Cape Town - To begin with 2018 was unofficially dubbed as '20Greateen' and people are calling it the year of self-care and self-love.
The latest Pinterest stats echo this notion with the spike in searches for self-care and staycation activities.
While the usual travel trends identified by Pinterest include climbing mountains, visiting Mediterranean islands and exploring the world's deserts, another category that will keep vacation-lovers closer to home popped up.
Searches for "self care" hiked up by an incredible 537% last year, leading researchers to identify that the "self-care staycation" will be one of 2018's top trends.
"We're seeing this self-care come into clear focus as something that people consider to be essential to health and wellbeing," says Larkin Brown, a user researcher at Pinterest. "People are actively creating spaces and setting aside the time to focus on themselves and find balance in their lives."
More often than not, when planning a vacation we become focused on how we ought to be when we take a vacation. How we should look, act or feel to travel, and the staycation is here to combat this idea of being the "right sort of you" to indulge in adventure.
The premise of the staycation is indulging yourself in a feat of self-care and being selfish in treating yourself to everything you would usually postpone due to busy schedules and the pressures of daily life.
"Ultimately, self-care retreats are about doing something that brings you joy, calms your mind, and leaves you feeling refreshed and better able to handle some of the stresses of everyday life," says Brown.
Here's how to indulge in a staycation and embrace '20Greateen'
Home or roam?
Think about where you'd like to treat yourself. If you're feeling for a bit of indulgence, book yourself into some scenic and relaxing local accommodation. If you can't spin for that, the comfort of home can serve just as well.
The key to setting the tone for your staycation is making sure that, wherever you choose to stay, the environment is a pleasant and peaceful one to melt away the stress of everyday life. Make sure your home is clean and tidy beforehand and maybe pop some scented candles and fairy lights up to set your staycation mood.
Unplug the digi-bug
"Unplugging" is an important factor to a relaxing and peaceful staycation.
You may tick off some things on your to-do list, but staycationers are advised to stay offline as much as possible.
A lot of the time, the online space can be a hostile place and can suffocate you with a plethora of negative news or even just the pressures to be a perceived type of perfect.
The staycation implores you to turn on an out-of-office message, turn off push-alerts for social media and news, and avoid any non-essential emails. Not only will this give your shoulders a break from hunched posture we spend so much time in, it will also allow you some much needed breathing space.
Let your eyes rest on something fresh
Even though it's called the staycation, it doesn't mean you have to stay put in one place.
Treat yourself to something you've always wanted to see but maybe never had the chance to. Go see that new museum or try out that one cafe you've always been putting off.
If you're in a new place, learn about its history, explore its cuisine and meet some locals - it could be a refreshing experience and change of pace.
Peep some sleep
Catch up on that rest you've been depriving yourself of in the name of deadlines, insomnia, the addictiveness of social media or series binging.
If you find that getting sufficient sleep at home is not possible, a study from University of Colorado shows that camping works wonders to realign your internal body clock.
But since your self-care staycation is meant to be luxurious, you need not pitch a tent. You should, however, try to get in as much natural light throughout the day as possible in order to reap similar benefits, make sure that no light gets in at night either and ensure that there are no cell phones or computers in the bedroom - as the light emitted from these keeps you awake longer.
Nature for nurture
Go outside and smell the roses - literally.
One of 2017's popular explorer trends was 'forest bathing' - the Japanese practice of spending time in nature. Even if you're located in a city, head out to a park with a picnic blanket, some of your favourite treats and a book to get some fresh air. This will also help with your intake of natural light.
Plan yourself a pamper hamper
Since the staycation focuses on self-care and indulgence, to avoid slipping into usual and routine weekend or home habits and stresses, treat yourself to some personal wellness rituals.
Book yourself into a spa for a day or even just for a massage, mani or pedi. Plan for where and what you'd want to eat, try out a new workout or dance class and gather some books or series you've been waiting to read or watch - but be wary of taking in too much of digital light.
Get yourself a souvenir
A souvenir is a great way to memorialise your self-care staycation. It will offer you the means of having a momento to remind you of the pleasant and peaceful experience and remind you of the importance to take care of yourself.
The souvenir doesn't have to be extravagant, it can be something simple - like a scented candle, a new luffa sponge or a new book for your next staycation.
However you choose to spend your staycation - never forget that it's about self-care and self-love. So treat yourself and don't defeat yourself!