3 ways for nurses to have a decent non-vacation

Thinkstock | iStock

Thinkstock | iStock

Anybody else hate that word “staycation”? It puts me in mind of some of the nurses I work with who take a week off and spend it scrubbing walls or weeding the flowerbeds. That might be their idea of a good time, but it’s not mine.

If you’re short on cash or vacation destinations but desperately need a week away from the unit, try these three ideas on for size:

1. Be a tourist in your own town. No matter how dinky your town is–and believe me, I’ve lived in some pretty dinky towns–there’s always something to do. Head to the local museum to see what the founding mothers were wearing in the 1830s (better or worse than vintage nursing uniforms? You be the judge!). Drive out to a nearby waterhole, lake, creek, or river and immerse yourself as thoroughly as seems prudent. Heck, go to the local biker bar or that little restaurant you always said you’d try. If all else fails, find a pick-your-own berry patch and then skip to number 3.

2. Be an eight-year-old for a day. Start out with a balanced breakfast of Sugar Bombs. Wait two hours, then head to the pool with your floatie or water-wings. Lunch on hot dogs and popsicles. Take a nap in the afternoon, and end your day with macaroni and cheese in front of a good movie like Goonies or Gremlins, depending on your generation. Pointless staring, hole-digging, and watching bugs do their thing are all encouraged.

3. Treat yourself like the either-sex diva you truly are. First, lay in a stock of all those foods you love, but never eat because of cholesterol/sugar/nursey concerns. Then turn off the phone and disconnect the doorbell. Farm the kids out for a day and make sure the pets’ food bowls are full. Sleep late. Take a bubble bath, if that’s your thing. Breakfast on mimosas and a pile of perfectly toasted, perfectly buttered toast. Lunch how you like. Take a long nap, depending on your climate, either indoors or in a hammock. Read a book. Nibble on strawberries. Eat scrambled eggs for dinner. Get a massage. Read Bubbly on Your Budget by Marjorie Hills for more ideas.

And enjoy yourself, at least for a few days. The walls will still be dusty and the flowerbed overrun with bindweed if you feel the urge later on.

Agatha Lellis
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at

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