Sometimes it's good to push ourselves out of our modern-day comfort zones with uncomfortable experiences. It can help us feel truly alive and awake in the present moment, which can often pass us by unnoticed.
I ‘m writing this in conjunction with a personal challenge I set myself last weekend: To go wild swimming every morning for a week. On a hot summer’s day, this might’ve seemed like a good idea, however it is currently mid-November — cold, wet and dark. My Dad agreed to do this challenge with me (it must run in the family) and we have completed it today! The only viable way of completing the challenge was to swim in the river that’s just 5 minutes down the road, otherwise, it was a long drive to the coast every day; giving us even more reason not to do it. The idea of going to the murky river didn’t exactly make us jump out of bed every morning, even less so with the idea of putting on damp swimming costumes, but we did it! We learnt to embrace the craziness, the coldness and most of all, the feeling of accomplishment as we ran back home laughing at ourselves, but proud we’d stuck to our crazy challenge. It’s a really good thing in life to be able to not take everything too seriously, do something that doesn’t really make sense or have a purpose and get your heart pumping.
Despite all my moaning, I begrudgingly reminded myself that it was my genius idea — and one that I wanted to see through at that. Over the 7 days, getting into cold water slowly became easier. At first, it quite literally took my breathe away as I forgot to breathe from the shock of the cold, but then day after day, it became less painful and easier to relax into it. Jumping out from the river each time, my skin and mind felt invigorated and any aches or pains were instantly numbed and quietened. It felt good to be in nature every day in a way I hadn’t truly explored before, or at least not at this time of year in this way.
Benefits of cold water swimming
- Cold water swimming is invigorating and boosts the immune system.
- Swimming in the wild connects us to nature and allows us to be in tune with our environment.
- Immersing yourself into cold water activates endorphins and makes you feel good.
- If you do a lot of sport cold water swimming can help with post-workout recover and reduce inflammation so your muscles can recover much quicker.
- Your body will slowly get used to submerging into cold water and be able to deal with it more effectively and calmly. This’ll also help you in other seemingly stressful situations in life where you can apply the same response.