Combat Newfoundland Winters with Casual Cold Exposure
February 27, 2019
Long Newfoundland winters getting you down…every year? Say hello to #casualcoldexposure. This is a new hashtag recently conceived thanks to a convo I had with CBC’s Gavin Simms who was out to the house doing an interview with Besh about his chainsawing a hole in the ice and plunging in our frozen pond all winter and studying the Wim Hof Method.
I am a cat by nature, and the thoughts of plunging into deadly cold water makes me want to ball up under my heating pad until July. For you peeps out there, like me, who may never (although I did once – see below) jump up to their nipples in freezing Newfoundland water like some of those brave souls in the Newfoundland Winter Tribe fb group, but do see the benefits of, at least, mind over matter when it comes to how we let the cold (or anything in life at all, really) affect us, this may be for you.
Weather has never really ‘affected’ me, yet one day, inspired by hubby Besh (Brent), The Iceman Wim Hof and the cold dip crew, I pushed my limits and went for a 30 min. walk/hike around Holyrood in sunny (thank god!) -6°c (with an unexpected windchill of DEATH heading towards the ocean, as well as down our driveway…which are in exact opposite directions!) with no puffy coat and hood, no outer nylon running coat, no gloves, no winter headband, no fleece-lined wool hat, no boots (just gortex sneakers), thin socks, and 1 pair of spandex pants (would usually be 2 for this weather).
I ran the death chill parts and walked the rest and just ‘breathed’ heat (energy?) into the upper part of my body (‘belly, chest, head’ as I’ve heard Besh and Wim Hof say) and then into the lower part of my body (including my usually frozen butt and upper legs) as I went along and just relaxed my mind about the cold. I got into the crispness of the day, or presence, I guess (and tucked my hands inside the sleeves of my fleece for the crazy wind parts). AND IT WORKED! My whole upper body was warm when I got home, including my hands. And my butt and legs were less cold than they would have normally been. A success, I would say, and an interesting experiment.
Before today, I have done a few more regular ‘casual cold exposure’ things such as, for probably 12 years now, I have turned my shower to cold for the last 20+ (depending on my mood) seconds of every shower. My motivation for this originally was vanity (great for the skin), but it turns out it has huge health benefits as well, such as immune system boost, improved mental health, energy boost, better sleep, fibromylagia and arthritis relief, if you can believe it! It’s worth a try, I figure. It’s free and we have access to it right away!
I also don’t wear thick socks, big wooly scarves and 2
pairs of leggings as much around the house in the winter (or summer) as I used
to. And after I stopped pining for them, I was perfectly fine and don’t need
them near as much anymore…except when I need comfort and coziness, of
Another one…I go out onto our deck (with my inside clothes on) at least twice a day, no matter the weather, and breathe in the fresh air nice and deep for a few seconds or minutes (depending on my mood).
And no matter what, when it’s hiking day, I’m going. At the very least, for a coffee in the car on the beach watching the crazy ass weather blow by.
So even though we casual cold exposure cats are not digging holes in the ice of our frozen ponds, it can be said that little changes can make a big difference.
Tell me below what you do to happily get through long cold winters…besides wine! 😉
Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara – Experience Newfoundland & life through my artist eyes. Born and raised here on this big rock in the Atlantic Ocean. After my Fine Arts degree and Interior Decorating, lived away for ages. In 2009 moved back with new appreciation for this place. Come hang out and explore with me. Sign up for your Piece of Pye newsletter & art prizes!