Mini Staycation Ideas: Coping with Burnout During Coronavirus

coping with burnout

At this point in the year, we’ve been in varying stages of lockdown or quarantine for around six months. This unexpected, rapid change in circumstances that will end at some point but no one knows when is, to put it mildly… exhausting. For everyone.

So it should be no surprise to anyone that burnout is on the rise. The awful thing about burnout is it doesn’t really care what your situation is. You can be on a tight deadline, balancing childcare and work, attempting to graduate in less than ideal circumstances, the works. Burnout sneaks in.

Suddenly, you just can’t. Answering an email seems like climbing a mountain. Dinner for the kids is a Herculean task. And writing a paper? Forget it.

Summer time is when the vast majority of us would happily recharge our batteries some place nice and far away. Maybe your family has a favorite beach you always visit. Or this was the year you were going to Disney. Or you were finally going to road trip your way to a national park.

Coronavirus shut those plans down. And now, more than ever, many of us are burnt out and need a vacation. Badly.

So what do we do?

I’ve been trying to answer that question myself, as I navigate my own version of burnout. How do you relax and recharge when your area to do so is very, very limited?

Oddly enough, I seem to have found some options that helped. It’s no trip to Belize, but for now, it’s what’s working.

I’ll start with the small and move to the big. And of course, please leave any mini staycation ideas in the comments!

For background: I’m in a new role that’s been fully remote due to the pandemic. I don’t have too many vacation days accrued just yet (and to be honest, I’m saving them up for a post-pandemic world where Peru and I are together at last). So my mini staycations are usually evening and weekends exclusively. Here’s what’s been restoring me…

Mini Staycation Ideas: Coping with Quarantine Burnout

1. Making friends with the neighborhood animals

Mini Staycation Ideas: Coping with Burnout During Coronavirus

I’m pretty allergic to most pets, so I do have to proceed with caution. But something about giving the neighborhood cat some well-deserved scritches temporarily revives me. Animals have some sort of super power in that regard and I really look forward to seeing my tiny friend every now and again.

2. Walking outside

Mini Staycation Ideas: Coping with Burnout During Coronavirus

The strangest thing has happened in my Kansas City area… August has arrived and the weather is beautiful. Blue skies, sunshine, maybe 80-ish degrees. For those unfamiliar with the hellscape that is Midwest weather, this is unreal. August is oppressively hot. The humidity will suffocate you. A low 90 degree day is a cause for celebration. 80 degrees with low humidity and sunny skies? Unheard of.

So I took advantage of it. I walked every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Sometimes I’d just sit in the backyard, sipping on coffee, basking in the glorious weather. 

3. Celebrate with treats

I’ve seen so many social posts about how this is the time to get in the best shape of your life.

I call bull.

If you were at home during normal circumstances (i.e. NOT a global pandemic) then sure. I’d allow it.

But quarantine during uncertain times has often left folks very little (if any) time to even think about working out.

(Although, if you’d like, I compiled a list of ten minute or less at home workouts. Take the guess work out of it and do what you can. Links are at the bottom of this post.)

With major events we were all looking forward to getting cancelled or postponed left and right, I say screw it, let’s celebrate something. I ordered a gourmet cake from my favorite bakery the other week. The occasion? Making it through so far. A worthy cause in my book.

Also cake for breakfast can make any Monday slightly better.

Forget the workouts, get yourself a cake.

4. Take on a backyard sport

For this, feel free to make up your own version of whatever sport needs to fit within the confines of your backyard. 

My dad dug out a croquet set and put together a course of sorts. I don’t have photos, but it looked a little something like this…

Source: imagesvc.meredithcorp

Not quite as fancy, but you get the idea.

My dad, brother and I spent the evening playing croquet. Turns out, I’m terrible at it. So I ended up mostly laughing at near swipes and massive misses while my dad and brother attempted to outsmart each other.

Lesson learned: when professional sports are cancelled, you form your own team. Plus the commentary is waaaaaay better.

I found this video that explains how to set everything up pretty nicely.

5. Plan a day to yourself

One Saturday in particular promised to be unbelievably gorgeous. In August. Can’t stress that enough.

So I called up a friend who’s in quarantine herself and asked if she’d join me for a trip to the zoo. We made a whole event out of it. Going to one of our favorite burger stands for lunch (with masks). Doing every little silly activity at said zoo, like riding the train or taking the skywalk. And finishing off the day with some gourmet chocolate treats.

It ended up being exactly what I needed. There’s something about quarantining for the last few months that makes you appreciate the little things. A trip to the zoo was one of them.

It was an ideal place given the current circumstances too. Outdoors meant it was easy for us to socially distance ourselves from other zoo goers. The beautiful weather meant wearing masks was no problem. And seeing the penguins? Well, that was just a bonus.

6. Take a socially-distanced weekend getaway

A weekend guide to Weston, MO

Again, I don’t have much in the way of vacation days, so I’m looking into a weekend getaway for myself and a friend.

This is where I finally get to scoff at everyone who calls the midwest “flyover territory.” All those small towns with their sweet, historic charm, so often overlooked during normal times, are now the perfect place to be during a pandemic.

I’m looking into Weston, Missouri. It’s about an hour away from me, with nary a chain hotel in sight. Just tiny, cute B&Bs that —if following proper protocol— are a safe place to unwind and recharge.

There’s a state park perfect for socially-distanced hiking. In late September, when I’m hoping to go, the fall scenery promises to be stunning.

There’s farmland to explore while distancing, and plenty of local restaurants offering carryout options. It. Is. Perfect.

While late September is a ways away, I’m still in planning mode. I’ve found that planning a vacation kind of extends it, in a way. Plus, it’s something to look forward to.

10 Minutes or Less Home Workout Videos

7 Minute Leg Workout

5 Minute HIIT Workout

10 Minute Fat Burning Workout

10 Minute Sun Salutations Yoga Workout 

Did these mini staycation ideas and recharge suggestions help your covid burnout? Got any other ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Pin This Guide!

Mini Staycation Ideas: Coping with Burnout During Coronavirus

Pin these mini staycation ideas to help your covid burnout for later!

Safe travels!


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