Why I Shvitz On the Regular

a room with benches made out of logs.

I am writing to you from King Spa, a shvitz palace I’ve been coming to for the better part of the last decade. 

Vat is a schvitz you askShvitz is a yiddish word that means “to sweat”, and around the world, many cultures (including Korean) create venues where people can go to sweat intentionally.

In Russia, you’ll get beaten with branches at the schvitz. In Morocco, teenage granddaughters scrub their grandmothers backs at the schvitz. In a European-style spa, people sauna and steam with whispers and cucumber water and *very* high prices, which I avoid if possible.

I don’t spa, I shvitz.

I started shvitzing in my 20s at The Russian Baths on East 10th Street way back before they had a web site.  My grandmother (who raised my father on 4th Avenue between C&D in Manhattan in the 1940s) was absolutely baffled when she learned I was a regular there:

“You’re going to the shvitz? Your great grandfather loved to shvitz. They don’t let women in the shvitz. How did you get in the shvitiz? Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”

I’ve shvitzed in Manhattan and Queens, all over Morocco, and now I shvtiz in NJ. Here at King Spa, I hang out in standard-issue pajamas, lounge back on pink lazy boy chairs, eat some of my favorite Korean food (including eggs that cook in the shvitz along side me), and my favorite shaved ice sweet treat, patbingsu.

Does life get any better?

Yes. It does. You see, I no longer shvitz on special occasions; I’ve been shvtizing on the regular. I observed some jealousy that I had of people who enjoyed corporate offsites in London, South Africa and Bangkok to enhance (or reward) their business acumen. 

If you’re a coaching client, you know how I roll with jealousy. To me, jealousy is something to pay attention to; it means that there’s something in the world that I want and I don’t have. Jealousy can be a nasty, ugly monster of self-doubt, contempt and negativity, or it can be your stomach rumbling because you’re hungry.

Here’s the thing you have to ask about jealousy: Is this a healthy jealousy? Are you correcting an imbalance? Like when you’re pregnant and craving steak because you need iron? Or are you jealous of your friend’s amazing wedding because you really want to get married yourself, and you know your current partner isn’t the right one.

I determined that my craving for an offsite was healthy; I wanted a place to shift perspective, take care of my body to take care of my mind, and level up my work. I’m a working mom with four kids, so vacation and weekends no longer provide the restoration they used to.

As the CEO of this operation, it was on me to figure it out how to address this mind and body depletion.

And so, my love of shvitzing and a half-priced book of entry passes (that expire in a year) was just the nudge I needed. And so now, I come to the shvitz fortnightly (at least), and bring my laptop. I shvitz, I think. I lounge, I write, I eat, I observe. I prepare workshops, I get my red bean ice. I do my continuing ed classes, I shvitz some more.

Is there an area in which you’re observing a recurring jealousy? An area where you’re depleted that you might need to supplement? If you’re a new parent, maybe it’s sleep. If you’re an entrepreneur, maybe it’s a competitor’s active IG feed or P&L. If you’re working long hours, maybe it’s the fact that your neighbor is able to take the whole summer off at the beach.

Is there an imbalance right now that you can adjust? Have a think (and possibly a shvitz), and consider the opportunity to go after it. I’d love to hear what you’re working on.

As always, I’m here for you if you’d like a drop-in session or would like to start a coaching program. Or check out my book for more self-study, coaching questions and exercises.

Let’s do this-

PS: I’m making some changes to my newsletter. I’ve committed to writing weekly letters like the one above, with stories and links and humor. I’ve drunk the kool-aid of Brene Brown, and Rachel Naomi Remen and it’s clear that the best way to serve you is authentically and vulnerably. You bring that to our work, and I will volley it back.

I’m going to share what I’m working on as a coach and as a person, as well as trends I’m observing with clients and the latest research on neuroscience, anxiety and personal development.

Our relationship is an intimate one, and to help you be a better you, I’ve got to be a better me. And so I march forward with you, growing hand in hand, raising our game so that we can have a more positive impact on the world around us, together.

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