I had to cancel my beach vacation, so I recreated one in my backyard and it gave me a day of much-needed relaxation

Caroline Fox/InsiderI put together a tropical breakfast spread to help transport me to a beachside cafe.
  • In January, my close friends and I took advantage of a cheap flight deal and booked a week-long trip to the Caribbean for the end of March.
  • The trip ended up coinciding with the beginning of closures and travel restrictions across the US, so we decided to cancel the plan.
  • After spending more than a month working from home, I was in desperate need of relaxation and decided to recreate a day at the beach in my backyard.
  • While recreating a tropical vacation at home wasn’t easy, spending time in the sunshine worked wonders for my mood.
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It felt a little too good to be true when my close friends and I booked an absurdly cheap, round-trip flight to the Caribbean in January. The plan was to escape New York City in late March and give ourselves a week on the beach to do nothing but relax.

But starting in mid-March, New York City began to gradually shut down, and travel restrictions were put into place. After debating how bad it really would be to get stuck in the Caribbean for a couple of months, we decided to play it safe and we cancelled the trip.

Since the New York City lockdown, I’ve been working from home and have been craving some relaxation time. So I decided to give myself an at-home “vacation” and recreate a day at the beach in my backyard. Here’s how I did it.

I started my “tropical vacation” by slicing up all the fruit in my fridge to create a huge spread.

Caroline Fox/InsiderMy spread of fruit soaking up the sunlight.

When I imagined my vacation, I envisioned spending every morning with a fresh fruit plate by the ocean. So to start my day, I chopped up all the fruit I had on hand, stirred together a pitcher of cucumber water, and carried my spread out into the sun.

I took a couple of oranges from the plate and made fresh-squeezed orange juice to wash down my breakfast.

Caroline Fox/InsiderDrinking fresh-squeezed orange juice helped transport my mind to a tropical cafe.

I usually spend my days heating up the same cup of coffee about five times, so a cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice was a luxurious treat.

If I were on vacation, I wouldn’t stop at just one breakfast. So for my second course, I decided to indulge in a stack of homemade pancakes.

Caroline Fox/InsiderPancakes with syrup.

I knew that if I were on vacation, I would be eating until I physically couldn’t move, so naturally, I had to replicate a multi-course meal at home.

I also had to FaceTime my friend Vanessa, who was originally supposed to be on vacation with me.

Sophie Glover/InsiderShowing Vanessa breakfast No. 1.

Two of my close friends were supposed to take the trip with me, so I had to include them as best I could under social distancing rules. The CDC recommends staying 6 feet apart from others, so I had my friend Sophie come over to vacation with me from a safe distance, and then we called our other friend, Vanessa, to include her in the day.

Eating the pancakes under the sun while FaceTiming my close friend didn’t feel too far from the real deal.

Caroline Fox/InsiderEnjoying my pancakes on my driveway.

Since I’ve been spending so much time at home, cooking has started to lose its spark. On vacation, I would have avoided all the work and cleanup, so I’ll admit that putting together a full breakfast spread at home did not match up to being on vacation.

However, once I sat down under the sun to dig in and catch up with my friends, the feeling of relaxation started to creep in.

I tried to mimic walking towards the beach after breakfast with a playlist of ocean sounds, although I was only going from my driveway to the grass.

Caroline Fox/InsiderSoothing beach sounds.

Listening to the sound of ocean waves crashing to shore actually helped me escape my reality, even for just an hour or two.

Once on my “beach,” I picked up a good book, sipped on a homemade margarita, and let the sound of the ocean transport me out of my yard.

Sophie Glover/InsiderAllowing myself a break from reading the news was important.

While on vacation I planned to disconnect from reality and not dwell on the news for a couple of days, so I tried to replicate this feeling at home. I picked up a good book, made myself a cocktail, and allowed the sound of virtual waves help me detach from the present for a bit.

When my book slowed down, I tuned into a surfing compilation on YouTube to mimic looking out to the ocean.

Sophie Glover/InsiderWatching surfers is surprisingly meditative.

The video obviously wasn’t identical to being on the beach, but it did help me relax and focus my attention on what was in front of me.

My friends and I planned on doing yoga by the ocean, so I easily recreated a quick flow with the sound of the waves still streaming from my phone.

Sophie Glover/InsiderI worked through a quick 15-minute flow to stretch out my body.

Whether I was breathing in the smell of saltwater or grass, spending time moving my body outside felt really good and helped me release any tension from the week.

I even tried to meditate for five minutes, but my neighbour’s lawnmower drowned out the virtual beach sounds.

Sophie Glover/InsiderTrying to end with a few moments of meditation.

If I were on vacation, I imagine I would be able to carve out a section of the beach to myself for a couple moments of peace and quiet, but finding silence is much more difficult when I am home. However, once I got past the noise, it still felt worthwhile to take a few deep breaths of fresh air.

I ended my day at the “spa,” placing cucumber slices over my eyes and aloe lotion on my arms to hydrate my skin after spending the day in the sun.

Sophie Glover/InsiderA little bit of self-care has the same effect, whether you’re on the beach or in your yard.

I figured I could recreate a little self-care with what I had at home.

Although it was only about 50 degrees in my backyard, the day’s activities really helped me to relax.

Caroline Fox/InsiderI enjoyed my beach day with the help of my best friend, Sophie, who was also supposed to be on the real vacation with me.

Even though I had to cancel my vacation, I was fortunate to be able to recreate bits and pieces at my home. A large portion of my excitement for the trip was the chance to spend time with my close friends, so to have them with me both in person and virtually already helped the day feel more like a break.

I’ll admit, creating an at-home beach day required a decent amount of work, but taking the time to switch up my routine and spend time outside gave me the relaxation I definitely needed.

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