Ice bathing : — You are the one who should have control over your body and not the other way around.

Heidi Tovdal swims throughout the year. Photo: Heidi Tovdal.

Text: Tina Hage

Every day, Heidi Tovdal makes conscious choices for herself, with the aim of strengthening her mental health. She is behind the Instagram account @turheidi, where she inspires others to do exactly the same.

She swims as often as possible throughout the year and thinks there is something very special about the winter season. Through cold exposure, she experiences, among other things, an increased sense of mastery and a deeper connection with herself.

"When I'm in the water, I'm completely present," she explains.

Tovdal describes it as a mental cleansing and that you simply have no choice but to be present here and now.

Many compare winter bathing precisely with presence and meditation. According to doctor and author, Audun Myskja , cold exposure provides a form of reset in the brain, where new nerve pathways are formed. This will be particularly beneficial for you who, for various reasons, have ended up in a negative thought pattern.

Heidi Tovdal finds peace with cold exposure
There are many health benefits associated with winter swimming. Several studies show that cold exposure can contribute to increased psychological well-being and prevent depression. Photo: Heidi Tovdal.

But taking the step into the cold water can be a big challenge for many.

Tovdal has the following tips for beginners:

"Make up your mind in advance," she says.

— Make a decision that you will manage this. When you go into the water, you breathe with specific breaths: you are the one who should have control over your body and not the other way around.

— A good tip is to wear something on your feet and hands that protects against the cold. It can be nice when you walk on cold surfaces or hold onto a frozen bathing ladder.

She believes most people get used to the cold over time if they are regularly exposed to it. Sometimes it feels easier than other times.

"I think this is because you are in different places mentally," she says.

Tovdal says that over time she has gained a deep connection with herself through cold exposure.
Tovdal has gained a deeper connection with himself through cold exposure. Photo: Heidi Tovdal.

When Heidi comes out of the water, she usually puts her clothes ready, so that they are easily accessible.

— I wear warm clothes and woolen underwear that are easy to put on. Feel free to stand on a seat mat when you're changing, she advises, and adds: — I drop my panties and bra, and jump straight into the woolen underwear.

Tovdal often ends the bath with a little coziness in front of the fire and something hot to drink in the cup.

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