Wiped out? Reset your mind-set

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Clarity chamber

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)

"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.


Twitter: @jenweigel
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