. And the result is that the days and weeks feel like they’re flying by. I’m having an absolute blast, leaning into a completely new skillset, and also really feeling the need to have more downtime to disconnect and recharge. Speaking of disconnecting and recharging, this month’s theme at Camille Styles is “Escape,” and it couldn’t be better timed to what’s happening with my calendar. The next 6 weekends I’m either on the road for work, or hosting family & friends who are visiting from out of town. While I absolutely love doing both, I’ve realized there’s not a whole lot of time for me (and only me) in that mix. Much less time for a vacation. As I type this, I’m preparing my place for my parents arrival in 36 hours, and tying up loose ends with work so I can be fully present and engaged when they’re here.
While I’d love to escape for a weekend vacation solo, it’s just not going to be possible until August. Insert the next best option: a staycation just miles outside of town. Thanks to my pals at The Wayback in Austin, a cute 8 cottage boutique hotel property owned by the lovely mother and daughter duo Sydney Sue and Vicki Bly, I got to reap the benefits of a mini vacation without having to leave town (or break the bank in the process).
Much like I approach exercising: 30 minutes a day (small changes yield the biggest results), I think you can get all of the benefits of a vacation without having to even leave town.
After less than 24 hours staying in the most adorable bungalow (Cottage 6, what a stunner) at The Wayback here are my best tips for getting all the benefits of a vacation, without leaving town:
OK, I couldn’t actually turn my phone off per se because I had work to do, but I did set some parameters around my usage. I chose to work from The Wayback to escape a bit from my regular work-from-home routine. Once the clock hit 6pm, I logged off my computer, put my phone on silent and enjoyed my time on the property. Anyone that texted, I replied with “taking a staycation, chat tomorrow!” unless it was urgent or something that required a response (or the few texts I did send of the gorgeous property). My best friend accidentally texted me, and that led to an hour phone convo right before bed, which was perfect — I’m usually in go-mode all day, so a slow catch up with her in a quiet space was perfect. And I was fully present.
Savor the silence.
I don’t watch a ton of TV, especially after cutting the cord, but one thing I was adamant on was zero TV. This actually threw me for a loop — in the first 30 minutes of being there, I was bored. I’m so used to being around people, talking to someone, working, taking a meeting or sitting on a Zoom call, that when it was dead silent, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Truly, I considered just picking up and going home to take care of laundry or “fill my time.” That’s when it became apparent I needed this time to myself. I’m so glad I stayed, I woke up in the morning feeling refreshed and clear. And when I did make it home and went for a run, it was my best run yet — there really is something to be said for taking quiet time to recharge — obviously my body needed it too.
Bring the spa to you.
While a full spa day sounds luxurious, I don’t always want to spend the money. Thankfully, I wasn’t tempted since the hotel didn’t have a spa, so I packed a face mask, eye gels, and a lip treatment and pampered myself a bit while on the phone with my friend. Simple always works, and the extra 20 minutes spent taking care of my skin felt great — usually I zip through my evening routine so quickly I barely get to enjoy it.
Take time to think big.
I knew I would have a ton of downtime and I couldn’t remember the last time I was alone thinking about things I’d like to accomplish before the year ends. So I packed a notebook “just in case,” and I’m so glad I did. I jotted down three realistic trips I’d like to take before year’s end, and came up with a plan with my priorities for the rest of the year (financially, personally, professionally). I did this while watching the sun set and enjoying a glass of wine outside the cottage. It was so quiet and peaceful.
It truly was mind boggling how in less than 24 hours away from my regular routine of being home and going through the motions, I felt refreshed and recharged. To think I almost turned back home at the 11th hour because I was bored in the silence was such a reminder that I have got to be more mindful about slowing down and enjoying the quiet time for myself. What a treat to know we don’t have to go far, or go away for long, to give ourselves the gift of space.