“Anxiety is something that hits pretty close to home for me and something I think is important to talk about,” said Sean Foster, Founder/Owner of PLUNJ. “I want to make sure everybody understands it's not something only they are dealing with, it's something a lot of people deal with.”
Sean began struggling with anxiety at a young age, without yet knowing what anxiety was. In elementary school and through high school, he thought his anxiety episodes were just being moody or simply having weird thoughts or anger. Only after he married Lauren did they start to realize he was dealing with anxiety. He finally had a word for what he was going through. As he was put into higher pressure situations through work, in relationships, parenting, or whatever the case was, the anxiety symptoms came out more and more.
During all this added stress, Sean and Lauren had started a practice of taking dips in the Provo River after runs, primarily for muscle recovery. After a few months of cold plunging, Sean noticed he wasn't having as many panic or anxiety attacks as before. He realized later that this reduction in anxiety symptoms was likely attributed to the deliberate cold exposure.
Many friends of PLUNJ know that the idea to open a Nordic-style bath house was born in the cold water. This newfound knowledge that cold plunging has helped and could help people combat anxiety seemed like incredibly meaningful information to share. People need to know about this!
“Don't get me wrong, it's not a fix all by any stretch of the imagination,” Sean said of cold plunging. “It's another tool in your toolbox.”
Through the stressful process of opening PLUNJ and making sure everything was going smoothly, Sean said his anxiety was at an all-time high. “It was kind of a slap to the face when I realized the thing that was granting me so much relief from my anxiety brought it back full force,” Sean sead.
Those close to Sean, especially when they were starting PLUNJ, encouraged him to find another tool to deal with his anxiety. So he decided to meet with a therapist. Through cold plunging, talk therapy, and breathing, Sean has been able to find his mixture of things that help him manage his anxiety.
“I think cold plunging in general is amazing, but please don't forget about some of those other tools that are so important for your mental health,” says Sean.
There are many phenomenal counselors and therapists in the area who would love to start chatting with anyone who needs help. There are many groups that focus on things like running and other exercise, creativity as an outlet, or community to support those with mental health challenges. As part of that help, it is very important to Lauren and Sean that PLUNJ is a supportive place for anyone and everyone dealing with mental health challenges.
“Long story short, you're not alone. Just know there are those of us out there willing to talk and willing to help out in whatever way we can. We really do hope PLUNJ is one of those places that can continue to support you,” Sean said.
Here at PLUNJ we also want to welcome any therapists or practitioners in the area who want to collaborate in an effort to support those struggling with mental health issues. Reach out at email@example.com . We’d love to hear from you!