Sauna thoughts by Mario
21. November 2023

A swan glides by, and thoughts of tomorrow dissipate; the sauna as a remedy for burnout.
Let me be forthright from the outset. It’s one of those pitfalls I never thought I’d succumb to, driven
by youthful overconfidence and pride. Yet, it proved easier than anticipated, and oh, the cliché. A
new job, numerous personal projects, a mother abroad grappling with severe dementia, worries
about one’s economy, and a daily screen time of 9 hours or more turned out to be disastrous for a
normal night’s rest and my overall well-being. Add to that a self-imposed pressure for performance
on nearly every front, and you have the perfect recipe for constant stress and its accompanying sleep
troubles.

This, in turn, sets off a chain reaction. I couldn’t sleep, making concentration elusive, leading to
subpar work quality, further disrupting my sleep, leaving me with scant energy for my dear girlfriend
and friends, feeling guilty about that, and having that circle to repeat itself over and over again.
I endured a mere 3 to 5 hours of sleep per night for a year. It held up for a few weeks, but after a year,
I crashed headlong into a wall. I found myself needing to pee about 20 times a day, experiencing
palpitations, constant headaches, and becoming more cynical towards those around me. Even my
short-term memory and concentration betrayed me at work, turning every small task into an
insurmountable mountain. In popular terms, you might call it a burnout, although I prefer to steer
clear of that term.
To cut a long story short, I sought ways to force myself away from screens and reconnect with my
body. My sky-high cortisol levels needed to drop, and melatonin production had to rise. Daily walks in
the forest next to my home, minimizing screen time as much as possible, and attending PUST 2-3
times a week became my main achievements.

Especially the latter gave me an incredible push in the right direction. Stepping into the sauna, I immediately notice a difference in my state of being. The combination of the sauna’s warm embrace
and the icy waters of the Oslo Fjord ensures I reach a kind of ‘high’ every time. It’s truly sensational,
especially with the Oslo Fjord water hovering around 0 degrees. At PUST, the absence of modern
temptations and distractions compels me to focus on other things, like breathing, which positively
influences my heart rate. Additionally, the view over the islands scattered across the Oslo Fjord is
breathtaking. A swan glides by, and thoughts of tomorrow dissipate.
In contrast to many other saunas in and around Oslo, PUST is intimate. During a well-booked
time-slot, there might be 8-10 people in the sauna, but between 08:00 and 14:00, you’re likely to find
yourself alone or with just a few other visitors. When you book, you see precisely how many people
are there at any given time, and that’s perfect. Sometimes I crave solitude, and other times, I appreciate a bit more company. The clientele is diverse, creating a very relaxed atmosphere.

Because apart from the physical benefits, the social aspect is equally crucial during such periods.
Especially when confined at home for weeks, occasional human interaction is vital. The casual
atmosphere at PUST is particularly comforting and makes everyone feel at ease immediately.
I’m far from where I want to be, but I’m on the right path, and I urge anyone with even remotely
similar symptoms to make an immediate visit to the sauna (and to reconsider where and how one
wants to be in life).


Mario | Creative writer for https://www.hadetmamma.com/

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