What to do in Toronto for $100 (Or Less): Overthinking About Nothing

Updated: Apr 13, 2019

Each member of Team AHLOT received a $100 Visa card as our holiday gift from the company. Here's how we spent it.

By Kendra

It’s hard to write about nothing.

But that’s exactly what I’m about to do.

I am a restless soul and sitting stagnant is of no interest to me. I like walking streets I’ve never walked before, I don’t often eat at the same restaurant, I find routine difficult, and I love an adventure.

For Christmas, AHLOT gave me $100 to spend on a new experience or developing a new skill. A task after my own heart. I considered a number of options: acupuncture, seeing a psychic, forging knives, archery lessons, an infused dinner, a concert or two. Instead, I did nothing at all and it felt like something I had never done before. I tried a sensory deprivation tank.

The intent of a sensory deprivation tank is to provide restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST, an acronym almost as good as AHLOT). Picture an 8 x 4 x 8’ tank in a private room, with soft ultra-violet lighting, gentle instrumental music, and about a foot of densely saturated salt water. The water is heated to skin temperature so when laying flat in the tub, you don’t touch the bottom. The only items in the tank are a halo to rest your head on, ear plugs and a spray bottle (in case you get salt in your eyes). Once inside the tank you have the option to remove all sound and light. There is no smell or real feel to the experience. It is even suggested to brush your teeth prior to entering the tub so you don’t lay there thinking about the burrito you had for lunch.

Curious, I checked out the validity of the practice and found scientific evidence backing it up with claims that it can provide a range of benefits including muscle relaxation, improved sleep, pain relief, decreased stress and anxiety, increased creativity, concentration and focus, and even improvements to symptoms like depression and irritability for people suffering from generalized anxiety disorders. Insert hand up emoji here, I’m in.

Our Marketing Associate Kaitlyn and I booked ourselves in for hour-long sessions at Float Toronto. We had to plan it out almost 3 weeks in advance, demonstrating the popularity of the practice. We seshed a little Saturday CBD MediHaze before the floating, which is not at all recommended by the establishment, but to each their own and I was looking forward to an elevated trip.

Upon entering the tank, I immediately felt like I was in a Wes Anderson movie with a pastel pink bathing suit, purple backlight, a turquoise halo, a turquoise spray bottle and small turquoise ear plugs.

I was nervous, and excited – I wanted to give it an honest try. I thought I could do it. I used Headspace religiously last year, so I thought I had techniques in my back pocket. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Meditating is hard af.

I had a seemingly never-ending run on conversation with myself (with my subconscious? Who was I talking to?) the entire time I was in there. I tried to implement some of the meditation techniques I had learned, to no avail. I thought about conversations I had 5 years ago, my family, time, space, nature, the planet, my place in it, the circle of life, my body, ever conscious of this other voice that was in there with me. I thought about being a kid, what I wanted for dinner, where I wanted to fly to next, my friends, my home, work I had to do and what my future would look like. It was endless. I didn’t stop thinking. I did not meditate.

The music started again slowly and the lights came on. Oh thank god. Time to get out. I showered off thoroughly, used the vanity in the back, checked out the products they had in the front, inclusive of a CBD bath bomb that I purchased.

Kaitlyn and I went for dinner at Hello123 after, to exchange notes on our experiences, which turned out to be quite similar. The conversation we had over dinner was lovely. Despite probably ‘doing nothing’ wrong, I felt very tuned in and present in good company. The persistent concept of time was consistent and ever-present. Our anxious desire to get out of the tub was prevalent. Our inability to relax and meditate was real. The next day I was jacked. I had a very hard time calming down after this experience.

I’d love to give it another shot, though. Meditation has started gaining traction as of late especially in our fast-paced, fast delivery, fast action world. It seems we are finally starting to acknowledge that we need to slow down again. Perhaps we’ve hit peak consumption levels and intuitively feel the need to balance it out whether it’s using mindfulness apps, unplugging entirely, or engaging in practices like forest bathing or yoga. We work hard to relieve ourselves from working so hard. I believe we should all slow down in this busy life. It takes practice, however, and being great at something on your first try is boring. I respect those who can quiet their brain or whoever’s in there and truly enter a meditative state. I'd like to get there one day.

(Bonus: If you'd like to keep reading, here's a rundown of my thoughts in the tank. Welcome to my brain.)

I found

My mind

The run on

The internal dialogue that wouldn’t silence.

The constant consideration of the circle of life.

How Lion King is the greatest movie of all time.

The way my mother always says, “Remember who you are.”

So did Mufasa.

Are there two of me?

Is my conscience the one that is driving this chat?

Who am I talking to?