30 Lessons from 30 Floats
I am one month and 25 days into my year of giving myself the gift of a year of self-love and one of the best gifts that I regularly give myself is the gift of flotation therapy. I found Total Rejuvenation fourteen months ago and absolutely love my time in the bliss of complete darkness of the float room or pod. Here are thirty lessons I’ve learned from 3600 minutes of floating.
30. The first time may not be what you expect.
I love being in the water. I was in the water the day before my first child was born and I continue to teach swim lessons in my upper thirties. When I first signed up to visit Total Rejuvenation’s float pod in October of 2017, I expected to be immediately in love with the tank and enjoy my full 90 minutes of blissful solitude (after all I had just been on a field trip with preschoolers!). But my first experience was not 90 minutes of bliss. It was relaxing, but I definitely did not make it a full 90 minutes. My bladder got the better of me and I think I had salt in my eyes. At about 75 minutes, I called it quits for the day. Even though the experience wasn’t quite what I expected, I still wanted to return and try it again.
29. Solitude is not equivalent to loneliness.
There are many times I feel society saying that I should never crave solitude or the quiet of being alone, but solitude is not the same as loneliness. Solitude is the joy of being comfortable in one’s own thoughts and in one’s own company. Loneliness is when you don’t feel connected to others. But, when you are content with your own thoughts, you will not be lonely.
28. Hydration is critical before you float.
We should all drink plenty of water, but it is even more important when you are going to be in an environment that is purposefully providing your body detoxification. I find that if I can over-saturate my body the day before my float, I generally have a more enjoyable float experience. So, if you generally drink your 8 glasses of water, you may want to drink 10 the day before you float.
27. Salt in wounds hurts.
If you have a scratch, put the petroleum jelly on it. If you get salt in a sore, it will hurt and your float will be much less enjoyable.
26. Meditation does not equal an empty mind.
Before I started on a true meditation journey, I thought that meditation meant emptying my mind entirely. Instead, it simply means being aware of thoughts and being able to focus on one thing at a time. In the darkness of a float tank, I see many thoughts come and go. Usually, I can find a way to center myself. I have learned over time that the best way to do this is to focus on taking deep breaths in and out and by doing that, even when my mind wanders (which it will), I am able to focus on my breath and return to the present moment.
25. My phone does not need to be an additional appendage of my body.
Do you remember when you were in high school or college and your phone was tethered to the radius of what it could reasonably pick up within its cordless radius? Do you remember that it had to actually be out of your hand while it was charging and it was not an additional appendage of your body? It wasn’t until about 8 years ago that SmartPhones started making appearances and we survived without knowing every single thing that was happening at every single minute of every single day in someone else’s life. I can put my phone down and the world still moves IRL - even if I am not following all of you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at every minute of the day.
24. Expectations shift (and that’s okay)
Sometimes my expectations are that I can go in, shut the light off, and float into oblivion. But sometimes when I am in the float room or float pod, the reality is that I am having a day where I am not able to quiet my mind. If you allow for the expectations to shift, that’s okay.
I love the quotes all over the Total Rejuvenation space. This is on the door to the Roxana float room and I love just “being.”
22. Drink water-and plenty of it-after your float.
Once you’ve floated, your body is detoxing. When that happens, you need to re-hydrate. If you don’t you’ll end up with a float hangover. It’s similar to the feeling after a massage if you don’t drink enough water. Take a bottle of water on your way out the door and do a better job than I do of actually drinking it.
21. Salt pulls toxins out of our bodies.
The volume of Epsom salt in the float room or pod is equivalent to 1200-1600 lbs. That’s 7 lbs of salt per gallon. This will pull A LOT of toxins out of your body. And if you’re like me, and most other people in the U.S., the amount of toxins we put in our bodies is astounding. So, if I can do something in between the bouts of my health conscience eating and the times that life gets in the way to pull those toxins out of my body, why wouldn’t I?
20. Meditation is a lot like listening. Watch your thoughts come and watch your thoughts go.
There’s a YouTube video that I watched on listening a few years ago. Celeste Headlee says to forget everything you’ve ever heard about listening, because when you are truly listening, you will not need to have an answer ready before the speaker is done speaking. She said, “Go with the flow. That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind.” Meditation is similar in that you will see your thoughts come and go as you fully relax in the float tank.
19. Make sure your phone is truly off.
I have had a couple times when I have thought my phone was shut off, but it wasn’t truly off. So, if you take your phone back to the room with you, make sure that you shut it all the way off. For android users, this might mean that you have to follow the additional directions to get your phone completely powered off.
18. Floating may not be for everyone.
Total Rejuvenation does this amazing service for everyone who buys a membership. They can bring one NEW guest each month for free. Sadly, only 5 of my family/friends have joined me in the floating world. As far as I know, the only one who has decided that she’d like to return is my 8 year old daughter that made it a whole 20 minutes into her float session. But, it’s okay. Floating may not be for everyone - but, you also have to commit to at least three floats to see if it will truly work for you.
16. Water is life.
Water is a metaphor for my life. It can be calm. It can be swift. It can be raging. The water during my float sessions is my calm.
15. Do not over detox in one day.
One day I tried to do a huge relaxation day. I scheduled a float, had lunch with my friend, got my nails done, and had a massage. By the time I got to my massage, I was miserable because I hadn’t been drinking enough water. As important as it is to detox, I found for myself, it was equally important not to detox all at once.
14. Be patient with yourself if your mind is busy.
My mind is busy. So are most people’s minds. When you have a float where your mind is busy, be patient with yourself. Sometimes we all have those days and it’s okay.
13. My family can survive without me for 2 hours every two weeks.
I am the default parent. Every. Single. Question. Comes to mom. It is exhausting. For two hours, approximately every 2 weeks, I give myself permission to not be “mom,” disconnect from the world and float away.
12. I will never, ever, ever figure out ear plugs.
Josh and Jake always do a great job of explaining ear plugs, but I just don’t know how to use them. As a long-time swimmer, you’d think I would have at least tried them, but I hadn’t until my 26th float. It is actually more comfortable for me to NOT wear ear plugs than to have them in. So, the Universe can have this one. Laying in the water, doesn’t hurt my ears, so I’ll keep doing it that way.
10. This was the calm of my storm.
Almost the entire last half of 2018 was a storm in my life. Flotation therapy was my calm. It gave me the space to find compassion for myself, forgiveness for myself, and the patience to forgive others. When everything spiraled into a state of turbulence in my life, I knew that I could find calm in the waters of my float and the chaos of my mind by simply taking time to relax into oblivion.
9. I can find peace within myself.
Although we often want to find peace by focusing on others’ vision of ourself, I find that the best peace of mind is within myself. Floating--being alone with my thoughts--has given me this gift.
8. When my mind gets busy, I can focus on the breath.
As I mentioned before, sometimes my mind is busy. When I need to focus on one thing, I can simply focus on breathing in and breathing out. As I do that, I am able to relax and let my mind be less focused on all the things in the future or the past, and more focused on the present moment.
7. Flotation therapy helps build my immune system.
I went for about 6 weeks without my regular float schedule. Add not being able to float with “burnout” and my immune system plummeted. In September, I had pneumonia. That was the worst physical illness I have had in my adult life. It affected me for weeks. Couple that with employment stress and an optic nerve being swollen and you have a very weak immune system. But once I started a regular floating schedule again, and made other changes in my life, I am much healthier.
6. Eat healthy - especially before a float.
When I don’t eat healthy before a float, I feel really gross in the salt-water. I have had acid reflux since I was 17 and it often surfaces with vengeance when I lay down flat for a long time. But, if I have eaten healthy, it is much less likely to interact with my peacefulness.
4. Float therapy in conjunction with exercise and eating well supports weight loss.
There’s a trifecta in my life that has supported weight loss. Flotation therapy, mediation, and Noom. Flotation therapy without participating in other healthy habits will not make you magically lose weight, but if you add it to other things that you are doing, you will see results, maybe quicker, but definitely more long-term.
3. I am so much more than a mom.
With all the busyness of running from activity to activity and being part of the “always-on” culture, the thought often crosses my mind that I am not enough. When life blesses us with the title of mom, many times we lose ourselves; but, it is important to know that I am so much more than mom. I am creative. I am collaborative. I am supportive. I am patient. I am a writer. I am a novelist. I am so much more than a mom, but I had to learn that lesson.
2. Creativity happens when our brain is not focused on what is next, but on the present moment.
When I am in a float, the only thing that matters is being there. In that moment. And sometimes that is when the most creative ideas of all surface.
1. 3600 minutes of self-love equals a kinder, happier, and more peaceful person.
Thirty 90-minute floats add up to 3600 minutes of flotation therapy. In the last 14 months, I have become a kinder, happier, and more peaceful person. Again, this cannot all be contributed to flotation therapy, but it sure has helped.
These are my 30 reasons to participate in flotation therapy. What will yours be?