So, last September I found myself in a lake, dragged there by a friend who had done it before and another who wanted to try it

By Chris Onion

So here is my story ….

Both of us who had never done this before were nervous, scared, wondering if this was for us, but we looked at each other, and decided it was now or never, got in the lake and have never regretted that decision for a moment.

Each week we swam, a little less as the lake grew colder, and I discovered the Her Spirit community and their Winter Swim Challenge. I signed up because I like a challenge and didn’t really consider how cold it was going to get. I read stuff, watched videos, joined in webinars and eagerly found out more: in hindsight, I should have signed up for a couple of introduction to cold water swimming sessions that were on offer, but I missed that opportunity, which is my only regret.

The water got colder and at 14 degrees I donned a shortie wetsuit. I hated it every time I had to put it on, but with encouragement from the Her Spirit crew, I removed the wetsuit (don’t fret I wore a swimsuit) and found I was staying in for the same amount of time, however, changing and warming up were much quicker.

Yes, you get a sort of pins and needles feeling in your arms and legs when you first get in when the water gets really cold, but the mental health benefits and the cold water adaptation you gain, along with all those feel good hormones afterwards is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. What a high! Every time! And the cake afterwards, or a toasted tea cake, is always a delicious treat. Well… you must fuel the shivers!

I’m looking forward to the temperature cooling, the lake being quiet where only the hardy dare to swim, and those incredible feelings of euphoria post-swim that is so addictive you’ll never want to give it up. Watching the seasons change and leaves fall, swimming in the mist, or with ice in the water, or as rain drizzles or pelts (I love the lake in the rain). On clear, sunny, frosty days, you can be easily tricked in to a chorus of Club Tropicana to fool your brain that you’re really in the Caribbean and a Boxing Day or New Year Swim with friends is the icing on a swimmer’s festive cake.

And then, before you know it, Spring is back – the trees begin to turn green and the birds return, and the water slowly warms. And you hear the voices everywhere, ‘I can’t wait for winter swimming again!’ I can’t wait for winter swimming again – the only crazy thing in an insane world that makes complete sense.

So why not dip in your toes, your knees, your butt, and the rest, and see where this winter swimming (or swimbling as many call it) takes you… I make you just one promise… you won’t regret it!

Sign up for the Winter Swim Challenge

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