— It is important not to have anything unsaid with the water


In a short time, ice bathing has almost become a common property and the growing trend in Norway has made even the worst freezer curious.

Text Tina Hage

For lecturer and author of the book "Winter bathing", Cecilie Thunem-Saanum, magic happens when the scale dips 10 degrees. She is entering her ninth season as a year-round bather and can talk about multiple health benefits with great transfer values ​​to both work and everyday life. Cold exposure gives her a great sense of mastery and calmness:

"I feel that my world is leveling off and I'm regaining balance," she says.
She takes her mastery into other situations, such as in her lectures:

- For example, I can get nervous before I go on stage and then I can bring up the strength I had from the day before, when I was sitting in an ice rink with a temperature of minus two degrees.

She says that if you have a challenge in your everyday life, dread something or have a fast pace, a cold bath will help you find inner peace and cope with the challenges better.

From the book "Winter bathing" by Cecilie Thunem-Saanum, Cappelen Damm 2021. Photographer Anne Day.

Thunem-Saanum was challenged by her fitness instructor who thought she was not tough enough. Cecilie herself had never thought that year-round swimming was something for her. She believes that what can stop many people is that they associate winter bathing with freezing temperatures in cold weather, or how uncomfortable it can be with cold water in the shower:

- It will be something completely different and cannot be compared. Along with the feeling of mastery comes calmness and well-being, then the heat returns and I am grounded, she says, adding:

- I'm also a stick of ice cream. At the latest today, I asked my husband to turn up the temperature on the heat pump, she laughs.

Don't mess with the water

To get the full effect, it is crucial to find calm in the water:

- We often see many people who jump quickly into the water and come back up just as quickly. It's perfectly fine and up to each individual, but for me it's important to have time where I lie in complete peace.

T hunem-Saanum tells about an episode she remembers particularly well. After a bath where she got out of the water and started to get dressed, she didn't feel quite ready:

- I felt that I hadn't bathed enough, and felt an uneasiness. I had not found focus and calmness in the water.

What she calls "having nothing unsaid with the water" has become an important term for many year-round bathers.

"I think it's nice to chat with the others, but I also need time alone with the water," she says.

From the book "Winter bathing" by Cecilie Thunem-Saanum, Cappelen Damm 2021. Photographer Anne Day.

Are you a beginner?

Thunem-Saanum is often contacted by people from social media who are curious about year-round bathing:

"Many people are inspired by the peace they see others achieve, but are afraid that they won't achieve it," she says. For beginners, she recommends starting with watering:

— Then you have contact with the seabed and get a greater sense of control. Then go out purposefully, but calmly.

Thunem-Saanum also advises using social media to get in touch with other year-round bathers. — Join bathing groups on social media and search for hashtags that have to do with winter bathing, she advises and adds:

— Life is now! If you want to bathe, then take that bath, there is nothing to wait for.

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