As businesses have struggled to keep the doors open, getting away hasn’t been a top priority for many small-business owners and employees. However the stress of situation has made getting away to recharge more critical than ever.
“The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2020 study revealed that Americans have been profoundly affected by the pandemic, and these compounding stressors are having real consequences on our minds and bodies,” says Patti Johnson, a business consultant and CEO of PeopleResults.
“Business owners rely on fresh thinking, but stress and exhaustion take a toll on us mentally and physically when our business needs more of us,” says Johnson. “It may seem counterintuitive, but now more than ever it’s important for business owners to take a break.”
Escaping the daily grind in a safe and rejuvenating way is possible. These small-business owners are finding socially distanced ways to refuel this winter.
Hit the Slopes and Ski
Ski resorts are taking great care this season to be safe venues for outdoor activity. After all, it’s easy to social distance when you’re out in Mother Nature’s open air.
Painting expert Phillip Ash, founder of Pro Paint Corner, is planning on skiing and enjoying fresh outdoor air with his two teenage sons and their dog Sparky.
“We’re heading to a ski resort two hours from home,” he says. “They have individual chalets, so we’ll be social distancing. We’re going to bring board games, a laptop to stream movies and four pairs of lungs eager to breathe the fresh mountain air.”
Whether you spend the night or go on a day trip, plan ahead. Make reservations and consider bringing your own food. Even if restaurants at the ski resort are open, they will likely have limited capacity and food options.
Getting away from your small business is critical, particularly after the year we’ve just had.
—Travis Johansen, owner, Provid Films
Go Camping (or Glamping)
Venturing into the great outdoors and communing with nature is one of the best ways to unwind. Whether you go “old school” camping or glamp it, you’ll find staying outdoors offers the ultimate in social distancing.
“Camping allows you to naturally shelter,” says Mike Falahee, owner of Marygrove Awnings. He plans on camping this winter.
“I enjoy spending time in the outdoors with little to no humanity around to remind me of what I’m escaping," Falahee says. "I’ve found that a change of scenery and less stimulation rejuvenates me.”
If you don’t have a favorite camping spot, check out the options on websites such as HomeCamper, where you can choose from 30,000 camping or glamping sites or other unique spots. On HipCamp, you can discover and book a spot for tent camping or glamping or even spend the night in a treehouse, and Getaway lets you find and book tiny cabins outside of major cities around the country.
If camping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of vacation rentals through private parties and rental companies from which to choose.
“As people look for ways to safely unwind—with a change of scenery—we’re seeing professionally managed vacation rentals in remote destinations become the preferred accommodation choice,” says Natalia Sutin, vice-president of revenue management at the vacation rental management company Vacasa. “Families are able to use entire homes and prepare their own meals. Contactless check-in is also often available.”
Cruise the Open Road in an RV
Being completely self-contained and self-sustaining in an RV has become a popular way to get some downtime during the pandemic. According to the RV Industry Association, there was a 17.3 percent increase in RV shipments in August 2020 compared to a year prior.
Anthony Martin started planning an RV trip months ago. The founder and CEO of online life insurance agency Choice Mutual rented an RV to accommodate himself, his wife and their two German Shepherds.
“We live in Reno, Nevada, and our plan is to drive to Yosemite to do some RV camping,” says Martin. “The goal more than anything else is to be disconnected from the world. We plan to go hiking and fishing and take naps during the day and read. The single most important thing about the time off is having the freedom to do nothing and not worry about anything work related. We will reconnect our phones when we hit the road to go home.”
After a stressful year with his business, along with he and his family coming down with COVID-19, Travis Johansen, owner of the video production company Provid Films, is looking forward to heading out for three weeks in his Skoolie (renovated school bus). He and his family will travel 4,000 miles, staying at camping sites, state parks, farms and wineries. Websites such as Harvest Hosts can hook you up with unique spots to park your RV (or Skoolie) for the night.
“Getting away from your small business is critical, particularly after the year we’ve just had,” says Johansen. “We chose to take three weeks in January to focus on family as we travel across the country. Our kids will do full-time virtual school while spending time with grandparents they haven't seen for a year. After having recovered health wise and seen friends lose loved ones, I understand and sympathize with those who say we can't put relationships with loved ones on hold forever. When we return home from our vacation, 2021 will be off to a good start.”
Read more articles on work-life balance.
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