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Embracing the Chill: Tips for Embracing and Enjoying the Cold

Updated: Apr 29


This, coming from me, is utter madness. Because as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am the FIRST person to start wearing gloves. 

My fingers tend to do this thing where they go basically dead if I don't, at the merest whiff of a faint breeze and a bit of dampness in the air - even if its 10 deg. C.

(Raynaud's syndrome for the win - woop!  Anyone else blessed with this affliction?).

🥶 I'm the one who's walking round in extra layers, putting socks on in bed and snuggling in blankets on the sofa.  

🥶 The one who stands up after a couple of hours working at her desk, realises she's freezing and has to wrap her hands round a hot mug of tea or take a scalding hot bath/shower to get warm again. Preferably both.

 But recently I've become kind of curious about this cold thing.  

I'm never exactly one to jump on a bandwagon just because it's there - but I do love a swim, so I did a couple of chilly dips with courageous friends who have invited me - and I've not actually died.  

In fact - it was rather invigorating.

(This was just before Christmas and 8 deg. water... hence wussing it up in my wetsuit.  Brrr!)

Then curiosity got the better of me.

I was browsing in my local library one day and saw Wim Hof's book sitting there, staring at me and saying 'Go on, reading me won't kill you either... you can take me or leave me' - so I thought 'Why not?  It's not like he's going to MAKE me stand in a cold shower'.

But, damn him, he made a pretty good case for standing in a cold shower.  

So - I braved cranking the dial down to 'brrr' at the end of my usual (blistering hot) one.  And I lasted a good few seconds - with a LOT of swearing and shrieking.

'You'll find you start to enjoy it', he says - or something similar.  

Ha!  Right.  

The only few times I've ever had a cold shower forced upon me before, I've grimaced, sworn, shivered my way through it and turned it off as fast as possible. 

I even remember crying in desperation as a kid, when I couldn't get the 20p hot water meter in the campsite we were staying at to work, until some poor woman in the next stall took pity and rescued me.

But I DO love a challenge.  

And I love nothing more than to challenge my preconceptions about myself and what I can do.

Luckily, I had a little mind trick up my sleeve to help me - and it's about the nature of sensation and in particular, pain and discomfort.

You see - the funny thing is, the way we experience things (including sensations) isn't just about what we actually experience in the moment.

It's also - massively -  about what we EXPECT to feel.

It's about the ANTICIPATION of what's going to happen and how we'll respond - based on the way we remember responding in the past, or based on the way we've learned to respond from watching other people.

Very rarely do we put that aside and only pay attention to what we're actually feeling in the moment.


Now, clearly, some sensations aren't meant to be explored and prolonged - if you accidentally catch your arm on a hot oven, I don't suggest you stand there and ask yourself what you're really feeling!  

Our instantaneous primal reactions are there for a reason.

But so many times in our lives we 'fill in the gaps' and let those expectations lead our experience.  

And it's amazing, when we do start to open up to the truth of our experience, just how much MORE capacity we can find in ourselves to do things we never thought possible.

Like emerge from 90 seconds of standing under a freezing cold shower, NOT shivering or snivelling - and in fact, find we're smiling.

Abi x

P.S. What are your thoughts?  Are you a 'cold water challenge' type person?

Have I piqued your curiosity, too? Or would you still not touch it with a bargepole?

Email me at and let me know!


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