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Four hundred thirty seven emails. Seven weekly meetings. Thirty missed calls.

The amount of work a small business owner leaves behind to go on vacation can be painstakingly daunting. All of that in addition to the startling cost of planning, booking and actually being on vacation. Who has time and money for any of it?

Yet research shows the chance to regularly get away from the office to reboot promotes creativity, prevents burnout, improves health, strengthens family bonds and promotes an overall sense of well-being. Psychology Today has on more than one occasion reported the mental, emotional and psychological reasons why taking a vacation should be considered a necessity rather than a luxury.

As the number of vacations taken by the average American family continues to decline each year, the popularity of staycations is on the rise.

If you struggle to take a full week off, at least take a relaxing weekend.

And for good reason, as staycations can also revitalize you. They allow you time away from the office while also being generally easier to plan and less costly. You don’t need to account for travel time and you can relax knowing you’re not far from the office in the case of an emergency (God forbid).

The best part is many of us are too busy with everyday life to pause and take a second to look around our hometown, which is likely filled with any number of hidden gems. From exploring the local zoo with the kids to trying out a couple’s massage at that spa downtown, a lot of things you would do on vacation can also be done right there in your neck of the woods.

We’ve put together a few clever ways to make the most of your staycation regardless of where your accommodations happen to be located.

  1. Check out a local landmark (or three). It doesn’t get much easier than doing a simple Google search for fun things to do in your town. Traditional finds might include things like the local zoo or children’s museum, but digging a little deeper may reveal that the world’s largest ball of twine or 30-foot statue of a coyote is only a 30-minute drive away. Sites like Roadside America and Silly America offer a variety of unique, fun things you probably didn’t realize were practically in your backyard.
  2. Embrace your inner farmer. No time to maintain a garden in your backyard? No problem! While it may not be the case in the dead of winter in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, farms throughout the country open their gates to the public most months of the year. Make a family adventure out of it by finding a pick-your-own farm nearby and know what to expect by browsing lists that offer a breakdown of what’s in season in your area in spring and summer.
  3. Try something on Groupon or Living Social. The benefits of shopping local on bargain sites are two-fold. It isn’t uncommon for local businesses to turn to Groupon in an effort to get the word out about their unique menu offerings or a novel service. That means you are more likely to find, explore and support local businesses you may not have otherwise known about. Not only that, but since discounts are common on these sites, you will save some money in the process.
  4. Drive with no destination. Don’t take a map, turn off your phone, tune in to your favorite radio station or CD and see where the wind blows you. Especially in a familiar setting, the scenery gets lost amid the daily drive to and from work or running errands on the weekends. It’s easy for us to miss that beaten path which leads to a beautiful park we didn’t know was there. Something as simple and relatively inexpensive as taking a drive around your town can help you clear your mind and feel more refreshed when you head back to work.

Those meetings, emails and missed calls can wait. Invest in some necessary you time without the hassle of planning an elaborate getaway by enjoying a guilt-free staycation instead.

Chances are, there is plenty to do in and around your hometown that you would be doing on vacation – right there in your backyard. Take the necessary time to reboot because your business is worth it.

Your family is worth it.

You are worth it.