Thanks to the recent ash cloud I had an unexpected “holiday” in Melbourne. There’s something delicious about unexpectedly having 5 days at home with nothing scheduled.
As a naturopath, I’m a strong believer in the healing powers of rest and recuperation. Nothing beats having enough downtime to recharge the batteries. The word holiday conjures different images for each of us; one person’s sunny beach is another’s vacation nightmare. There’s no right or wrong way to take a break but from a health perspective a change in routine and finding a balance between stimulation and relaxation are key components.
Holistically a holiday can short circuit the panic button for a while. In physiological terms, slowing down helps to put the brakes on the autonomic nervous system response associated with stress (read more about the biology of stress if you’d like to know the nitty gritty). While we bounce along in survival mode, there’s often not enough energy available for adequate repair and maintenance in the body. With prolonged stress, or even too little sleep, immune dysfunction can be inevitable.
While an overseas trip can be a luxury, taking time out should not be. That’s where the staycation comes into it’s own. A holiday at home, whether it’s a long weekend or an extended break, can help reset your nervous system as well as your mojo. A staycation means you get to sleep in your own bed but have the benefit of a free schedule and time to explore your own neighbourhood. Or you might want to splurge on a night in the city by snapping up a deal from one of the last minute accommodation sites.
It can be fun to see your hometown through the eyes of a visitor. Peruse a travel guide for your city in a bookstore or borrow one from the local library. You might like to check out online travellers forums like Thorntree as well. Make notes on places the guide suggests that you have never been to.
For a different point of view, leave the car behind and explore different areas of your home town by foot, public transport, boat or bike. On the spur of the moment, I recently jumped on the free city tourist bus. The driver’s commentary had me in stitches and I learnt odd facts about my adopted hometown (like do you know what event drew the biggest crowd to the MCG and no, it wasn’t a football match*).
Of course, your staycation may involve going nowhere. Stocked up with a pile of books, music or films, your daily commute might involve a morning stroll and a leisurely breakfast, then embracing the winter weather sitting in a comfortable chair and feeding your mind.
See your city from a different angle
Melbourne staycation ideas – perfect for the winter school holidays
• A picnic at Hanging Rock
• An opshop crawl
• Explore the Melbourne Cemetery – pay a visit to the Elvis memorial grotto and play snooker on Lindrum’s grave.
• Head to the bay and walk along a pier
• Catch the Southbank to Williamstown ferry or one of the tourist boats that cruises the yarra
• Ride the free tourist bus or tram around the city.
• Art crawls, from the NGV, to small galleries and laneway art
• Check out the Botanical Gardens – the herb garden is my favourite section
• Explore the markets – South Melbourne, Prahan, Victoria and the weekend farmers market
• Take a walk by the Yarra in Abbotsford and visit the Convent and Children’s farm
• Explore a windswept beach
• Visit Heide gallery and wander through the grounds
Remember the old saying, “a change is as good as a holiday”, treat yourself to a staycation and have some fun this month.
Have you got a favourite staycation tip?
* The Billy Graham crusade in 1959 drew a record crowd of 130,000.