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Adventures in Self-Care: Float Tanks

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Adventures in Self-Care: Float Tanks

 Photo: Laura Thatcher via  Twenty20

Photo: Laura Thatcher via Twenty20


On May 9th I strained my lower back. Well, to be honest, I originally strained my back in high school and the injury tends to make itself known at least once a year. 

When I originally started sharing about my most recent strain, people asked things like, "Oh no! Did you hurt yourself?" and "What on earth did you do?"

The answer to those questions is complicated because this particular back issue tends to creep up on me. I'll start to notice a slight twinge and ignore it (which is not smart) and I'll keep treating ergonomics like a suggestion, ramping up my workouts as planned (even though I know I should maintain instead of level-up), and working long days in front of a screen (when I know that craning my neck to work at said screens is part of the problem).

I've tried icing it, I've tried heating pads, I've tried painkillers, I've tried massage, I've tried stretches, but the best remedy is rest—as in, lying flat on my back for hours at a time.

I don't know if you know this, but it's really hard to write for magazines, do podcast interviews, create products, and have a life while lying flat on your back for the majority of the 24 hours we have each day.

Well, that's what's been happening since May 9th. For most of the month, I've been cramming all of my work into a handful of hours each day and then going home to rest. Luckily, my back is slowly starting to feel better. I've been able to attend events, catch up on work, and (thankfully) hit deadlines.

And honestly the turning point was the day after I experienced floating for the first time. When I posted this photo on Instagram about my back issues, the kind folks at Capitol Floats here in Sacramento asked if I wanted to see if an hour in one of their float tanks might help alleviate some of the pain. I had never tried float tanks before, but I was ready to try anything and quickly agreed to schedule my appointment for the following Monday.

 Float tanks at Capitol Floats in Sacramento, California.

One thing you need to know about me is that I get claustrophobic very easily. I've even had experiences where a crowded plane makes me sort of freak out. I don't ever like the feeling of being locked into a small or crowded space so I knew I didn't really want to try a float tank that was pod-like. Luckily, Capitol Floats has walk-in tanks. You can leave the door open, there are lights and music in the tanks (that can be turned on and off), and you can always step out into your private float room if you need a break.

Another thing I know to be true about myself is that I get vertigo. Sea sickness is something I've dealt with for years and I'm incredibly dizzy each time I get off a rollercoaster. When you float your body is experiencing virtual weightlessness thanks to the Epsom salt they add and it may take some getting used to if you also tend to get a little woozy like me. 

So what did I think of my first experience?

The Awesome Parts:

  • I didn't feel claustrophobic at all, which felt like a huge win.
  • I can't remember the last time I was quiet and free from outside stimulation (read: distractions) for more than a few minutes and the silence was very welcome.
  • Also in the headspace realm, my thoughts slowed to a crawl. All I was focused on was how my body was feeling. Quieting my Type A brain is something I've never really been able to do so this was a major feat!
  • My body felt like the heaviest blob of jello ever—in a good way. Muscles relaxed and I was able to move my back like I hadn't been able to for a week.
  • My pain was measurably improved the following day—another big win!
  • They have a really awesome quiet/relaxation room so you can get your head straight before you leave (which is neccessary, trust me!). 

The Parts That Will Take Practice:

  • My body felt like the heaviest blob of jello ever—in a "how am I going to pull myself up out of this ten inches of water??" sort of way. My back was still sore and climbing out of the water when everything felt like jello wasn't an easy task. There is a bar on the door to hang onto, but I left the door open a crack and I definitely had to be very careful not to slip as I climbed out of the tank.
  • I did get nauseous about 3/4 of the way through my 60-minute float and I decided to get out. I'm attributing that to my penchant for sea sickness and I truly believe it will just take practice. My body isn't used to feeling weightless and I'm determined to see if I can get beyond that woozy feeling in future floats.
 Capitol Floats // Sacramento, California

Yes! I said future floats. While the team at Capitol Floats comped my first float, I signed up for their starter 3-float package to see if I can use my time in these tanks as the positive tool it's meant to be. The benefits far outweighed the potential for feelings of vertigo and, like I said, I'm hoping I can float my way out of that reaction.

Now, if you're in Sacramento and want to try these float tanks, I've got a deal for you!!! If you're a new customer of Capitol Floats, you can enter the code hv-483426 in the Promotional Code box on their online booking page to get $10 off either the 60-Minute Float or the 3 (60-Minute) Float Intro Package! Pretty cool right?

Overall, I'm calling this adventure in self-care a success!


Note: Capitol Floats did comp my first float as a courtesy, but they did not ask me to share my experience. I'm simply sharing because enough people have asked me about it and I want to help those of you who might be in the same boat with pain and/or a very noisy brain!


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Giving the Gift of Discussion: Mother's Day Edition

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Giving the Gift of Discussion: Mother's Day Edition

 2017 Mother's Day Sale // 100 Days of Discussion Book

You know who loves a good discussion?

Moms. And stepmoms. And grandmothers. And aunts. And sisters.

That's why I've decided to offer 25% off all print books just in time for Mother's Day! No matter how many mother figures you celebrate in your world, just enter MOM17 at checkout to save on the print version of the 100 Days of Discussion book. 

p.s. Have lots of gift-giving to do over the next month or so? Graduations? Birthdays? I hear you! Grab as many as you want at the discounted price.* I can fit five books in a small flat rate box.

*Offer good through 5/1 while supplies last. As always, 5% of proceeds go directly to the CYOP Artist Residency.


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My Word for 2017: Open

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My Word for 2017: Open

 My Word for 2017: Open // jenniferesnyder.com

It feels a bit surreal to be scooting right past middle of January already, but over the holiday break I set some time aside to focus on the year ahead and I'm so glad I did. Just as I've done over the last two years, I'm choosing a word for the year instead of making a bunch of personal and business resolutions. 

My word for 2017 is OPEN.

I have a lot of hopes about how this word will manifest in my life. I hope it will inspire me to continue trying new things and to be open to new adventures. I also hope it will remind me that in order to open the door to something wonderful, oftentimes other doors need to close.

My biggest hope, however, is to simply be more open with how I carry myself, how I communicate, and how I approach the world around me. It may not always be easy, but I know committing to the word "open" this year will be worthwhile.

Tell me friends: have you picked your word for the year?

p.s. Here's a little inspiration from the gal who got this whole "one little word" thing started.



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Announcement: 100 Days of Discussion Book Coming Soon!

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Announcement: 100 Days of Discussion Book Coming Soon!

I'm making it official, my friends: the 100 Days of Discussion book project is underway and the books will be making an appearance very soon! 

I mentioned this idea over on Instagram before the holidays (and in this post last week) and I'm very excited to share that the book has been written and edited, is now being designed and formatted, and will soon head off to the printer. 

If you're not familiar with the 100 Days of Discussion project, it was my contribution to the 100 Days Project launched by Elle Luna and the team at The Great Discontent in early 2015. My husband and I vowed to ask each other one question every day for 100 days as a way to spark discussion and get to know one another all over again. 

Not only was the project completely worthwhile on the personal front, it also opened the door to a deeper connection to those in my online community, reinforced my love for conversation, and brought to light the true power in committing to a daily practice.

I've set up a page dedicated to everything you might want to know about the book, along with a book waiting list with which I'll be announcing all news related to the book launch.

I'm incredibly excited about this project and I cannot wait to share it with you all!



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The (Seemingly) Lost Art of Running a Business Like a Human Being

 The (Seemingly) Lost Art of Running a Business Like a Human Being // jenniferesnyder.com

Can we chat for a few minutes? I've been thinking about how things are going around here and I've come to a few conclusions.

At the end of August, I sent out an issue of my weekly Creative Digest that ended up serving two purposes. You can read the full email here, but let's talk about those purposes.

The first purpose was intentional: I wanted to communicate to my most dedicated readers and listeners that I needed to put things on hold for a bit. My family and I were watching my stepmom's health deteriorate rapidly and I felt the need to press pause on the elements of my work that I knew could survive my leave of absence.

The second purpose was slightly less intentional, but was—dare I say—more important: I was really honest with subscribers. I was emotional while writing, I dropped a curse word (which aligns pretty seamlessly with the real, everyday me), and I didn't censor myself. My stepmom was dying and, to be honest, censoring myself didn't even come to mind. Bottom line? I showed my humanity in that email.

A few things have happened since:

  • Immediately after hitting send, more people unsubscribed from my Creative Digest list than ever before.
  • Within hours, dozens of subscribers checked in with me by replying via email, texting, calling or reaching out on social media.
  • To date, that issue has a higher open rate and click-through rate than any other Creative Digest issue.

Here's the thing: I was initially a little disheartened to see subscribers dropping like flies. It's never fun to have quantitative evidence that shows people opting out of your humanity. However, I got over those vanity metrics pretty quickly because I knew, in my heart, that those who read my words, reached out, and engaged are the people who matter.

You see, I'm not a brand. I'm a human. I'm a person who has feelings. Those feelings are likely to surface on occasion.

Sadly, there seems to be an enhanced (and sometimes aggressive) focus on cutting humanity out of business, altogether. So much of what we see in this strange, amazing, creative world of entrepreneurship has to do with building a perfect brand.

"DON'T share your personal story," they shout.

"You've got to have consistency," they demand.

"Here are the seven things that will guarantee your success," they promise.

If you run a business, freelance full time, or have a side gig, it's important to think about how you present yourself, your products and/or your services to the world—no doubt about it. I am here to tell you, however, that being a human and running a business aren't mutually exclusive.

Take me, for example. I'm in the business of sharing stories. Some of the stories are my own and some are the stories of others. Sometimes I share via my podcast, sometimes I share on behalf of clients, and sometimes I share through various print and online publications. Depending on the medium through which I share a story, the presence of my voice tends to vary.

However, if you've opted into a medium I own and produce—like the Creative Digest, the podcast, or this space—you will likely notice that my voice has a strong presence. You have a front row seat to my humanity, my thought processes, my emotional state, my vulnerability, and my flaws. Take it or leave it.

I am not running this side of my work—my business—like a brand. I'm running it like a human. In a world full of deeply edited, perfectly staged brands, I hope many of you will find that refreshing.

Those only interested in a one-dimensional experience, free from any and all human traits, can opt out at any time. It's completely okay—encouraged, even. I realize that my brand (ahem) of humanity isn't for everyone. My life is real, my work is real, and sometimes the two collide in sad, wonderful, frightening, and exciting ways. 

My hope is to recapture and revive the (seemingly) lost art of running a business like a human being and, thanks to the kind souls who make up the last two bullet points in my list above, I know many of you are with me.

I'm so incredibly honored to have you along for the ride. 


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