Floating for mental health

floating-for-my-mental-health

I went floating for the first time Thursday night. Float therapy is sensory deprivation therapy and is used to help the body completely let go of stress while at the same time increase mental clarity and physical health.

After my Denver This Is My Brave Producer Lauren posted about how she had floated, I was thrilled to find out a place called OmFloat had opened in my town.

All I knew going into it as that it was like a bath tub with a lid, and the water was full of salt so you float effortlessly. Meditation is the goal while you’re floating in this pod. I’ve been trying to meditate off and on for the past few years, and this seemed like the ideal way to be completely isolated, in a way forcing myself to be still and quiet and unplugged. I signed up for a membership right away, my monthly appointment for selfcare.

I hoped on the driver over that I’d enjoy it because I was now locked into a 12-month contract. On the way home I was wishing how I could float weekly instead of monthly.

The owners Brooks and Amy are friendly and warm. They’ve been floating since 2003, so I knew I was with knowledgable folks; they weren’t in it because it’s a fad. Brooks took myself and the three others who were there to float at 7pm back to one of the rooms for an intro and some tips. Then we each made our way to our own private float room.

The room was about ten feet by twelve feet if I had to guess. Soft meditation music began playing the moment I closed and locked my door. The pod takes up most of the space in the room, with a wooden bench running alongside it. The floors are covered with the webbed flooring that you see in pool locker rooms, so the water drains through. I undressed, put in the play-doh-like wax ear plugs, and showered before opening the door to the pod.

I was surprised that there was no light on inside the pod, since I was expecting there to be a soft light that would fade off when the music faded after the first fifteen minutes, but there was no such light. The music was perfect and so soothing though, that I was able to step into the skin-temperature water, close the door to the pod, and lay back into a float. In the first moments of floating it’s a little scary. It felt like I was floating in outer space somewhere. Except for the first few minutes I’d float over to the side and my arm would bump the side of the pod. Once I found the center and was able to stay there, that’s when the fun started.

The feeling of weightlessness in a dark space is difficult to describe. The music helped me to relax. I found I had to tell myself, you are safe, several times to stay calm and relaxed. After fifteen minutes the music faded to silence and all I could hear was my own breath. Brooks had mentioned in his intro talk that we’d be able to hear our breath and our heartbeats, and to focus on them as we meditated. My heartbeat was like a whisper, so I tried to focus on the rhythm of my breathing. My breath was intensified by the earplugs which kept the saltwater out of my ears.

I floated with my arms up above my head for half the time, but when I felt a cramp form in my left arm which didn’t go away after focusing on it for awhile, I knew I had to shift position. I gently moved my arms to my side and began to settle back into the state of mindfulness I was in before the move. The rest of my time in the pod flew by because the next thing I knew my entire body was slowly brought back to reality from complete relaxation by the sounds of soft chimes. Soft lights came on within the pod and I opened my eyes and sat up.

I took my time getting out of the pod and showering. My body felt so light. It was as if all my stress was detangled and unwound.

I definitely need more practice at releasing my thoughts as they pop up while I’m meditating, but I hear you get better at that with practice. I can’t wait to float again.

If you’re local to the Ashburn, Virginia area and want to try OmFloat for $49 for your first float, email me at: jennifer(at)thisismybrave.org for a certificate. If I refer three people I will earn a free float. :)

Happy Floating!

Why I love Stitch Fix

Why I love Stitch Fix bipolar mom life

It’s no surprise to my close friends that I’m in love with Stitch Fix. I’ve been using the service for the past few years on an occasional basis, although you can sign up for a monthly subscription if you want. It’s one way I cover self-care, since as a work-at-home-mom, sometimes I end up neglecting the importance of making time for myself. Stitch Fix has been a wonderful addition to my self-care routine and could be for you, too.

Stitch Fix makes shopping as easy as 1-2-3:

1 – Style Profile

You start by filling out a Style Profile which is what your personal stylist will use when choosing which items to include in your box. You can specify if you’d like only tops (like i did in this box) or a mix of tops, bottoms, dresses and/or accessories. You fill in your preferences on the type of fits you like, as well as your feelings on varieties of styles so that your stylist can get a sense of your likes and dislikes when it comes to fashion. You can even request certain colors if you want. The more detail you include in your Style Profile, the closer your stylist will be able to get to finding pieces you love.

2 – Pick a Date

Then you choose the date you’d like to receive your box. I tend to request a box when I have a big event coming up or a special trip. Part of the fun in choosing a date is the anticipation of the Fix arrival! I’ve even used a Fix as incentive to meet my fitness goals. You enter your payment info and when your stylist puts your Fix together and it ships out, you’re charged the $20 styling fee. (Shipping to you and any items you return to Stitch Fix is free.)

3 – Have fun trying on your Fix

After you receive your Fix, you have 3 days to try on your items with things you have at home. This is the fun part. I like to save my experience for once the kids are in bed, so that I can really enjoy mixing the pieces with items I already have in my closet.

Decide what you’ll keep and what you’ll return (if anything!). Stitch Fix sends you those neat cards I photographed above, so that fashion-challenged ladies like me can get an idea of how to dress up or dress down any piece. They also send you an inventory sheet, which lists each item with its price. They deduct the styling fee from whatever you purchase, plus, they give you 25% off if you decide to keep all 5 items!

Once you’ve made your decisions, you go to StitchFix.com to check out and pay for whatever you decide to keep. If you need to send anything back, they include a postage-paid envelope that you can stick in your mailbox for returning. So easy.

Stitch Fix Bipolar Mom Life

If any of your friends sign up for a Fix using your Referral Link, you earn a $25 credit towards your next Fix.

This time around I ended up keeping the entire Fix. My favorite piece is probably the coral tank with crochet detail at the bottom by May Pink. I had asked my stylist to include a cardigan in this Fix, and the white one she chose is so soft and is perfect to layer over these tops. I loved the colors she chose, and everything fit to a T. I know these are going to be my go-to summer pieces for the next few months.

If you’re like me and have little to no time to spend cruising the mall for new items to add to your wardrobe, you may want to give Stitch Fix a try. Careful though, it’s a teeny bit addicting. ;)