I recently won two floats at FloatWell, which was exciting because I’d been dying to try one for ages; but like everything else, it fell under the “one day, when I get a chance…” category. So when I won the vouchers to float with a friend, it was the perfect opportunity to try it out – and because they had an expiry date, I couldn’t procrastinate any longer.
For those who haven’t heard of floating, it’s where you float in a pod on 30cm of water that has had a massive amount (500kg!!) of Epsom salts dissolved in it. The water and air in the pod are heated to body temperature, so you can’t really tell where the water ends and the air begins. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to float in space, or on a cloud basking in the warm sun? This is the next best thing. Floating can help ease stress, promotes relaxation, meditation and self-reflection, helps ease joint and muscle aches and pains, and you even absorb some magnesium from the Epsom salts (great in aiding good sleep habits and muscle recovery). You can read more about the benefits of floating here.
Sometimes, life presents you with golden opportunities. I just didn’t realise at the time quite how golden this experience would be!
My partner loves floating and so we decided this would be a great date night activity (even though we’d be spending our float sessions in completely separate rooms, haha!) – and let’s be honest, as parents, an offer of relaxing alone for an hour in a warm, peaceful, quiet environment is not something you say no to! So we asked mum to watch the kids for us, and booked it in.
Littlest Man does not have the best track record at being left with anyone other than us at the moment as he’s going through a bit of separation anxiety (a phase that I’m pretty sure started at birth and I’m hoping will end before he turns 18), so naturally my anxiety and mum guilt over leaving him for a few hours was quite high. I tried to pump off some milk for him, but couldn’t get much out because a) I’d left it to the last minute, so Murphy’s Law was kicking in, b) I hadn’t pumped in a while so my boobs were like “what the hell are you doing?” and c) I was quite stressed, which can mess with your supply big time. Littlest Man is on solids and will quite happily drink water during the day so it didn’t really matter whether I’d be able to pump much or not, but when you’re rushing around like a mad hen, logic is not always the loudest voice in your head. And just to make sure I was really stressed, a big storm had also decided to come and party in Wellington that day, so I was facing driving not just into the city, but also in the wind and rain, neither of which I particularly like doing. Let’s just say… I really needed this float. I needed time to take off my mum hat and my stress coat and just chill the heck out. I was the perfect candidate to test out the relaxing effects of floating.
I arrived in Wellington CBD and, not knowing what the parking situation would be like, grabbed the first one I could find – even though I knew it was a couple blocks away. I got out of the car and was instantly hit with gale force winds. I was surprised that there was so much rain because it was so bloody cold I was sure the rain drops should’ve been turning to ice in midair. So I ran towards FloatWell with great enthusiasm (in my boots that were not made for running), past all the empty car parks right outside the building and met my partner at the building entrance. Once I caught my breath, we said hello and hugged, and I told him (again) about how much I hate running and how I’m never doing it again. I think my heart rate was almost back to normal by the time we got up the stairs to the FloatWell reception (two and a half minutes running from the car park and you’d think I’d just sprinted a half marathon…). The reception of FloatWell is instantly calming; it’s peaceful, there are plants and comfy couches, and a totally zen vibe. As soon as I walked in, I knew I had to try and put the day behind me: it was float time!
Sam, one of the super awesome owners of FloatWell took us back to the floating rooms and gave me a bit of a rundown of the whole process while my partner went off to his room for his session. I was quite nervous pre-float as I wasn’t sure what I was meant to do, but Sam explained everything really well and made sure I was sorted and comfortable before she left me to it. She told me how to turn the lights on and off, let me know that music would play at the beginning and the end of my float, and recommended that I use the time at the end to maybe stretch out or just enjoy the last ten minutes of the float waking up. I’d also read through the FAQ’s on their website the night before, which helped demystify the process as well.
Jumping into the float was a bit surreal. Even though I knew the salt water would hold me, it still surprised me just how buoyant I was in such a shallow pool! It still took me a while to relax and let my head hang into the water. I tried to actively relax my muscles by tensing and releasing, which helped a lot. By the time the beginning music had ended I was well and truly floating. I’d stopped trying to hold my head up, and I’d tried a few different positions to suss out what felt most comfortable for me. While I was still working on trusting that I wouldn’t sink, I found that holding my arms above my head rather than by my side made me feel way less vulnerable; after I’d been in there for a while I preferred lying in the savasana yoga pose (hands down by sides, palms up, heels roughly hip width apart with toes being allowed to gently fall open) – but this may be because I associate that pose with relaxation and meditation, so it really is a personal preference however which way you want to float. I felt like I was gently swirling, which was nice. I tried lights on and lights off, and enjoyed them both equally. But the best part was that I didn’t lie there the whole time panicking about the kids like I thought I would. For those who don’t know, I’ve unfortunately been struggling with post natal anxiety lately – with the odd panic attack and a lot of over thinking – so I was worried that I would either feel claustrophobic and have a mental breakdown, or not be able to relax because I was too busy stressing about how the kids (and mum!) were coping… But actually, neither happened. In the pod you have full control over the lid and lights, so for me that eliminated the feeling of being trapped, and some kind of salt water magic happened in that room, because the one thought I had about the kids was “huh… I’ve been in here a while and haven’t worried or thought about the kids” and then that thought literally just floated away (pun intended)! I have a wonderful history of holding on to my worries, so this was a completely surprising – and wonderful – experience for me: to instantly let something go. To be honest, I didn’t really think about anything other than the floating sensation and how nice the warmth was. As mamas, we often work under a huge mental and emotional load, so it was amazing to leave that all outside and just be.
At the end of my float, music started playing and I started to “wake up”. I hadn’t been asleep (I don’t think) but I was so relaxed that I was definitely in a bit of a daydream state – so when I heard my partner’s voice start talking, it took me a second to realise that it actually was his voice! My ears were under water with wax ear plugs in, so it felt like the music and his voice were playing from within my own head – sounds weird, but it’s very cool.
He started by saying something along the lines of “hey babe, your float’s almost up, but first I’d like to tell you a bit about how much I love you and some of the reasons why…” and boy did the tears start rolling! I was so surprised and touched. His message was so thoughtful and personal; I remember thinking “god, it sounds like he’s reading wedding vows!”
After he’d talked about all these wonderful things (in his super smooth, velvety voice, I might add) he asked me to hop out, put my robe on, and meet him at the door. I tell you what, I couldn’t get that pod open fast enough! I robed up, opened the door, looked down the stairs, and saw the love of my life kneeling there, ring box in hand.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
I’d like to say I kept my cool, but I just burst into tears again, leant against the door, and said “are you serious??” He told me I had to actually come down the stairs, to which I responded ever so gracefully “it’s too slippery!” but went down anyway, because hello the man had just proposed! This part is a bit foggy in my memory (I went from sensory deprivation to sensory overload!), but luckily my partner had organised for Sam to record the whole thing from down the hall way, so I was able to relive it later on (and will continue to relive it again and again, I’m sure!). Unfortunately because I was in shock and didn’t come down straight away it kind of looks like he’s proposing to an empty doorway, but ya know… We know I’m hiding in there somewhere!
He then asked me to get dressed as quickly as possible, then meet him in reception where he had celebratory champagne waiting. Again, the memory is all a bit hazy, but I’m pretty sure I just kept looking at him, then at the ring, then back at him again saying “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god” and asking how he managed to organise the whole thing without me finding out!
Turns out, the clever man had managed to pick the diamond (which is not only ethically sourced, but also incredibly well cut and super colourful and sparkly!), get the ring custom made, ask my parents for permission and organise this amazingly romantic proposal, all right under my nose. He also informed me afterwards that he found it pretty hard to relax during his float because he was so worried about whether it would all go to plan… Ah well, guess we’ll just have to go back for another one!
We had also won vouchers for Chow restaurant, so went there for dinner and cocktails afterwards to celebrate (and oh my god is their food delicious!!), then popped next door to The Library for a super indulgent dessert including Probably The World’s Best Espresso Martini (that’s actually it’s name, and boy does it live up to it!). I think we had about five starters, a main, four cocktails and two luscious desserts between us, but celebration calories totally don’t count, right?
The evening was pretty incredible all round. Part of me wishes I’d taken more (or any) photos – I was planning to take some of the float tank for this post, but forgot because *you know* – but the other part of me is glad I just enjoyed it and lived in the moment. I was about to say it was the best Thursday I’ve ever had, but then realised Littlest Man was born on a Thursday, so he (as always) takes the cake… But this was a very close second!
So that’s how it all went down. Time to start planning a wedding! I feel so lucky to have such a thoughtful, romantic partner – sorry, fiancé! – and absolutely cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with him.
Oh, and the kids (and mum) totally survived. Just in case you were wondering!
Note: All opinions above of FloatWell and floating are my own, and should not replace professional or medical advice. I do not benefit from promoting FloatWell other than the warm fuzzies I get from recommending and spreading the word about the amazing people and experience there. Results may vary, proposals and/or engagement at the end of your float not guaranteed.
Until next time, glow mamas.