People rarely appreciate the acres of diamonds in their lives. Off peak lifestyle is one such example.
Everyone dreams about international travel. But then there is the endless planning and running around putting out fires at work and at home just to allow yourself that time away. Many mothers I talk to just cringe at all they have to organize for EVERYONE that it really isn’t even vacation for them.
Staycation is a term that has been used a lot recently. But many times I get the sense that it is a step beneath what anyone really wants. It is almost stated as an apology in place of what one would rather be doing.
Then there is the concept of an “off peak” lifestyle. I love this lifestyle and find it works well for my family and I. We already live in a city that many love to visit. During the weekends, the most popular attractions in the city are full of people and not very enjoyable to attend. However, when I go for my runs on weekdays there is almost no one on the beaches. These beaches which are packed with hundreds of people during the weekends have perhaps a dozen people at best. The gorgeous natural surroundings are the same and it is quiet and peaceful. It is almost dreamlike. My weekday runs are a massive score to enjoy these gorgeous beaches.
This concept also applied to the many children’s attractions when my kids were younger. I would take them and their friends to the attractions around 2 PM after the buses loaded the school children back to school after their field trip. I would take my preschool children at this time to avoid the crowds but still have the benefits of all the staff who were available for the day. The staff were very happy to have the smaller crowds and took ample time with my children consistently.
Attending museums and art galleries during the middle of the week day is another wonderfully relaxing activity. A lot of times it feels as if you took a day off school when you were younger. Maybe this staycation thing is a great idea after all.
The off peak lifestyle also applies to appointments and running errands. There would be minimal wait time for appointments. There is minimal line ups during shopping. The produce was rarely picked over. The shopkeepers were more rested and seemed a lot happier. Everything seems easier. Commuting across town is even easier during mid morning when kids are at school and most people are working.
My version of a good life is to design a life that I don’t need to take a vacation from. I believe if more people designed their normal lives this way, the travel industry would have a difficult time marketing international vacations to you. Your life would feel simple and easy. There would be less need to have to vacate.
Know Your Own Peak Times
I have realized my optimal times during the day occur early in the mornings. I love waking up early and going for a run. The air is crisp and the neighbourhood is just beginning to stir. I make sure to get my most important things done when I am most fresh. When I was working full time, I often worked mornings since by the afternoon I was usually not firing on all cylinders.
Lately, my husband has been taking a day off during the week to simply relax at home. He would use this time to join me for an early morning run, be available to see the kids off to school and we would be able to sit at a cafe in the middle of the day. Simple daily activities outside his normal weekday routine are enough to recharge him. It is such a simple change but very effective.
We rarely use the weekends to do any shopping. The shops are often packed during this time. We learned our lesson when the kids were younger through visiting Ikea and Costco during the weekends. I am embarrassed to admit that our weekends are pretty quiet. While many families are running around, we tend to go on hikes and visit friends instead.
In fact, my off peak lifestyle allows me to say that I am usually “not busy”. I lead a fairly relaxing life. I rarely rush around. It helps that we tend to keep things simple by grouping most of our activities close to home. Aside from my Costco trips, I can buy the majority of my groceries within walking distance from my home. I believe living in an urban neighbourhood is good for the environment. As long as it is close to good public schools and great transportation systems, it helps one to avoid dependence on the car.
Apparently, the top two things that people dislike the most on a day-to-day basis are housework and the daily commute in their cars. This is according to Dan Buettner who writes about Blue Zones. I am not sure how accurate that statement is but it seems plausible.
Nothing works for everyone, but maybe designing some semblance of an off peak lifestyle may simplify your life a bit. Now go and enjoy a slow weekend!