For the first time in my life, I am looking forward to the cold, rainy, windy and dark winters of Denmark. I have always been an outdoor person, so rain and cold set a big stopper for the types of activities that gives me energy, add in the darkness of Danish winter and you have the recipe for winter-depression.
For the last many many years my sister has been winter swimming, and last year I took the jump too. Winter swimming is this crazy Scandinavian thing with jumping into a freezing cold ocean naked, followed by a trip to a warm sauna and then you repeat. Sounds crazy right? It is, but it's also fantastic!
I winter swim in a winter swimming club called "Det kolde gys" (the cold rush), in the club, there is a rule that you need to swim before you go into the sauna. Every time, even when I am in a good rhythm, this feels like jumping straight into a frozen hell. It's not pleasant in any way. After the first quick dip, you run to the sauna and get your core heated up again.
After 15-20 minutes in the sauna it's back into the cold water, but this time the magic happens. The water doesn't feel as cold as it did last time you were in, hell is gone and you are now swimming in water that is getting your full body to go into a fantastic rush. When you exit the water again the next fantastic thing happens. You can now walk around outdoors in minus degrees bud naked and it feels warm. Your body is working it's magic and it feels fantastic!
After the first trip of magic joy, you can repeat multiple times and it just gets better and better. Some days I can be in the club for hours, other days my body is tired and I only take a few turns.
The more repetitions I take the better I sleep that night and the more energy I have the following days.
In our winter swimming club, you are naked. This is the original way of doing it. We have a department for men, women and mixed and you are naked in all departments.
Why naked? Imagine having drenched trunks on with freezing water around 1 degree, it would take ages to heat up again! I have tried winter swimming with my trunks on and it did not give any of the above magic feelings, I felt cold into my core all the time and never got the feeling of the extreme rush from my body working.
But what about sexuality?? Hey, everybody is naked, young and old, thin and thick. Yes, the first time you are naked in front of a stranger is weird, but only inside your own head, remember, the stranger in front of you is as naked as you are...
Go out and try winter swimming this winter! It's fantastic! The culture is widespread in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Germany, my guess is that it's also done a lot of other places.