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Cold water swimmer Haben Berhe

To launch our Birch Ritual Kit we wanted to interview different people and hear what they do to feel in harmony with the seasons and themselves.

Björk and Berries birch ritual is an homage to old Swedish tradition. Every year when spring broke one would collect birch leaves that were used to cure and cleanse the body. The leaves are filled with nutrients and chlorophyll, new life. The birch ritual is designed to give you the same detoxing feeling, it will activate your lymphatic system where unwanted toxins end up.

At Björk and Berries we're constantly seeking inspiration from nature and the people around us. Our headquarter is in Stockholm and although the winters are long and cold there are still people daring it to enjoy the urban nature.

We spent some time with cold water swimmer Haben Berhe; who has dared the cold temperatures all winter long by swimming every week right here in the south part of the city.

We wanted to know why.

1. How would you describe yourself in three words:

Curious, energetic, considerate.

2. What is your passion and what is your profession?

I love adventures and connecting to people. When you give them new ways to meet, like these cold water swims, unexpected things can happen.
Something shifts in them and jolts them right back into reality, a place we seldom stay in that long being so connected to the virtual world.

I work as the Field Marketing Director for Brooklyn Brewery. Travelling is a huge part of what I do working with our European marketing team, with new market launches and meeting people.”I love the diversity and not really knowing how my days will end up. 
But it also leaves me feeling scattered from my home, some nights I just want to rest my head on my own pillow. This is partly how I got into the cold water swims three years ago.

 3. What/ who inspired you to do what you are working with today?

Although I have a strong motivation and try to let fate and content take me where I want and need to go, I do get very inspired on a daily basis by my nearest friends and family and colleagues.

My biggest role models in life would be my brother Senay and my sisters Asmeret and Harnet. When it comes to cold water baths my deepest inspiration and fulfillment comes from witnessing new people enjoying and understanding the power of the baths for the first time.

4. Describe your workday - from morning until you hit the pillow:

I travel once a week. Start the day with no breakfast, take a bath inside or outside to get my head cleared. Then I check my to do list, get myself sorted and start my day.

5. Why the cold water swimming?

Today it keeps me together, just what I was looking for when I started three-four years ago. I guess it's not what most people would even think about doing, but that's partly what got me hooked. Healthwise it keeps me calm for days, less worried, clear, no more freezing in winter time, mental stamina and I haven't been sick for 3 years.

How does it work?

The best way to start is in the summer then the change into colder water won't be such a challenge, swimming the first time mid January will be hard. If you swim from the end august you build up your strength.

The first year I swam once a month, second year more often maybe once a week. Now it's three times a week.
We are almost thirty five people now and most come back after the first time. One thing though is; no sauna!

It takes away the effect, I also prefer a maximum of five degrees. If the temperature hovers around there you get that adrenaline effect that leaves you feeling calm. The effect keeps on giving a long time after your swim, like nutrition.

You can find more about Haben HERE.

You want to shop our spring cleanse The Birch Ritual follow this link.