How to Have a Holiday at Home (Make Your Home Feel Like a Hotel)

This is a step-by-step guide on how to have a holiday at home. You’ll get tips on how to make your home feel like a hotel so that you can give yourself a restorative break at home. If you have been feeling exhausted and overwhelmed from homemaking, I hope this post inspires you to give yourself an opportunity to rest, recharge, and renew.

This post is part of the How to Have a Holiday at Home series.

Step 1: Choose a Date

Start by choosing a start and end date for your holiday. Choosing a specific date in advance increases the likelihood that you will take the holiday. It also gives you something to look forward to. In my experience, the anticipation of a holiday at home is just as enjoyable as the holiday itself.

Here are some points to keep in mind when choosing dates for a holiday at home:

  • Consider your family’s schedule. I like to choose dates that suit both my schedule and my husband’s schedule. This allows us to enjoy our holiday at home together.
  • Adjust the length to complement your schedule. A holiday at home can be as long or as short as you like. If you are currently in a busy season of life, remember that even a one-day holiday can leave you feeling refreshed and energised.
  • Consider taking multiple holidays every year. I feel happier and more productive when I sprinkle holidays throughout the year. I tend to take a short holiday (one to four days) every month or every two months, and a longer holiday (at least one week) every December.

Step 2: Prepare Room Service

A few days before your holiday begins, precook some meals and store them in the fridge or freezer. This allows you to offer yourself room service during your holiday at home.

Here are some tips for preparing meals for a holiday at home:

  • Make all-in-one meals that can be served on their own. All-in-one meals save you from needing to prepare additional side dishes during your holiday. I tend to prepare meals that contain a balanced mixture of vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein.
  • Make a variety of meals, especially if you are taking a longer holiday. This allows you to vary what you serve each day. You may also find it helpful to choose meals that have contrasting ingredients, flavours, and textures.
  • Choose meals that are easy to reheat. I like to choose meals that can be reheated on the stove (such as soups and stews) or in the oven (such as pasta bakes and rice gratins).

For my last holiday at home, I made big batches of breakfast burritos, curry rice gratin, spaghetti bolognaise, and chicken pie. These meals lasted the entire holiday, and it felt so luxurious to eat homecooked meals every day without cooking.

Step 3: Plan Your Recreation

Before your holiday at home, make a list of leisure activities to do during your holiday. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you maximise your enjoyment of your holiday.

Here are some tips to help you plan out your leisure time during your holiday:

  • Choose leisure activities that energise you. You will feel more rested if you fill your holiday with activities that make you feel good. If you are not sure which activities to choose, think about the activities that make you lose track of time.
  • Strike a balance between creating and consuming. Many leisure activities involve either consuming (such as reading) or creating (such as sewing). I tend to feel best when I include a mixture of both types of activities.
  • Obtain supplies in advance. Some leisure activities require specific materials. To save time and minimise stress, obtain the items that you need for each activity before your holiday begins.
  • Commit to executing your plans. It can feel daunting to devote time to a leisure activity, especially if you are accustomed to spending most of your time working. To make it easier to start, take out the supplies you have prepared and place them in plain sight. In my experience, once you begin, it will be easy to continue.

My favourite holidays at home usually include three types of leisure activities:

  1. Something to make. I always spend part of my holiday doing something creative. During my most recent holiday at home, I made a tiny handsewn cactus plushie.
  2. Something to play. I am learning to play the keyboard, and during my last holiday I practised playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
  3. Something to read. I love to use my holidays at home to make progress on my reading list. During my last holiday at home, I read Villette by Charlotte Brontë. (It was an engrossing read; I enjoyed it even more than Jane Eyre.)

This three-ingredient recipe of making, playing, and reading always leaves me feeling relaxed and contented.

Step 4: Provide Daily Housekeeping

During your holiday at home, keep your home clean and tidy by doing daily housekeeping. It might seem counterintuitive to do housework during a holiday. But daily housekeeping doesn’t require much time, and it provides you with a pleasant environment for your holiday at home.

Here are some tips to help you keep your home clean and tidy during your holiday:

  • Stick to the basics. During your holiday at home, minimise your housework. If you need inspiration, think about the basic tasks that are provided by the daily housekeeping service in a hotel.
  • Change your routine. During your holiday at home, look for ways to do everyday housework a little differently. Try doing your tasks in a different order, or at a different time of day. It can be very restorative to take a short break from your normal homemaking routine.

When I am having a holiday at home, I limit my homemaking to seven basic daily tasks:

  1. Make the bed. (5 minutes)
  2. Sweep the floors. (10 minutes)
  3. Do one load of laundry. (20 minutes)
  4. Do the dishes after every meal. (30 minutes)
  5. Wipe down the dining table. (5 minutes)
  6. Wipe down the stove and kitchen counters. (1 minute)
  7. Empty the rubbish bin. (2 minutes)

Working at a leisurely pace, I can complete these tasks in just over an hour each day, which leaves me ample time for leisure.

Step 5: Create an Oasis of Calm

During your holiday at home, try your best to make your home a calm and peaceful place. Create an environment that recharges (rather than depletes) your energy.

Here are some tips to help you create an oasis of calm during a holiday at home:

  • Leave space in your schedule. There is no need to rush during a holiday at home, so avoid overfilling your schedule. Allow yourself to move through each day at a leisurely pace.
  • Go with the flow. During your holiday at home, allow yourself to do whatever you need to recharge, without judgement. During a holiday at home, I often find that I need extra sleep, and I try my best to allow this to happen naturally so that I can perform at my best after my holiday.

Have You Forgotten How to Rest?

Do you know how to rest? For a long time, I didn’t.

My first holiday at home was overwhelming and stressful. I felt guilty about not working, and I struggled to reconnect with my long-neglected hobbies.

After that first holiday, I realised that I needed to learn how to rest. I decided to make holidays at home part of my homemaking routine, and the more I practised resting, the easier it became.

If you have been feeling tired and uninspired, I encourage you to give yourself a holiday at home. If you have been pouring all your time and energy into working, perhaps you may have temporarily forgotten how to rest. But the knowledge is still inside you. Once you commit to resting, that knowledge will come back.

I hope this post inspires you to establish an ongoing practice of resting. I know that after every holiday, I feel more inspired, more motivated, and more positive. As it turns out, resting is the secret ingredient that adds piquancy to work.

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