Everyone deserves a vacation. Daily responsibilities can add up quickly, leaving us drained and in need of some TLC. After all, we only have one body and we need to treat all aspects of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies with respect.

Not everyone can just pick up and go just like that though. This is often a reality for many of us living with arthritis. I know this to be true as I am personally fighting rheumatoid arthritis. I had to have a total knee replacement surgery in the summer of 2016, so these past couple of years almost have been the most difficult to say the least. For my one year ‘anniversary’ out of surgery, I wanted to go somewhere to celebrate how far I had come. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite ready to go due to medical and financial reasons so it had to be postponed a couple of months- which turned out to be a better idea in the end after all! 

I believe that after every trial and tribulation comes a blessing. Having a serious knee surgery at the age of 29, wasn’t something I ever envisioned for myself but it gave me my life back- for the most part. I have learned to adapt and make accommodations, which I feel anybody can do with some determination. Even if that means taking baby steps to get out of the comfort zone that arthritis and related conditions, autoimmune illness, chronic illness and disability can often place us in.

So with that being said, here are five ways to make your staycation memorable for years to come:

Release your inner child.

Recreate old childhood memories. A child knows what will make them happy. Oftentimes adulthood responsibilities can make us forget that inner child. They say that when you become a parent, you relive your youth through your kids. It’s a beautiful cycle of life. If you don’t have kids, go visit your old favorite childhood hangouts. Go to the pool, have dessert outside, don’t look down at your mobile devices. Transport yourself back to a time when you were outside and didn’t have all these technical distractions. Make it a point to immerse yourself in whatever you’re doing. If you have kids, take them to do things you often loved doing as a kid.

Continue old traditions.

When the weather gets warmer, my family and I make it a point to go to the Chicago Botanic Gardens every year. Also there are several festivals that go on in the summer. Many Greek Orthodox churches have what we call ‘Greek fest.’ They have live music, dancing, games and food. I try to make it a point each year to go with family and friends to at least one. 

Make a new tradition.

Create new traditions with family or friends, or both! There are so many ways to find out what’s going on in your area from your local newspaper, Facebook, friends, or word of mouth.

Mini road trip.

This can be done in many ways. You can go to the next town over and try out a new restaurant, café, lounge. Different towns also have their own local farmers’ markets, festivals and summer concerts. You can drive to the next state over and go visit a new town. Staying over one or two nights at a hotel and driving there can be more budget-friendly. It can also be a good way to lean into getting a hang of traveling all together when dealing with arthritis. If you don’t try new ways of doing things you won’t know how it will be for you. Take advantage of the things around you if there’s no other way.

Take a wellness day.

Choose a day and savor it. A wellness day can be anything you want to do or just haven’t had the time for.