One thing is certain in 2020: the holidays are going to be very different this year. There will be no last-minute getaway to a far-flung beach, no hitting the slopes, and no visits to family living overseas. Many of us are feeling anxious and uncertain about the festive period this year, and are in need of something to look forward to. And besides, you deserve to treat yourself.
Why not create your very own luxury winter staycation from the comfort of your own home? Think luxury decor, much-needed down-time, nutritious food, spa treatments and spoiling yourself silly, all without having to leave the country - or even your house. Switch off, hunker down, and enjoy some restorative wellbeing without the ardour of having to pack, do much in the way of planning, or separate your toiletries into those little plastic bags.
We have put together the ultimate guide to creating a festive lockdown staycation that’s chock-full of wellness inspiration, luxury at-home spa and beauty ideas, ways to naturally lift your spirits, and techniques to make sure that this winter doesn’t become one of discontent.
Read on for our luxury staycation musts:
Take a three day weekend.
First thing’s first. A restorative staycation necessitates the taking of a long weekend. Only after three full days can you truly unplug, unwind and begin to feel renewed. So send your boss an email now and request a Friday or a Monday off from work. The longer you can afford to take off, the greater the benefits you will reap.
Go tech free.
Switch off and step away from tech for the duration of your luxury staycation. You don’t need constant WhatsApps and work emails infiltrating your zen-den. Being constantly connected leads to spikes in cortisol that stress your immune system and lower your mood, not to mention the impact artificial light can have on your sleep cycle. Step away from your screens and you’ll feel totally rejuvenated come the end of your at-home break.
Rearrange your furniture.
Moving chairs, tables, sofas, beds and dressers around has the magical ability to immediately transport you to a new place. Your brain will be totally confused as to the lay of the land which triggers novelty responses in the brain - that same feeling you get when you move into a villa or hotel room for a week and everything takes on a fresh and mysterious quality.
Focus on creating small enclaves of space for peace and quiet and for mindful activities. A dedicated reading zone with a pile of books you’ve been meaning to get stuck into, a low-light lamp and some comfy cushions is a lovely thing. Another idea is to design a meditation corner, complete with candles, palo santo, a journal and essential oils. Delineating areas in this way is a great technique for calming the mind, and can help you to compartmentalise internally.
The most important thing is to create a space (or spaces) that serve your unique purpose. If your ideal staycation involves fitness, create a ‘gym corner’; if it involves cooking and eating delicious healthy food create a work-station in the kitchen; or if it involves a hobby like knitting, quilting, or writing set up a dedicated space for said activity with everything you need.
The idea is to create mindful spaces that can help you to feel calm.
Create your own spa.
Nothing screams holiday like a spa. We’re talking candles, bubble bath, mani-pedi, a massage from your other half, the whole hog. The aim is to wind up feeling amazing. Set the scene with low-level lighting, your favourite relaxing music and a calming cup of green tea. Order fluffy slippers and fresh dressing gowns prior to your staycation and your ‘spa day’ will feel even more luxurious.
If you want to spoil yourself rotten, treat yourself to an at-home facial from the world’s leading facialist, Nichola Joss. Nichola recommends the LYMA System to her A-list clients, and has replicated her exclusive LYMA Facial to make it easy for you to experience at home. Running the LYMA Laser over problem skin areas for just 15 minutes a day will transform your skin from within.
Top off your spa session by toasting yourself with a glass of champagne and scoffing a scone and you’ll completely forget where you are.
Tuck into that novel you’ve been saving for the beach.
You know that book that you’ve been saving up so you can *really* take it in and enjoy it? Well, now’s the time to dust it off, settle down and tuck in.
The same goes for anything you’ve been looking forward to doing but have been inexplicably ‘saving for a rainy day’. So if you’ve been hankering to do that jigsaw, cook that impossibly complicated cake, listen to that podcast or learn that tune on the violin, now is the time. Treat yourself to the thing you’ve always wanted to do but have so far failed to make time for.
Treat yourself to new bedding.
It might sound like a small and inconsequential thing. But you know that whole plonking yourself down on the bed in your hotel room thing? Where it’s only 9am but you’re already excited to curl up after a long day of sightseeing? Well you can recreate that at home - by purchasing new fancy bed linen. Plus new sheets equal restorative sleep.
We love silk pillows (great for anti-ageing and for skin health in general) and you can’t go wrong with Egyptian cotton sheets. Go for the highest thread count you can afford.
Have breakfast in bed.
Speaking of bed. Making your breakfast and bringing it back to bed (or, better yet, having someone else make it and bring it into the boudoir) is a vacation vibe. Go to the trouble to brew yourself some fancy coffee, scramble your eggs with as much butter as your heart desires and - if you can muster the effort - squeeze your own orange juice. Serve it up on a pretty tray with a teeny flower in a mini vase, fan the Sunday papers out around you and lounge about sipping and nibbling for as long as your heart desires. Maybe even go back to sleep when you’re done.
Make it special. You would never have cheese and beans on toast at a five star resort, so you shouldn’t be eating it during your staycation either.
Either cook your very favourite menu from scratch or - our preferred choice - order in from one of the many high-end and even Michelin-starred restaurants that are offering home-delivery during these unprecedented times. You may need to order your meal in advance of the day, so check the restaurant’s website for details.
So what are you waiting for? Make some space in the diary and commit to taking yourself on a luxury staycation this winter. 2021 you will surely thank you for it.
Originally published Dec 18, 2020.