Late last year, we tried the Wim Hof Method. If you’re unfamiliar with him, Wim is a Dutch world record holder, adventurer and self-taught scientist who has mastered cold exposure and breathing techniques. He claims that anyone can learn his methods to improve their health, well-being and performance. One of our directors, Andrew Mason, is a huge supporter of this method and encouraged some of our team to join the hype. This 3-day course significantly impacted all of us individually, so we decided to document our thoughts.
Here at Pentest People, we always value our staff's mental well-being and invest in our employees at work as well as outside of work. Our CEO, Andrew, encouraged us all to take part in this trip from his personal experience with the Wim Hof course and for us all to share this new method as a team. As a business, we've always been big advocates for social activities, but this trip proved to have more benefits amongst our staff than any social we had done before. Intending to create long-term habits to battle everyday obstacles such as stress and anxiety for our employees, the extra team bonding came as a bonus!
When I first heard about Wim Hof course, it was a no-brainer for me, as soon as I heard about the opportunity, I had no doubts about doing it, as I've always been fairly headstrong and to my surprise Wim Hof massively challenged me.
As some may be aware, I was always the person in the office turning the heating up to 25 degrees and had a coat on. I was very apprehensive about going as I overthink everything and always think the worst. I am so pleased I chose to go.
Before the course, I was sceptical. Cold weather and breathing to help you feel happy? I thought it would make me miserable or be bogus. How wrong I was. Having grappled with my own mental health previously, the Wim Hof experience proved invaluable.
Prior to attending the Wim Hof retreat, I experienced a general feeling of uncertainty and stress about plunging into what was potentially a very cold unknown. Having had no pre-conception or idea aside from how cold the experience would likely be, this was an entirely new adventure for me.
Before attending the Wim Hof course I was unaware of the benefits that could be obtained from cold water exposure and improving breath work. After a few days in the lakes, I can see why there’s so much buzz around Wim Hoff.
Over the course of three days, our team learnt the three pillars of the Wim Hof Method, which included breath work, connectivity and cold exposure. We learnt these foundations so they could be transferred and applied to everyday circumstances and obstacles. The three days consisted of multiple cold water experiences in rivers, waterfalls and the final challenge of conquering an ice bath for two minutes. Alongside these extreme challenges, Emma Estrella, our course leader, practised breath work and yoga with us every morning and evening, to prepare us for the tests ahead. Alongside the cold water plunges and breath work, we hiked over 8 miles around the lake district and had the opportunity to explore the local tarn and nature paths.
When reflecting on the experiences of cold and the breathing exercises which we explored, it is clear that these will now stay with me as I progress further into my career and life. After arriving home, I felt the most relaxed that I have in a few years as a result of focusing on what is happening at the moment and not worrying about what is going to happen in the future. Typically, I would not enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings about the group/activities with an audience, but as the days progressed and different breathing exercises and techniques were explored, this felt much easier, despite being the 'basement-goblin' techie-type.
The Wim Hof course was an amazing opportunity to connect as a team, be involved in new experiences and push ourselves out of our comfort zones. The trip was an unforgettable experience which brought us closer together as colleagues and made us realise that we were capable of much more than we thought.
I am so pleased I took this great opportunity! I completed every challenge thrown at me, and I felt refreshed and recharged. It was also a great team-building exercise, and I got the opportunity to speak to people in other departments.
This not only gave us all space to demonstrate to ourselves that when we put our minds to it, we actually could do it but also armed us with breathing techniques to help us when we struggle. Spending days out in the cold, when you're constantly in and out of freezing water, walking around the Lake District proved that the mental strength I thought I had, was there, and I could use it. Ultimately, I learned that no matter what life throws at you, you can always get through it.
Over the course of the trip, I learnt how to trust my body and not worry before something happens, as it's never as bad as you think it's going to be. I had the most fantastic time challenging myself and bonding with the team. It was well out of my comfort zone, but I took away some brilliant tips from Emma. Everyone in the group motivated each other to complete the challenges, which made the experience a lot more enjoyable and rewarding.
I truly felt the benefit after the cold water exposure and embracing the breathing. This will be something I’ll continue to do even after the course, along with those cold showers and, eventually, ice baths! A fantastic experience and one I would highly recommend.
Every single member of the team took something away from this experience, whether that's personally or work-related. We would like to encourage others to do this course to form long-term habits for employees to be productive in work and life. Cold water therapy, as well as the breathing techniques, can be part of your everyday to enhance your quality of life.
One Piece of Advice From Our Team:
"I would 100% recommend that anyone, regardless of their physical ability or assumed mental fortitude, give the Wim Hof Method a go, as it can help out with everyday life, even if you are an anxious techie type like me!"
All of our courses & classes are run by the amazing Emma Estrela, if you are interested in doing the Wim Hof Method, we have linked her page here.