I’ve had an incredibly busy and stressful few weeks. You, too, huh? Working, training and momming has left me stressed, frazzled and drained. Can I get an “Amen?”
So, this weekend, I decided to try something new to unwind and recharge my batteries. I spent an afternoon at Source On High in Lexington, Kentucky and went for a float in their Float Tank.
Now, most of you are probably thinking, “a float WHAT?” Well, a Float Tank is like a big pod that’s filled with warm water and 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt. In an incredibly rough description, it’s kinda’ like taking a warm, relaxing bath….inside an egg. Really.
When I first saw the Float Tank, I was a little surprised at how big it was. I was actually expecting it to be quite a bit smaller. I was a bit worried I might even get claustrophobic at the idea of climbing inside and shutting the lid. But, the staff was quick to tell me there are lots of options on how to float: door open, door closed, music, silence, colored lights or darkness.
I decided to float in total darkness and with the door fully closed. I figured if I’m gonna do this, I should do it all the way.
They recommend a 60 minute float on your first time and that you float naked (and you know I have no shame stripping down.) So, I hopped into the Float Tank in my birthday suit and waited to see what happened.
The first thing you can’t help but notice is the feeling of weightlessness. With 1,200lbs of Epsom salt and 200 gallons of water in there, you’re going to completely float. It’s such an interesting feeling to have your body completely float without any effort.
Once inside, I was left in complete darkness, total silence and with only my thoughts. At first, I tried to force myself to relax (is that an oxymoron?) Even though I tried to relax, my mind kept going back to my grocery list, what I was going to wear to dinner that night and the millions of things in my to do list. So, I used the sage yoga advice and started focusing on my breathing.
The longer I floated, the easier it was for me to relax.
I never once felt claustrophobic. As a matter of fact, deep in my float, I actually thought, “it’s like I’m in a huge cave in here.”
After an hour of floating, it was time to come back to reality. I used the shower in the room to get off all of the salty sludge. While I was in the shower, I found myself realizing how relaxed my limbs were and actually kind of dreading the time when I turned my cell phone back on and reentered the reality of overstimulation.
If you’re like me, every minute of my day is filled with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Momming, Working, Lifting and, well, stress — it’s almost sensory overload. So, to be alone with just my thoughts was incredibly calming. Almost blissful.
For me, the Float Tank was a scheduled time that made me just stop. It was like floating meditation. A time to unplug, relax and just be. Man, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Just you and your thoughts inside a water-filled egg.
The biggest draw of the Float Tank for me was relaxation, but for all my lifting girls, there’s an added bonus. There’s been plenty of research showing that Float Tanks can help with athletic performance. Articles like this show research that list the benefits of floating to include everything from reducing coritsol levels, eliminating muscle fatigue and even increasing creativity. Heck, athletes like Steph Curry are even singing the praises of floating. (For you non-sportsy ladies, Steph Curry is the hottest player in the NBA right now. He’s kind of a big deal.) Check out this feature that Sports Center did on Steph Curry and his thoughts on using the Float Tank. And, if it’s good enough for Steph Curry, it’s good enough for me…
Bottom line: you need time to unwind and relax. It’s imperative for your mental and physical state. And if you’re like me, it’s hard to carve out time to make myself mediate or relax. Scheduling a float made me do just that: unwind and decompress.
If you’re looking for a way to make yourself unplug, and we all need to unplug, try a float. If you’re like me, you’ll walk away feeling lighter, calmer, peaceful….and if it gives me an edge in the gym, I’ll certainly take it.