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Is the polar plunge really all that it’s cracked up to be?

Soooooo… I did a “thing.”

It’s a bit trendy and supposedly some health benefits accompany the practice but…

Let me explain.

I, too, joined the thousands, maybe millions, who had water pipe issues during the frigid polar express that stormed through the country a few weeks back.

No pipes actually burst but my tankless water heater couldn’t handle the cold and those plunging temps obliterated the computer panel in the unit.

No more hot water.  And for a few days, there was a slight leak which concluded with my main water turned off, a closet clean out, shelves installed and repacking paperwork from cardboard boxes to plastic bins with lids. Yeah, definitely learned some lessons during this unexpected event!

After two days of absolutely no water in the house and sneaking into my daughter’s house for pitchers of water, showers, and the use of her washer and dryer, I tried to turn on the water again.

It was a miracle!!!  No more little drips of water coming from the tankless water unit!

Just having free flowing water when I turned the handles on the sink was a great stress reliever!  I have an electric tea kettle so heating water quickly wasn’t a problem.  I could wash dishes, wash my face, have my morning tea – all was good.

Except for showers.  Only frigid cold water was flowing in my water pipes.

This one particular night, I had the brilliant idea to take a shower in my own house, instead of running over to my daughter’s, and experience the “polar plunge” within the four walls of my home. I mean, doing the plunge inside should be way better, right??!

The house water had been flowing through unheated pipes for days.  The temps outside were still brrrrrr-chilling and my water pipes began outside. And I don’t heat my bathroom. 

I didn’t think about all of that as I stood there naked and gleefully turning the handle for water.  Cold water was descending from above and I jumped right into the shower stall.

Oh. My. Word!!!!!!

I couldn’t breathe!  Every natural, self-preserving impulse took over as my brain began to freeze and I stood there just sucking in air!  I mentally had to make myself focus and concentrate and tell myself, “breathe out you crazy person!”  

After getting soaking wet, including my hair, I quickly turned off the water to suds up.  

(Come on!  I’m not that much of a purist!)

As I stood there, soap in my hair and on my body, I hesitantly reached for the water handle, braced myself, and turned the water on!

Again, gasping for breath! Mind over cold water.  Think, think, think!  And… breathe!!!

Of course, the cold water ran longer this time so I could get all of the soap off and out of my hair.  Breathe, Cyndi, breathe!

Finally, I slammed the water off as I took one last gulp of air.  I had an intense headache and goosebumps everywhere….and I felt great!!!!!  Alive….invigorated!

I toweled off and warmed up in sweats and a sweatshirt.  The tingling of my skin and the increased presence of mind was magnified as warmth finally took over.

Wow.  Would I ever do that again on purpose?  Well, not in the next 5 minutes, but yes I would.

Why?

Because it was an “uncomfortably good” experience and forced me to gain control over my body which had gone into survival mode and kept inhaling air, forgetting to exhale.  Side note:  one of my daughter’s is having a baby in February, and while I was in the shower trying to control my breathing, I actually thought, “this would be great practice for labor!”

All the good health benefits from polar plunging were mine to be had because I was willing to put myself in a very uncomfortable situation. I had the opportunity to practice the discipline of mind over matter.  I liked the way I felt very “alive” afterwards!

As we start a new year, and continue or start our journey of homesteading, I can assure you, you will encounter uncomfortable situations in your learning and growth.  

You have two choices as you face the “uncomfortable”.  You can either stay in your comfy clothes, tighten your grasp on the warmth of your sweater and turn and walk away…

OR….

You can grab the handle and turn it to full pressure and douse yourself in cold water, constantly telling yourself, BREATHE!!!  Just BREATHE!

And afterwards, the rewards of walking through an “uncomfortably good” situation will be yours!  A new skill, a fear you overcame, a nugget of knowledge to tuck in your back pocket.  You are the winner!  You are the brave one.  

No journey exists without challenges and situations that are “uncomfortably good.”  The length of your journey is determined by your course of action when you come up against those “uncomfortably good” roadblocks.

For the year of 2023, one of my phrases is “uncomfortably good”.  I am purposely putting myself in situations that will challenge an unsubstantiated fear that keeps me from moving forward.  One of my goals for this year is to learn one or two new technical platforms that will move me forward in my efficiency of time and productivity.  Oh – and at least once a week I will continue to end my shower by turning the water to just cold and standing there until I can get my breathing under control ☺

Any of you purposely putting yourself in an “uncomfortably good” situation for 2023?

I wish you all the courage and bravery to grab the handle of the cold water, to turn it on full blast and to jump in!  The discipline and rewards of the journey are yours for the taking ☺

Here’s to the polar plunge!

Cyndi Ball
Founder and Executive Director

5 thoughts on “Is the polar plunge really all that it’s cracked up to be?”

  1. Hmm. I decided 2023 is “year of cake”. I plan to make a new recipe every week. Go ahead with freezing showers. I’m eating cake.

  2. Thank you for this inspiring word! I will definitely incorporate the “uncomfortably good” concept for 2023, beginning today. I needed to hear this. The obstacles that prevent us from moving forward are not insurmountable!

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