Sarah's (rather chilly) leap for wellbeing
The cold burns against my skin, numbing it instantly. I wade out, knowing that the icy water stabbing against my legs is an inevitable part of this. A bitter blanket weaving about my body welcoming me, a dear friend; I plunge violently in, gasping, salt water teasing my lips. And then I’m in. My arms and legs cut automatically through the water, until the cold has eaten from the outside in and there is nothing to do but surrender to the vastness and in it know that I am somehow suspended safe and all is well. I turn on my back for delicious blissful moments before I must return to the shore and take up my life where I left off before.
I love this extract from The Ladies Midnight Swimming club by Faith Hogan. It beautifully captures how I feel about my cold water dips. They have become my go-to for a reset, a way to cut though swirling thoughts and just be. When I take the leap and turn to look back to the shore I believe I can do anything!
The endorphin rush, the great sleep after, and the camaraderie are all such gifts to my wellbeing
I recently moved house and although I love my new home I did feel a real disconnect from my new community. Although I still don’t yet know many people, the community of swimmers has been a joy. Meeting strangers and instantly stripping down and laughing over the struggle to maintain modestly is very bonding!
My experience of swimming outside has mostly been a dunk, splash about, feel invigorated (and a bit numb) then clamber out for a flask and a chittery bite (unhealthy snack)! Those I have bumped into at the water have however inspired me to actually swim and push myself, physically and mentally. I am amazed at the way these strangers, who been united only by the urge to enter water at the same time, all look out for one another. This ranges from calls of encouragement and “it’s lovely once you’re in” to checking on safety and providing spare mugs of tea. Such fabulous evidence of the warmth of human kindness.
Somehow I have become an addict of cold Scottish waters. The endorphin rush, the great sleep after and the camaraderie are all such gifts to my wellbeing. Obviously there are also danger and I advise anyone who fancies taking it up to check out the safety basics OSS top 10 tips for safe summer swimming – Outdoor Swimming Society Outdoor Swimming Society. I hope you may be inspired to give it a go and that you too enjoy the water’s bountiful gifts.
Thank you for sharing your cold swimming adventures with us, Sarah.