Homophobia made me an anxious young man, but Wim Hof’s cold showers help my mental health

I put the previous of the winter “big massive coats” away this 7 days, tucked into a box in the attic until eventually temperatures get started dropping all over again. Most of these are Television acceptable so I can use them whilst broadcasting – so no logos – and a lot of are fake fur, mainly because I do have a penchant for the flamboyant, dahlings.

I love the warmer months, I really like the heat. Even if my pasty complexion indicates that the greater the temperature, the redder my experience, I’d much choose to offer with that than the cold.

Permit me acquire you back again to the depths of winter. It is a chilly morning, the windscreen is frozen and I sit in the car or truck ready for the heaters to thaw the ice. My hands are speckled in white patches for the reason that I put up with from Raynaud’s syndrome, a blood circulation situation that brings about my fingers and toes to adjust color and come to be numb or sore when I get very chilly.

I dislike the cold so considerably I in some cases shriek to myself in my motor vehicle till I get warm – I never know what the neighbours feel. But with the frequent karaoke and drumming I’m absolutely sure it’s nothing out of the ordinary!

You may possibly marvel, then, why I resolved to devote a few months in the northern Italian Alps at the beginning of this calendar year getting submerged in ice water, getting baths in barrels full of ice cubes and leaping into frozen lakes.

Inspite of these things staying anxiousness-inducing for me, the reason for my icy excursion was to see if it could be employed as a instrument to support my mental overall health. Nervousness has been a regular all through my life and drumming has been a companion that has assisted soothe that.

When I sit behind a drum package, my problems vanish. You grow to be part of it, and as I’m largely self-taught and really don’t read through songs I experience like I can entirely immerse myself in what ever I’m taking part in. This has offered me a excellent musical memory. I can hear to a tune a few times and then play it on the drums – remembering fills, breaks and tempo modifications. I would like my memory was so great when it will come to other items. But potentially this is why I locate it so comforting – it is a entire-physique encounter, all-encompassing.

Additional from Belief

But wherever does this stress and anxiety arrive from? I am incredibly fortuitous to have grown up in a residence total of enjoy, and for this I will be eternally grateful to my attractive moms and dads. But escalating up in the 1980s and 90s as a younger gay guy was, at occasions, terrifying.

In the course of this time, the media’s reporting of HIV and Aids was horrific, the portrayal of gay individuals was as unfortunate, lonely and struggling souls or as caricatures. This made me ponder who I seriously was and what lay ahead for me if I were being to occur out.

Of course, none of this was actually correct. But the outcome this experienced on me as a youngster was profound. It conditioned my head to overthink, stress about what men and women imagined about me, and left me with some emotions of internalised homophobia about myself, my campness and my flamboyance.

For me, panic was something that I felt on a day by day basis. I grew up in a entire world the place I was inadvertently currently being shamed. I say inadvertently, for the reason that no one was actively seeking to disgrace me – no one actually knew that I was homosexual nonetheless – but all the things all around me was telling me I was diverse and not portion of what the entire world viewed as to be “normal”.

Matthew Todd writes about this wonderfully in his book, Straight Jacket. He does a wonderful career in exploring the several ways that youthful queer persons are inadvertently shamed. This disgrace manifests by itself in several ways all over the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, and I am more certain than at any time that this is wherever a good deal of my anxiousness stems from.

I have looked, for lots of a long time, for further coping mechanisms for my anxiety. I initially heard of Wim Hof whilst filming on a chilly beach for The A single Display. We ended up there generating a movie about a sunken forest and the director, Scott Chalmers, instructed me about the Wim Hof strategy. I was intrigued. Cold remedy, deep respiratory. I did not really believe that the hype – I despise the chilly, so how could this be employed to assistance me?

The assumed of paying out a few months away from my partner (and cat) with a group of strangers, along with the included worry of the cold alone, induced the 1 factor I was hoping the vacation was going to relieve – my anxiety. But I was surprised at how the mix of deep respiratory exercises and cold exposure transformed my everyday living.

I’ve long gone from despising the cold to comprehension that it is something that can help me. The way in which it gets rid of you from the depths of your mind and forces you to be existing and targeted is definitely remarkable. Both equally the respiration – and the occasional chilly shower – are issues I will continue to use in managing my panic for a extensive time to come.


I’m lucky more than enough to have a drum kit in my residence, the Percussive Princess as she’s regarded. I missing my earlier drum package in a flood in London – it was my pleasure and pleasure. When it arrived to changing it I resolved to go for my dream kit.

A DW set in matte black.

It’s rather a butch-on the lookout drum package, which is why I opted for the name Percussive Princess to camp it up. It has now been transformed to electric, which the neighbours are thrilled about.


I’ve renovated a couple of houses, and my husband Arran and I unquestionably appreciate hunting at properties, architecture and inside design. So I was thrilled when I was asked to existing a new BBC Wales demonstrate, Wales’ Home of the Calendar year. I concluded filming it significantly less than a 7 days back, and it was truly incredible.

Arran told me that “snooping and judging” are two of my favorite things, but I are likely to disagree with this kind of an outrageous assert.

That reported, I found a new enjoy of residences throughout filming. There’s a good Welsh phrase, “hiraeth”, which has no immediate translation into English. It encapsulates the emotion of missing residence, a draw in direction of nostalgia and a connection with a place that has this means. I was surprised at how significantly hiraeth I encountered during filming.


I’m constantly perusing antique stores, auction web sites and vintage boutiques for brooches. I just adore them. They are so glamorous.

My collection is now in the hundreds and I get so numerous sent to me by viewers –yet, I even now just cannot support myself when it will come to purchasing a good minor brooch-ette. Through a new go to to Northern Ireland, I picked up a attractive hand-sewn pansy brooch.

I was lucky ample to be questioned to existing two awards at the 2022 Bafta Television Awards. This was the perfect option to clearly show off the pansy, a term that has been made use of as a slur for homosexual adult males for several years, and has since been reclaimed in a lot of amazing means.

I was incredibly very pleased to put on my pansy and keep my husband’s hand on the crimson carpet.

Owain Wyn Evans is a Welsh journalist and broadcaster. Freeze the Concern with Wim Hof concludes on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One