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Ice Baths + Resiliency


Person stepping into lake with ice floating.

Ice baths offer an incredible and powerful experience to cultivate both the physical and mental resilience within an individual. Our very own, Hannah Gzik, participated in a Wim Hof Workshop over the weekend and she had lots to share about her experience. Let’s go on the record to say that she strongly dislikes the cold so this was a huge mental hurdle going into this.


Here’s what she said about her experience:

 

Going into ice-cold water willingly is not something that was high on my bucket list of things to experience in life. But I’ve been reading a lot of research on the mental and physical benefits and figured it was time to find out for myself. So when I saw that a workshop was being offered locally, I got out of my head and signed up immediately. My grandpa always taught me that success is a split-second decision and it’s the fear, doubt and agony that stops us from acting and steals joy from our lives. So, I jumped into a new experience.


The morning of the workshop I was already feeling anxious about the day. I was excited to learn the history and go through the breath work but a solid 10/10 nervous to sit in a tub of cold water in front of strangers.


When it came time to hop into the ice bath, I was certainly not the first one to volunteer. I did manage to muster up the strength fourth in line and as I was stepping up to the tub, someone whispered to me, “close your eyes, eliminate the noise, this is your experience and no one else’s” I needed to hear these words. I stepped up to the tub, I followed the instructor as he guided me through a few breaths, I stepped in and then I sat down in the ice-cold water. Literal chunks of ice floating around me. My body immediately went into fight or flight mode as I start to take quick shallow breaths, and then I remember the words to close my eyes. I found my strength, I found my rhythm and there I sat with no distractions and completely forgetting that a group of strangers were silently cheering behind me. And there I sat for just over 2 minutes. My will to win was stronger than my fear of failure.


When the timer was up, I got out and the high fives and smiles felt amazing. As I reflect on this experience, it was a reminder to always push myself to do hard things so that when life decides to throw something really difficult my way, it won’t feel so hard. It won’t feel unmanageable because I have gotten comfortable with handling difficult things. If we sit in our comfortable space for too long, when something happen that are out of our control it has a huge impact on us. It rattles us. We crumble. When we do hard things and we don’t run away from them, we build our resiliency muscle. We’re training ourselves to fight, not flight. And when we stick it out and get through these hard experiences it feels so good and we keep raising the bar for ourselves.


The ice bath is all about being completely focused on your mind set and your breathing, no one else’s. The minute you let your mind drift away, you lose control of your breathing. If you focus on your breathing, you pay attention to your mindset and you give yourself permission to be in the moment, you remain calm and can stick out the cold water.

 

A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. What strategies can we implement to promote a culture of mindfulness within our teams to support focus, well-being and productivity?

  2. How do you manage your stress, evolve your self-awareness and connect better with your thoughts and emotions?

  3. How do you motivate yourself and your team to overcome difficult challenges?

Hannah’s fiancé got in the zone!
This is Hannah right at the beginning focusing very hard on her breath to fight back against the flight instincts.

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