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How a bit of 'fucking cold' water made my life better...



When the final lockdown came to an end a mate of mine convinced me to try a little wild swimming. So, we popped down to a river swim spot I knew from childhood to give it a go.


Apparently, there is no need for a wet or swim suit...so a pair of swim shorts had to do.


I'd like to say I embraced the experience and dove in head first, but in fact my entry was slow and accompanied by every 'fucking' and 'bastarding' expletive my mind could conjure. Yet I made it in, just up to my chest on the first run.

When I got out, I felt incredible. A sense of achievement paired with a racing heart and the sensation of blood rushing to the surface of my skin...I was hooked.

Every week or so after that my mate and I would venture down for another dip. This went on as the days got shorter and colder. Although it was unarguably more difficult, doing it with regularity made all the difference - at least mentally.


I think January or February was probably the hardest. I admit we only went 1 or 2 times during each of these months.


Somehow, although still a pleasant experience, it lost its charm during the warmer months - perhaps the challenge wasn't as enticing. But now, the days begin to get colder again, submerging myself into the local river seems to have returned the same fantastic sensation I got the first time.


I'm not well read on the health benefits of cold water swimming, although there are plenty apparently. But I do know this, when I am regularly freezing my nuts off I find:

  • I generally get less stressed out about things

  • I have more energy

  • Big challenges in life don't seem so big any more

  • I'm generally calmer

For what it's worth, here is something I thoroughly recommend trying...

  1. Find a quiet, peaceful spot near a river, lake or by the sea.

  2. Get in the water - even if it's just your feet to start (but get fully in if you can) - let it run over your skin rather than a wetsuit or other layer.

  3. Feel it...like really concentrate on how it feels...I know this sounds a little 'out there' but just trust me - this is a great way to clear your mind.

  4. Stay in for as long as is comfortable.

  5. Get out, grab a flask of hot coffee/tea, wrap up warm and look out over the water you have just been in - consider what you have just embraced/achieved.

Note: Please be safe if you are going to try this. Lots of good advice on wild swimming safety can be found here.




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