If you’re not feeling well and have doubts about doing your cold exposure, always talk to your doctor. But there’s one clear rule that’s useful to know. If you have flu-like symptoms with a fever, don’t get into the water.
Focus on breathwork and meditation techniques that will help you recover instead. Cold exposure is powerful, but as a hormetic stressor it’s important not to add new stress to the existing stress your body is already coping with from your illness.
Pick the practice up when your fever has completely subsided. Check your body temperature has consistently returned to normal and you feel strong enough to take on the challenge. You could even start with a shorter dip (or shower) or take the temperature to a (still uncomfortable), but slightly warmer level to help ease you back in.
You’ll be surprised about how quickly you’re able to pick up the times and temperatures you were doing before your illness. If your practice was consistent, your body will have adapted and remember what to do when it’s hit by the cold.
Let this provide some reassurance that it’s perfectly ok to miss a few days to help give your body the time it needs to recover and that you won’t lose your adapted state in any hurry! If you rush your recover, this could prolong your illness or make it worse, so go carefully. Respect your body, and respect the cold.