Wiped out? Reset your mind-set
Are you feeling stressed as fall rolls in? Here are some rejuvenation ideas that won't take a lot of your time.
The clarity chamber at JW Marriott Chicago's Velo Spa includes the belly stone. "This fits two people, and is an extra-large radiant heat stone," the spa's Katie Hurley said. "The body is bolstered so you feel comfortable lying on a stone. The fireplace is there so you sit and get clear. It's an incredible experience." (Photo by Anthony Tahlier)
Get a little clarity
"Chicago has the only clarity chamber in the United States," said Katie Hurley of the Valeo Spa.
Hurley said the chamber is like a modern version of a Turkish hammam, which blends massage, exfoliation and relaxation in one treatment. "The idea is to cleanse or get rid of anything that no longer serves you," she said.
The treatment begins by sitting in a hot lounge or radiant heat room. "Some people have a glass of wine," Hurley said. "This is the unwinding portion."
After the hot lounge, visitors are taken to a chamber where they recline on heated stones and are exfoliated and massaged head to toe. Then visitors are taken to the belly stone.
"This fits two people, and is an extra-large radiant heat stone," Hurley said. "The body is bolstered so you feel comfortable lying on a stone. The fireplace is there so you sit and get clear. It's an incredible experience."
A full session in the clarity chamber is $125 for 75 minutes; see jwmarriottchicago.com for more information.
Take a flying leap
Sometimes all it takes to get out of your daily grind is to get out of your comfort zone. For Jon Schepke, that meant jumping out of an airplane.
"You get in a rut and you get consumed in your day-to-day life," said Schepke, who runs an interactive marketing agency in Chicago. "Skydiving helped me reconnect to the person I was at a younger age. My wife looked at me when I got back and said, 'You look like you had a life-changing experience,' and I did. It gave me a whole new perspective on everything."
Schepke, who took nine co-workers with him to make the jump near Kenosha, Wis., said it also helped the team bond in a way they will never forget.
"We all did this together—and I mean sitting on that plane, I'll always remember the look on everyone's faces," he said. "It was so incredible."
For a tandem jump, the cost is $200 per person. That price goes down to $150 per person for groups of 10 or more. For pricing and information, visit skydivemidwest.com.
Write it away
If you have an itch to drop everything write that novel, yet you can never make the time to get started, a writer's retreat could be the answer.
But sometimes finding one is the trick. That's what Andrew Graf discovered—and that's why he founded Retreats for Writers, a website that lists retreats all over the country. You can search the site by city, price, or even by the best deal.
And you can tailor your writing retreat to your taste, whether you want to rent a house or condo for a short amount of time to work on your novel, or seek the full conference experience with classes and workshops.
"This isn't a getaway event about writing, but a resource for people who want to get away to write," Graf said.
Graf, who went to Columbia College for creative writing, said he started the site because he had a hard time finding similar things online. "I had an Internet background and decided to start something myself," he said.
We found a variety of cool offerings at a variety of prices in the Chicago area; check retreatsforwriters.com for more.
Set your stress afloat
SpaceTime Tanks offers visitors the chance to "take a vacation in an hour," according to their website.
I reluctantly tried this with a friend last year. The concept was frightening: You enter a saltwater tank and close the door, doing your best to float for an hour wearing nothing but earplugs. I have an aversion to silence and meditation, so nothing about this experience sounded appealing except the promised results of relaxation and heightened awareness.
I panicked at first; when the door to the tank shut, I was afraid it wouldn't reopen. But eventually I fell into a deep sleep, and by the time the session was over, I couldn't believe an hour had passed. Colors seemed brighter and sounds seemed louder when I re-entered the real world.
I don't recommend planning any social activities after floating because my ability to talk was greatly diminished in my super-centered state. But I felt really rejuvenated and despite my initial panic, would do it again next time I'm feeling overwhelmed.
SpaceTime Tanks is at 2526 N. Lincoln in Chicago; sessions are $50, or three for $120. Check chicagofloatationtanks.com for more information.