This year will be my third winter swim challenge with Her Spirit

By Lisa Brackner

So here is my story ….

I found myself signing up for my first in October 2020 after an open water taster session at Spring Lakes. Oh my goodness I loved it and even more so because it was cold! The atmosphere at those sessions is amazing, always Her Spirit support on hand and someone to talk to, ask advice and just generally cheer you on. It was this introduction and meeting Mel and Holly that made me download the Her Spirit App and ultimately join the winter swim challenge. I was hooked!!

After a few weeks of the taster sessions and persuading my sister to join we went it alone, committing to go each weekend as part of the challenge. As it got colder we swam slightly less and we invested in socks and gloves to combat the cold. I know some people wear 2 hats or a balaclava but I actually like the numb feeling on my head (weird I know). I think I met a fellow ‘Her Spiriter’ every time we swam.

The challenge keeps you motivated, lets you share your experience with others and read about what others are up to. Lockdown was certainly interesting, lots of cold showers for some and other innovative ways to sit in the cold water.

There is something more calming about the lake in winter, it is less busy for a start and I always think the water is a lot clearer. I think everyone has a different way to get in, i’m very quiet, slowly breathing and just taking it steady, my sister swears and tells me she hates me every single time!! She loves me afterwards though. 

Last year I had what I’m referring to as a midlife meltdown, lots of health issues coupled with work stress took its toll, I couldn’t exercise the way I had been doing but I could swim even if not quite as much as normal and that was my one constant, it helped me enormously both physically but more importantly from a mental perspective. 

It isn’t just about the swim in winter either, it’s the getting wrapped up afterwards, having a hot drink and a treat and a chat with friends whilst warming up and just that sense of achievement once you have done it. I swim through winter for very different reasons to a summer swim. It’s so cold that you can’t think of anything else and that means it clears my mind completely. It isn’t about distance for me, it is just being outdoors in all weather including the snow which was amazing,  I think the coldest temperature I’ve been in was 3 degrees!!

The Her Spirit App, community and its challenges are just such a positive thing to be part of and experience, there is something  for everyone and you don’t have to be an athlete to join. This community is for every woman out there just wanting to live their life to the full and these ladies sure know how to motivate you to do that.

My top tips for the challenge:-

  1. No 1 – Just do it and you won’t regret it!!!
  2. Sign up with a friend or connect with someone on the app to keep you motivated
  3. Post your pictures and progress, it motivates others but I also love looking back at the experience
  4. Gloves and Socks are a must for me
  5. Treat yourself to a hot drink and treat afterwards, you are sure to get chatting and make new friends

If you haven’t tried it, give it a go, let yourself feel free!! I just love it. The big question this year though is Skins or Wetsuit???? I’ll let you know!! 

Sign up for the Winter Swim Challenge

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