Man wearing a black hat in ice water lake.
Image: Olavi Anttila on Pexles

How to make time for a cold plunge

It can be hard to find time for yourself but being able to relax can help you stay stress-free in other areas of your life. Here’s how cold water can help…

Time is often on everyone’s mind. I know it’s on my mind. What time is dinner being served? What time will I leave the office today? But there are only so many hours in a day so how can we fit in a cold-water therapy routine alongside all the other pressures and commitments in life? 

Dr Andrew Huberman says that you should consider doing 11 minutes of deliberate cold water exposure per week. This can be four to five sessions lasting one to two minutes each. You can increase or decrease the number of plunges per week based on how your body feels, since everyone is different. He also notes that the water should be ‘uncomfortably cold’ but still be safe for you to be in for a few minutes. But it can seem impossible to imagine where you would fit this into your busy schedule. 

The saying goes, we don’t find time, we make it – and that should apply to your wellness regime, hobbies and work deadlines too. Research from Yale University finds that prioritising relaxation can contribute to a healthier heart, stress reduction, and improved cognitive function, which will inevitably improve performance at your nine-to-five. And spending time to work on breathing techniques and meditation before, during and after your ice baths can lead to you feeling calm and tranquil, as you train your body and mind under the pressure of the cold water. 

How do you make time for a cold plunge? 

It probably won’t come as a surprise that you should create a plunging schedule. If you use cold water as a way to wake yourself up, making the most of that early morning endorphin boost, then waking up just 20 minutes earlier will give you enough time for a quick dip and that all-important warm drink. 

A garden ice pod is a great option for those on a tight morning schedule.  If you use cold water as a way to wake yourself up to make the most of that endorphin boost, then waking up just 30 minutes earlier will give you enough time for a quick dip and that all-important warm drink. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have an ice tub in the garden, you can add a cold blast to your morning shower. If you’re especially committed, more for the outdoors and live near a coastal or inland bathing site, you could wake up even earlier and take a stroll or drive with some friends for a sea or lake dip. 

Alternatively, you can always implement an evening dip if you’re not an early bird. A sunset dip is the perfect opportunity to get some movement in while winding down after a day at work. 

For those of you who rely on your local beach for a dip, you will need to account for tide times in your area. But whatever your plunging routine, stay safe. 

Here is an example schedule that you can adapt to suit your own routine. It recommends three plunges a week but feel free to alter this to suit your plunging needs. 

Graphic by Ashley Thieme.

Whatever your plunging routine, stay safe and, most importantly, enjoy reaping the benefits of cold-water therapy.