I have always loved the water even as a child, I’ve just been totally drawn to it! Swimming pools, paddling pools, the sea, rivers, rock pools…..in the water, near the water, you name it, that is where I’d be.
However, as an adult the cold water was not an appealing thought initially. In recent years my swim consisted of the local Leisure Centre swimming pool, which was enjoyable at the time, but what I’ve since found has been a total “game changer” for me personally.
Trips up to the Lake District and family holidays to Scotland with my boys and husband Chris, again brought us back to the water, days spent in the loch, jumping off the jetty, picnics on the paddleboard. It was there we discovered the complete joy of a morning swim albeit, in a wetsuit… nevertheless, a truly exhilarating way to start the day!
How amazing to be immersed in the water, surrounded by the beautiful mountains and then back in time for bacon butties and a hot coffee, to be enjoyed whilst gazing over the water… I mean, what better way to start the day?
Trips away carried on this way, and slowly the thoughts of no wetsuit became an appealing idea. I had seen people online across social media and in real life, in the water, “Wild Swimming “Cold Dipping” and from this I started reading about the real health benefits from it, both physically and mentally.…so why not give it a try I thought!
I took the plunge…. Lake Windermere, first dip without the wetsuit – loved it!! Okay let’s go again…. So a large walk was planned with the boys, we were walking by a beautiful tarn, it was a great opportunity to cool down from the walk on a lovely hot day! The boys enjoyed their picnic by the water and a paddle while Chris and I had a lovely swim –the feeling of total exhilaration afterwards was fantastic – I was hooked!!
The water had a warmth to it on these early adventures, but certainly not cold… not the cold I have now come to crave! The prospect of a 3- or 4-degree dip in the beginning did not “fill my heart with joy” until a breathwork session with Lisa (fellow dipper and friend) changed it all! Lisa booked us a session with the wonderful Kev at Breatheolution. We headed over to Buxton full of excitement and open minds to see what we would take from the day. I can honestly say it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had, to feel so free, reset, lighter from a heavy weight I hadn’t realised I was carrying with me.
Thanks to Kev’s patience and explanation on how the breathing techniques could help us prepare for the cold water, it became a practise that now encompasses the start to one of my days in the week. I cannot imagine a time where I would not feel the need to have this amazing experience in my life, the holotropic breathwork practise, the cold water dip, it’s worked wonders.
The little community of friends I now have to share this experience with is truly wonderful, and one I look forward to each week. From the excitement of packaging the kit the night before, popping the pan on to warm the milk for the hot chocolate in the morning to the walk up the hill in the gorgeous countryside, the breathwork by the lapping water, the bird’s signing in the background and then the dip itself. The time in the water gives me a chance to reflect, to feel the cold which is almost uncomfortable initially when we begin to creep into the water, but then accepting and acknowledging it, let it settle, keep breathing, just keep breathing in and out…. and then it ease’s – and lifts and then arrives the joy, a love of the cold water, the surroundings and the lightness I am feeling.
This moment is normally followed by a lot of joyous whooping and cheering, were in! Loving it, how amazing is that! It works for me – reset, refreshed and lighter every time, and who wouldn’t want to feel that?