Using floating to dissolve your anxiety
At least that was what Lindsay Dee MacPhee’s intention was when she first founded The Floatation Centre in the North End of Halifax.
Floating was readily available back in Vancouver and I was surprised that there wasn’t a Floatation Centre or a similar space when I moved back to Halifax in 2013.
“Could I have seen myself as a business owner? Never…” Lindsay laughs. “But, one of the reasons I wanted it [The Floatation Centre] to exist was for me. To give myself a space to float and to deal with my anxiety. But despite my personal intentions, I found it hard to focus on my own mental health and my anxiety.
A few things that used to make me anxious in the past would be large crowds, line ups [and] having somebody close behind me, and giving presentations - the heightened busyness is what really makes me experience those feelings of anxiety. However, some of the things that I’ve learned is that I know I can pull over if I’m sitting in traffic and feeling anxious, and I can leave crowded areas if it makes me uncomfortable. Knowing that there is always a Plan B has helped me work through social anxiety.”
“But what’s helped me the most is separating myself and my experiences with anxiety, and not using it to label myself. For example, I’ll tell myself that: “I am experiencing anxiety, [Lindsay] is not anxious”. Working around topics of acceptance and knowing when to schedule my ‘me’ time has helped me significantly both as a business owner and in my personal life.
“Working around topics of acceptance and know when to schedule my ‘me’ time has helped me significantly both as a business owner and in my personal life.”
- Lindsay MacPhee
When The Floatation Centre first opened up we were a team of five and today, we have grown to be a team of 23. It’s amazing and I’m so proud of how much we have grown, but for me, that meant the care and concern I have towards all things TFC-related also grew.
But, about a year after we opened is when I would say I started burning out quite a bit… and I was tested on a much deeper level. The challenge is that I am a Level 5 people pleaser. I spent so much of my energy on others, that I was not taking time for myself.
It was only when people started telling me, ‘you have to take time for yourself, Lindsay’, (ahem, thanks Dr. Tara) that I really started being proactive as opposed to reactive with my health.
Since then it’s been a slow and steady crawl up - it’s not linear, whatsoever - but as I grow as a person and as a business owner I’m finding it easier and easier to take care of my mental health and be proactive about it.
A lot of work goes into finding harmony in our mental health regime. Much of the pain that we feel is caused by our thoughts, and we are not our thoughts. The negative self talk does not help whatsoever, and it can sometimes be the voice we hear the loudest. It’s important to understand you are not alone and it’s okay to have these feelings. But, it’s something that we need to actively talk about and communicate with our employees, our peers and those closest to us.
Just know you don’t have to be that person who goes ‘Ta-da, I have a mental illness’. Just be yourself — and find yourself a person that can pull you out of the feeling of guilt, or shame, or sadness — find your person, that can hold that space for you, because sometimes that’s all we need. It’s not the advice but somebody holding that space for us.
If you can’t find that person, write it down, go for a float or sit in silence in that discomfort and identify those thoughts and where they come from and start there. “You have all the neurons in the Universe cheering you on!”
For more information about Lindsay, or The Floatation Centre visit www.thefloatationcentre.ca
We partnered up with Lindsay, founder of The Floatation Centre, to share her experience as a business owner who’s been open about her anxiety.