Dozing off on a plane and waking up in France or Spain is a treat when we can make it happen, but sometimes there are circumstances when vacation travel isn’t feasible. In times of stress and uncertainty (like now), when you need to unravel that knot of tension in your shoulders and destress, home is often the best place to be. Though a forced staycation may not be what you dreamed of right now, it’s more important than ever to practice social distancing and do your part to contain the coronavirus pandemic. These eight ideas will help you make the most of your time at home by turning it into a restful and luxurious vegan staycation. 

1. Create indulgent dinners
Part of the pleasures of a real vacation is planning it. Now that you have more time at home than usual, try spending it planning extravagant or time-consuming dishes you wouldn’t typically make. Take time to browse your favorite vegan cookbooks and pull out all the things you’ve been meaning to try—like that truffle mac and vegan cheese or porcini ravioli recipe you’ve had earmarked forever. Turn on your favorite music, pour yourself a bevvie, and start chopping. Not only will the process calm your worries, but you’ll be left with a comforting, home-cooked meal to keep you satisfied and energized. (Be sure to make enough so you have leftovers to carry you through the week.)

2. Learn a new skill
Have you always wanted to learn a new language or improve your guitar skills? Besides relieving stress and anxiety, there are many benefits to incorporating a creative hobby into your life right now. Choose a hobby or new skill that gets you out of your comfort zone and find the necessary resources online. Set a game plan and stick to it. You’ll feel accomplished and proud of yourself by the end. Plus, you’ll have something to show off when you go out into the world again. 

3. Browse a museum from home
Some of the most iconic museums around the world offer free virtual tours, which means you can browse them from the comforts of your own home. Google Arts and Culture’s partnership with world-class art institutions gives you access to more than 1,200 museums through your web browser or a free-to-download app. Famous works featured at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, National Museum in New Delhi, the Tate in London, and Rijks Museum in Amsterdam are just a few clicks away. 

4. Treat yourself to room service
One of the best things about going on vacation is treating yourself to room service at your hotel. It might be expensive, but the luxury of having someone serve you a tray of vegan waffles, fresh berries, and a steaming pot of coffee is basically the best thing ever. If you’re stuck inside with a partner or roommate, consider taking turns cooking and serving breakfast or brunch to each other (we’ve got a few brunch recipes you’ll love). When it’s your turn to be served, stretch out in bed, cuddle with your cats, and enjoy the smell of tofu scramble and toast (cooked by someone else) wafting up from the kitchen. 

5. Turn your days into travel themes
For an epic staycation, turn each day into a themed travel adventure. Head to Paris by planning a meal of vegan French crêpes, mushroom bourguignon, or brioche bread, and binging on classic romance films such as Midnight in Paris or Amelie or even a collection of stories such as Paris, Je T’aime. Or take in the beauty of India with a meal of vegan tikka masala with refreshing mango lassis and cuddle on the couch while watching Bollywood films such as the feel-good film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara or romantic drama Jodhaa Akbar. You can explore most of these international films on Nextflix. The best part: You don’t have to spend hours on a plane to experience other countries.

6. Pamper yourself
Rather than rushing to get a manicure in between meetings, your at-home staycation is an opportunity to enjoy pseudo spa living. Set aside an evening to focus on yourself: order a few luxurious vegan spa products, sign up for a beauty subscription box, or attempt a new beauty hack you came across online. Create a relaxing atmosphere in your bathroom by pouring yourself a bubble bath, lighting a candle, putting on soothing music, and imagine you’re spending the night at an upscale spa you wouldn’t typically indulge in.

7. Reconnect with family and friends
A coronavirus quarantine isn’t exactly the best way to cater to humans’ need for social interaction. But don’t let this time of social distancing be your excuse for letting your relationships fizzle. Stay connected with friends and family virtually by reaching out to three or four people each day: Share a toast with a friend through a virtual happy hour; be extra neighborly by reaching out to your street friends and leaving a homemade lasagna on their doorstep; swap stories with an online community; or meet up for an almost-in-person meal with friends from afar. Better still, make some fun future plans with pals so you have something to look forward to when it’s all over. 

8. Discover new online workouts
For fitness buffs, not being allowed to go to the gym can be mentally and physically difficult. Instead, consider buying an online exercise class you’ve always wanted to try but you typically can’t afford or don’t have time for on a regular basis. From calming yoga to sweat-inducing kickboxing, it can be fun to switch up your regular exercise routine while still staying active. For something equally fun (and free), crank your favorite tunes and have a dance party in your living room. 

Nicole Axworthy is the News Editor of VegNews and author of DIY Vegan who is currently cooking up more meals than she can eat.

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