Everybody needs some time to relax. With the start of the new year and so many things happening politically, it is important to remember to take care of yourself too! Perhaps that was on the list for your New Years Resolutions? At the end of January is it still okay to talk about resolutions? Or are they the ghosts of holidays past by now? Well, my resolutions are still ongoing, so I'm going to share with you one of mine: Take time to mentally relax at least once a month.
For me, mental relaxation can be achieved many different ways - knitting, spending a day hiking, staring into a campfire, watching the clouds, watching the stars, staring at a calm sea - basically anything that cuts out stimulus, reduces excitement, and lets me put my brain on Auto Pilot.
Watching TV doesn't count since the whole purpose is to excite the brain and get you to watch the next show. Sports and reading, while physically relaxing, don't allow my mind to just wander where it will. Physical relaxation, both active and passive, are also super important - but not the focus of this post. Perhaps there will be a future post on physical relaxation in the future, but for now let's get back to mental relaxation!
The activities that I use for mental relaxation often take a while. Staring at the clouds for 10 minutes is great, but it doesn't help as much as an afternoon would. But setting aside a whole afternoon for cloud-gazing isn't really feasible, there's too much to do and I'd end up feeling guilty about taking that much time for myself when there are adventures to be had elsewhere.
So - what have I found to help that I want to share? FLOATING.
Okay, hippy-dippy stuff generally gets met with a bog ol' spoonful or skepticism from me. Crystal powers, rainbow water, astrology, and the power of magnets may be really helpful for some folks, that's awesome. For me, my skepticism doesn't allow the placebo affect or any affect to really kick in.
When I bought some discount passes to this new floatation center that was opening up nearby, I thought I would try it out. After all, skepticism isn't about not attempting things or not enjoying things, I have crystals all over my house - but if you sliced your finger in my kitchen I'm running for a Band-Aid and not grabbing some rocks to put on it!
So - new experience, new local business getting some luv, the float tanks weren't really tanks but rather extra-extra large bathtubs, only takes an hour...cool, I'll check it out!
It. Was. AWESOME!
Basically you go in, take off your shoes, and pour yourself some mint tea. You are led to a small bathroom and the person checks that you have earplugs and if you want music etc. There are towels already in the room, a bench to keep your stuff off the floor, a hook for your jacket - all the basics. Everything is the same creamy white color that turns everything sort of purple in the light.
The lights are low, its warm, there's soft music, you strip, put your things away, turn off your phone, take off any jewelry, and hop into the shower room. The shower room has all the supplies. You rinse off, wet your hair down, put in your earplugs. If you nicked yourself shaving the day before - they give you individual packets of petroleum jelly to put over the wound.
Then, you enter the tub. It really is just a super-big bathtub. The water is body temperature, not hot for a bath, not so cold you shiver. The water feels slick - there's so much Epsom salt in the water it is very easy to float. There is a noodle if you need it, just so you don't have to worry. You lay back and watch the lights slowly change color on the ceiling. You can't feel the edges of the tub, the plain ceiling is your whole frame of vision. You can hear music playing softly even though your ears are under the water. Slowly the light fades. Then, the lights turn off. The room is black, there are no windows, no light filtering through the door. You can't see the ceiling, you can't see the door, you can't see your hand in front of your face.
After that it gets really individual. There's reading on the subject and some scholarly reporting, but for me it is like taking a fast-lane into meditation-ville. It still has all the usual steps - random thoughts, saying hello and goodbye to unwanted thoughts, chill-zone, breathing, then fireworks and lights and all sorts of things, but the details are different for everyone.
What's important is that I'm in deep mental relaxation within minutes. I can stay that way for about 50 minutes before the session time is up. That time is deep, very deep, and where it would take me a whole afternoon to really get into it at home or while cloud-gazing, I'm out flying with the stars within 10 minutes of dropping by the float center.
Eventually the lights slowly start to come on, you come back to yourself, step out of the tub and back into the shower. I notice that the Epsom salt makes crystals all along my body where the water met my skin. It is kind of neat to be your own crystal-farm!
As you step out of the shower the tub has started to drain itself. Everything is where it needs to be and everything that needs to be done is being done. I refill my tea with warm water, get dressed, and step into the prep room where I can dry my hair and wake up a bit more while the staff handle any cleaning and room prep needed for the next person.
I'm happily buzzed for the rest of the day and into the rest of the week - and I still have the rest of that day to get things done, go on adventures, or just kick back and really get into some knitting.
It costs between $45-60 a session, so not something I can do every week, or even every month, but prices vary greatly all around the world and it may be more or less affordable depending on who you are and where you live. So - if floating is something you have heard of but didn't know if you should try - I encourage you to give it a shot!
PS - I'm not linking the site of the place I went to because this is not a paid ad. This is just my experience of a new adventure. If you'd like to have the website for the specific place I went to - just send me a message using the contact buttons under my profile photo.
Cheers and happy adventuring!