It’s ironic to be writing about my cold experience, especially when my last post was all about the warm sunshine.
But the polar plunge, the winter bath – whatever you want to call it – is an experience unlike any other.
Let me set the scene.
It was pitch dark – closing hours at the pier we had chosen, just outside the SATS BLOX and near the Black Diamond. The orange ladder cheerfully reflected the glimmering streetlights behind us, its bright hue quickly disappearing as it descended into the ominously churning darkness of the water.
We had hit a brutal workout session just a few minutes before, and the searing heat in my limbs was quickly beat away by the rippling cold winds prowling around the edge of the harbor. We quickly stripped down to our bathing suits, huddled around the ladder, silently daring each other to be the first one to just send it.
As I stook at the edge of the pier, overlooking the icy blackness of the harbor, my heart was pounding with a mix of excitement and fear – or maybe it was just working overtime to keep me warm as I shivered in the wintry air. This was no ordinary dip in the water, but a full submersion in the frigid depths of the North Sea. It was a test of courage and resilience, a challenge to push myself beyond my limits and embrace the extreme.
I sent it.
I have never been wiped of all thoughts so quickly. From my mind roiling with anticipation, curiosity, and anxiety about the impending jump, the overwhelming cold gave rise to the survival instinct to just get out of there. Frantically breathing and spitting out salty water, I grabbed onto the ladder and scaled it before I even registered what was going on, with every nerve in my body working in tandem to escape to the warmth. I rolled over the edge and lay on the wood, shivering uncontrollably.
But strangely, as the winds around the harbor blew just as fiercely as they did before, I was overcome by a sudden warmth as though I was on a tropical island – since the air was so much warmer than the 0 Celsius water I had just jumped into.
As we waddled back into the gym, fully dripping wet and still shivering, we beelined straight for the sauna.
Ah, blissful warmth! The feeling of warmth was not just physical, but also emotional. As I sat there in the sauna, surrounded by the soothing heat and the sound of silence, I felt a sense of peace and contentment wash over me. It was a moment of pure relaxation, a respite from the noise and chaos of everyday life.
I wasn’t sure why polar plunging was so popular until after I did it. But it rooted me, and the aches and pains that I might normally feel after a workout were nonexistent the next morning. There was a sense of tranquility and calm acceptance that I felt as I made the trek home, almost as though I was watching the world through another’s eyes. And I slept so, so, well that night.
Polar plunging is a really cool and interesting cultural experience that I would recommend to anyone. Perhaps don’t jump straight in, but if you have the chance and a sauna close by, I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
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