School is returning in many parts of the world this month, but in this Covid-19 landscape it’s been a difficult time for many people who would ordinarily be returning to work fresh from a holiday. With borders, states and regions closed in many countries of the world, the opportunity to relax on sandy beaches, decompress among lush forests, or immerse in new cultures has been drastically limited.
Our purpose of Improving Lives for Generations includes caring for our people and the communities they live in, so we’ve encouraged all our colleagues around the world to make sure they’re taking breaks from work, to ensure they’re looking after themselves and their family and friends’ mental and physical wellbeing.
We spoke to some of our colleagues who, in light of Covid-19 travel restrictions, still made the most of some time off and enjoyed a relaxing break with a difference! Here are their top staycation tips:
1. Celebrate birthdays with a back-garden camping adventure!
Enrique Estrada, Head of Category Planning and Development, LATAM, had his 11 year-old daughter’s birthday to celebrate. With their original birthday celebration plans no longer possible, and not one to disappoint, Enrique got creative with a backyard camping adventure. “My daughter loves the outdoors and we had originally planned to go camping outside Mexico City in a nearby forest a couple of hours away. With lockdown still in place across Mexico, we simply moved our adventure to the backyard complete with bonfire, BBQ dinner, s’mores, and fireside stories. We made the weekend birthday celebration one to remember.”
2. Fun activities at home
Hiroshi Ishii, FBS Sales Manager, Northern Asia, isn’t letting the limitations keep him from getting fresh air and exercise. He and his family spend time in the garden playing a quick game of tennis to unwind and keep their racquet skills in tune.
And Shunpei Sakamoto, FBS Sales Manager, Northern Asia, is making sure his family keeps their minds and baking skills nimble by doing crafts and baking cookies.
3. Find your green thumb by remodeling the garden
Kitty Appleby, Global Internal Communications Manager, UK, chose to use some leave time to get her hands dirty in the garden. “After moving into our first home some years back we kept putting off doing it and instead taking holidays away from home. But a renewed appreciation for our outdoor space when there are few other places you can go, inspired us to take action. It may have been hard, physical labour, but the time away from work, emails and meetings really helped to settle my mind. I even found myself letting my personal mobile run down. I felt refreshed coming back to work – although my dirty nails not so much!”
Hazel Leiva, Technical Service, Costa Rica, took advantage of the nice weather and time at home to 'release her inner plant-lady spirit' and update her garden. "Watering plants and taking care of them has really helped to reduce stress."
4. Plan your staycation days ahead of time
Matt Wagg, Digital Channels Specialist, UK, was able to use the lockdown period in London to plan a roadtrip for when the rules were relaxed. Once it was allowed, Matt carpooled with a friend who was travelling to see family in Wales, where he stayed by the coast for three weeks in an extended bubble. “Planning made the carpooling opportunity a no-brainer, as we were able to safely travel and avoid unnecessary public transport. Then, whilst staying with a household in my extended bubble, it was only a 20-minute walk down to the local beach, and a short drive to some amazing countryside and coastal hikes. For other staycation days, I made sure just to clear my diary, turn off my emails and get outside without the noise of social media always in my brain. A proper digital detox!”
5. Embrace the outdoors
Torri Heckel, Supply Chain Black Belt, Decatur, IL, US, loves to stay fit and get outdoors with her children as often as they can: “We get out into nature as much as possible - it is so important for my children to grow up understanding how vital it is to be active and to appreciate the world around them.”
Josh Green, Grain Elevator Manager, Coles, IL, US, makes the most of their own outdoors on their family farm with a spot of fishing, swimming or tubing!
Here’s how we’ve been supporting colleagues who are working from home, and our nutrition team’s top tips for maintaining a healthy and varied diet during lockdown.