Middle-Aged Anxiety And Saunas

It seems that anxiety is my best friend, even when I try to relax.

Sauna by Xeasa at http://www.flickr.com

The good news about living in the block is that apart from the bitch upstairs who vents her menopausal wrath on my little Princess, we have some super deluxe sports facilities that we pretend to use. As in, we have access to a gym the size of a powder room with three magical pieces of equipment that we die on, occasionally, as well as a lovely pool, spa and sauna.

I must admit that I’ve never really seen the appeal of saunas before, but especially now that I’m in the throes of peri-menopause and spend a good part of my day hot and bothered anyway.

But on Saturday I decided to go for a quickie gym session – because in my mind a quick ten minutes on the cross trainer would combat the ten glasses of Champagne I was going to neck later. En route to the torture chamber to the gym,  I spotted the sauna and remember thinking ‘why not?’

By the time I got there, after a good fifteen minute workout, I was already feeling the burn, having got on and off that bloody cross trainer several times because it was going way too fast for my short legs, (surely level 1 shouldn’t be that hard?) and then swum a whole twenty lengths of our 10m pool, but I was also feeling pretty damn good about myself. Why exactly I thought I needed to raise my body temperature any higher, I don’t know, but as I’ve been led to believe that saunas can be a very pleasant experience, I ignored my natural inclination to NEVER try anything new, apart from wine.

So I planted myself  confidently on one of the hard wooden shelves, tentatively poured water onto the smouldering coals and then waited for something wonderful to happen. 


And waited.

It was very quiet in that sauna and or some reason, while I was waiting and the room began to heat up at quite an alarming rate, my imagination went into overdrive and I couldn’t stop worrying about what would happen if I couldn’t open the door afterwards.

I poured more cold water onto the coals in an attempt to take my mind off my anxious thoughts, adjusted my position on the hard board to a lying position, (because my buttocks were now numb), mentally opened my pores to the steam… and then I noticed the vent in the ceiling, complete with emergency handle.

Which reminded me of my concern about what the fuck I would do if I couldn’t open the door.

I closed my eyes to try and take my mind off the vent and that ridiculous thought of not being able to open the door, (because I knew it was ridiculous) but then the thought of some crazed psychopath suddenly pushing his face up against the steaming window and hammering against it began to threaten any possibility of relaxation. By this point I’d worked myself into such a state that I didn’t dare move and so attempted to spoon water over the coals from my horizontal position and tore my shoulder muscle in the process. The pain was excruciating and as the temperature steadily rose, I realized that I couldn’t get up and open the door, even if I wanted to.

Fortunately, the survival instinct is very powerful.

I made the decision that my life was not going to end in a sauna. I mean, I don’t even like saunas and how awkward would it be when I was discovered, to be all red-faced and blotchy AND wearing my oldest and fugliest Speedo swimsuit, with brown sunscreen marks all around the once-white straps and a frayed gusset?

#menopause #Women #Anxiety #middleaged #Sauna #Humor #MentalHealth

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