6 Things you can learn from a sea swimmer/(Cold Dipper)
With cold water swimming on the upward rise, it is not unusual for us to know at least one person that takes the plunge every day. If you are curious to know why it’s so popular, there are many holistic long term benefits of immersing yourself in this blue trend. Have a look at the following lessons you can learn from hanging out with a cold dipper for a day or two…
They see the importance in community
One of the many positive things to come out of lockdown was the surge in people taking up cold water dipping. Female participation in outdoor swimming grew 65 per cent in 2020. Why? Well, if you take a wander down to Newquay harbour in the early hours, you'll come across a group of women, laughing and splashing their way into their morning. That isn't exclusively a cornish thing, you’ll find it in lakes, lidos and rivers all over the country too. This collective energy is infectious, even if you’re not swimming you can’t help but smile. That feeling of support, encouragement and non judgement is such a beautiful thing to witness and be part of. From the holding of hands on your first dip, to the coffee and cake afterwards, it's more than a swim for these women it's a way of being.
They embrace stepping out their comfort zone
Getting up when the alarm goes off, pulling on your swimsuit and stepping out the front door before the birds are singing, may seem like a difficult task. Even for the seasoned sea swimmer, your brain will try and find all the ways to tell us to just stay in bed. By getting up and getting out, every day you challenge that comfort zone and push yourself to achieve. This teaches us to challenge that default behaviour in other areas of life too and switch our intention to access positive change. This encourages growth, introspection and a life more aligned with our values.
They see the bigger picture
When you are floating on your back in the shallows of the ocean looking up at a full moon, seeing the stars dance across the sky, or basking in the warm glow of a summer sunset, you aren't thinking about what you are going to eat for dinner, how much your phone bill is, what your boss thinks of you… You are just being. In that moment, experiencing awe.
When we give ourselves permission to do something for us, a little ritual of self care, to fill up our cup, we let go of all the negative narratives and worries and we just enjoy that present moment. These little rituals are like hitting a reset button, we can breathe again. The expanse and beauty of nature gives us the perspective of the bigger picture off life, the present, our purpose. Next time you say, you need to get the ocean to clear your head, don’t underestimate the power of that statement.
You don’t have to be an expert to try
Asides from the obvious safety precautions, you don’t need all the gear, all the training, all the experience to start. This goes for many things in life, not just cold water dipping. When it comes to trying cold water swimming, most people go because they know someone that has been before or you’ve been inspired to give it a try. You’ll probably gain some clarity and knowledge from research, you reach out for support, you take a leap of faith and you are encouraged to go for it by your new swim buddies. We can apply this to so many areas in our life. If we wait until we are ready, we never start. If there is something you want to do, just take the first step, you don’t need to climb the mountain. Check out this website for all the necessary safety tips https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/category/survive/getting-started/
They know how to get high from nature
Cold water swimming activates endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced naturally by the nervous system to cope with pain or stress. They are often called “feel-good” chemicals because they can act as a pain reliever and happiness booster. So by challenging yourself to enter the cold water safely you are allowing your body to access those chemicals which in turn give you a positive boost when you come out.
Immersion in cold water automatically activates the stress response, by controlling the breath and the mind, cold dippers can override the stress response and in turn take back control. This can lead to better stress management on land too!
That feeling of accomplishment, motivation and achievement you don’t feel until you get out of the water. So knowing that once you get in the reward is one of positivity and energy, you connect to your driver and keep doing it. If you can start your day getting in the cold water, what else can you do?
Written by Charlotte Lodey