Making the Most of the Holidays
It's the holiday season. You've booked your time off from work, planned where you're going (or who's coming to you) and you’re excited to finally reconnect with loved ones after an unusually busy year. Holidays are meant to be a break from the craziness – they give us a chance to enjoy special moments and make memories with the people we love.
Sadly, actually fulfilling that yearning for a few nights where “all is calm and all is bright” can be quite stressful. Misbehaving children, older relatives that need extra care, bickering couples, organizing transport and accommodation, spending time to find the right gifts, catering for dietary requirements – with multiple distractions, time can easily feel like it's running away. This was supposed to be a holiday right?
Modern lifestyles are making us stressed, especially in the winter holiday seasons when advertising is at its peak. With so much of our lives being spent in front of screens and digital devices, the exposure to messaging from other people and companies is more extreme than it’s ever been. Somehow, although the internet and social media are amazing at connecting us to others it becomes easy to forget about ourselves.
These days, the relationship with self seems to be one of the hardest to maintain, and it is perhaps because of this that self-care has been taking more of the limelight in recent years. Looking after ourselves is worth the attention. It helps us in our relationships with others, allowing us to be more happy and present, as opposed to giving in to distraction and feelings of being overwhelmed. Despite the many obligations that come along with them, holidays (and their deviation from normal life) provide a perfect chance to work on some healthy habits and activities – and not just for yourself.
Although for many, gift giving has become more of a burden than a joy during the holiday season, it’s important to remember the beauty and power of thoughtful presents. A gift can express how well you know somebody, and that you care about them. When you get it right, it can make a positive impact, not just on your relationship, but in that person’s life as a whole. Gifts are a perfect opportunity to encourage your loved ones to take a break, and to treat themselves to some (very likely much needed, and much neglected) self-care.
This doesn’t need to be extravagant: even setting aside time for a hike or a picnic with someone is likely to be much appreciated. A nice meal, movie tickets, a massage, and pre-paying babysitters or house cleaners are all presents that encourage someone to take some time to themselves. Of course, a gift card for a float fits the bill perfectly – solitude in quiet darkness, with nothing but the peacefulness of a calm imagination, is the ultimate break from responsibility.
Letting go into the warm buoyancy of a float tank, the mind is able to slow down. Breathing deepens, muscles relax, and brainwaves shift down to a less frantic pace (known as entering the theta state). The gift of peaceful sanctuary from daily stresses and social obligations is not only a wonderful present in itself, it’s also likely to make the time that person spends with others more memorable, connected, and joyful.
Floating can be a great primer for a relaxed day out sightseeing or before going to an event. It’s also a wonderful group activity in itself, and taking your family in to float pretty much ensures that whatever you do for the rest of the day is going to be that much more peaceful and pleasant. The nice part about this is it's unlikely people will turn down a float. If they've never tried it it's intriguing, if they’ve floated before - well, you can probably tell by the smile on their face after mentioning the idea.
At the end of it all, floating is about connection - something so many of us are missing. There is the immediate connection with yourself during the float session, but there is also a lasting tranquility and openness that lets us connect that much better with the people around us. Floating has a unique effect of inspiring openness and ease, even in the most Scroogey individuals.
This holiday season, remember to take care of yourself and to encourage others in your life to do the same. That is a real gift, and although floating is only one of many ways to accomplish this, it’s also one of the best.