On Wim Hof and Chill (or 29 days to Step One)

7a Wake up: make coffee, poop, stretch, water plants.
9a Begin studying: read a chapter from review texts and complete a block of practice questions.
2p Movement break. Eat food afterwards.
5p Resume studying: more question blocks and review the results.
9p Watch TV and eat.
10p Wind down and lights out.
11p Body in bed and sleep.

Rinse and repeat for twenty-nine more days.

One week of Step Prep done.

Last night, we had six friends over to relax and unwind from the week of cramming and stressing. As the folks filtered in, the conversations were light and casual, but underlined by stress and tension. We tried too hard to avoid the subject of studying and Step, so it always came up.

We began with yin yoga, long holds in restorative positions to take us out of our minds and into our bodies. From there, we laid in a circle with our heads inside to begin the Wim Hof Method: thirty full and rapid breaths followed by a long exhale and breath hold. Essentially, freediving preparation to load up your tissues with oxygen and scrub them clean of carbon dioxide. A few rounds of this and we were all feeling tingles, shivers, and smiles.

After we yawned and returned to the reality of the small apartment, my partner began a feast of curries, kimchis, and brownies. The lively discussion around the small Korean floor table was filled with laughter and knee-slaps. No underlying tension, no need to avoid the Step elephant in the room. One of my friends said it best, “I feel like I’m my true self, again.”

We ended the evening with a small thanksgiving: going around the circle to give thanks for something in our lives. We exchanged hugs to all and promised to repeat this session, to give us a light at the end of the study week.

I know that life will not slow down. The next month will be simultaneously a long four weeks and the blink of an eye. One month and I will be done with Step, the first board examination of my career. Then, I’ll move up to PA with my partner. Her parents will join us and on the way north they will meet my mine in Jacksonville, for the first time. A few weeks of decompression and relaxation in May. In two months, third year will begin.

Once I enter that tunnel, I’m not sure that I’ll have many chances to pop my head above the water and catch my breath. So, I look forward to these small ceremonies, these chances to center myself and reconnect with my lovely and amazing peers. We plan on more Wim Hof and Chill evenings, once a week until Step, and then perhaps through the move to PA.

Stretch. Breathe. Eat. Laugh.

What else can you ask for?

Long Form Sundays

On Death Podcast

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