Double flotation tank at Float Harder in Portland. Photo by Ben Moore

After everything we’ve all been though, isn’t it about time for some self-care? Stress is inescapable this year, and it isn’t helping that what appears will be a particularly difficult winter is looming ahead. So why not take this moment to let go of some of that tension and recharge your mind, body and soul. We put together a few suggestions for ways to put yourself at ease and hope you find at least one that suits your needs. You deserve it.


Portland’s Float Harder is home to two float pods and two float rooms. These sensory deprivation tanks relax your muscles and will transport you into a state of near bliss. The water is at body temperature, around 94 degrees, so you’ll feel warm and cozy but not too hot. It’s also saturated with such a high concentration of epsom salt that you literally float; it’s pretty much impossible to not to. You can choose darkness or one of several lighting colors and can also listen to relaxing music provided or plug in your own playlist. The float sessions ($65) last about 90 minutes. Choose a solo float or float with a significant other. Float owners James and Amy Harder said that floating is a great away to get away from the noise, the stress and all the uncertainty of our current time. “Research shows that when your body is truly relaxed your mind cannot remain anxious. As you fully let go, and surrender to the float an unfamiliar sense of peace is unusually common.” For safety’s sake, Float Harder is staggering appointments and the tea and lounge station is closed. Masks are required but don’t worry, you won’t need to wear it during your float, only your birthday suit is needed. Also, tanks are automatically cleaned between sessions. Float Harder, 500 Washington Ave., Portland, (207) 400-5187.

Enjoying a foot soak at Soakology. Photo courtesy of Soakology


At Soakology in Portland, you can make your feet happy with a stress-melting foot soak. You’ll be made quite comfortable with slippers and a robe to wear along with a warmed neck wrap. And then the real magic happens: Your feet will take refuge in a custom copper basin with river stones and the steaming treatment of your choosing ($28-$40). Should you want to further the experience, licensed massage therapists offer body work on feet and legs, neck and shoulders and hands and arms. You can also opt to purchase one of Soakology’s many salt soaks, body polishes and cleansing bars to enjoy at home. To quell any COVID concerns, Soakology’s filtration systems have been cleaned and sanitized, they’re limiting the number of clients and plastic liners are being added to all soaking bowls. Head to their site to review several other counter-measures they’re taking. Soakology, 511 Congress St., Portland, (207) 879-7625.


If your entire body is sending out an SOS, a massage might be just the ticket. Soma Massage & Wellness in South Portland has several massage therapists with ready hands that will renew and invigorate you as you literally feel the stress dissipate. Soma offers seven types of massage including synergy (using energy techniques from Reiki and polarity therapy) and the hot stone massage ($29-$89). To keep things safe, Soma installed a UV light that pairs with their HVAC system to help kill viruses and bacteria, and you can expect 100 percent mask compliance as both you and your massage therapist will be wearing one. Some Massage & Wellness, 6 Cottage Road, South Portland, (207) 741-2639.

Allie Andrews of OmBody Health posts weekly videos on Breathwork For Busy People. Photo by Stepheney Collins Photography


Sure, we all know yoga is good for mind, body and soul, but if you’re crunched for time (or space), taking a few minutes to just breathe is an effective alternative. Allie Andrews, founder of Portland-based OmBody Health, has been posting weekly videos to her Facebook page called Breathwork for Busy People. The videos guide you through “short, powerful breathing practices,” Andrews said, any time you have five minutes to spare, and they can help you “feel more clear, calm and creative,” especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed. “Stress will inevitably come, perhaps now more than ever as some of our deepest human needs are being challenged, which is why we need tools and practices to feel that stress, acknowledge and release it in a healthy way,” Andrews said. “Breathing practices provide a simple, no-cost way to improve health and well-being, from restoring the nervous system, to detoxifying the body and the mind, improving digestion and sleep, and balancing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure for a healthy heart.” You can access more classes in breath work, as well as meditation and movement, at


Liquid Gold bone broth from LB Kitchen. Photo courtesy of LB Kitchen

The simple act of taking time to enjoy a cup of tea, especially if you make it a daily ritual, can provide stress relief, and Sarah Richards, owner of Homegrown Herb & Tea in Portland. Want to boost the benefits? Do it with one of her particularly soothing blends of homegrown herbs. Her house speciality blend called The Stress Doctor ($14 for 2 ounces) – made of holy basil, saw palmetto berries, kava kava root, rose petals, hibiscus, orange peel and ginseng – sounds like just the medicine, described as “sweet, astringent and mildly fruity.” Richards said that calming herbs can also help with acute ailments caused by stress, including headaches and digestive issues. You can sit and enjoy one of her blends at her Munjoy Hill shop, where masks are required when not sipping from your mug, and no more than five people are allowed in at a time, though she said that situation hasn’t arisen yet. Homegrown Herb & Tea, 195 Congress St., Portland, (207) 774-3484.

You can keep taking in liquid forms of stress relief without going far. Head down Congress Street to LB Kitchen, where you’ll find Wellness Lattes ($5.25), with ingredients like ginger and turmeric, and LB’s Liquid Gold bone broth ($4.25 for 6-ounce sipping cup), to which you can add apple cider, collagen, CBD and more. Now that sounds soothing. LB Kitchen, 249 Congress St., Portland, (207) 775-2695.


One way a lot of people relieve stress is to escape into a good book, TV show or movie. But what if you could also physically escape right now, and see a movie in your own private theater? What if you could be guaranteed a big-screen experience without worrying about sitting next to strangers during a pandemic? Well, Cinemagic is giving people the chance to do that at its Westbrook and Saco locations. The theater chain’s auditoriums can be rented out, starting at $99, for just you, or you and a few friends, up to a total of 20 guests. For your movie, you can pick from any of the “classic” films currently screening at the theaters. Some of those lately have included “The Goonies,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Toy Story.” Prices will vary based on concessions and other options you might choose to enhance your experience. For more information and to reserve a theater, go to

Staff Writers Leslie Bridgers and Ray Routhier contributed to this report.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: