Imagine starting your day with a jolt of exhilaration, a rush of energy, and a positively charged mindset that sets the tone for everything ahead. This is the experience of cold water swimming and cold therapy – a practice that can transform your mental health and elevate your daily life.
We teamed up with Welsh wellbeing community group ‘The Dawnstalkers’ a while back whilst filming our series OWN IT and experienced what they have created. Starting before the sun rises you’ll find people heading down to the seafront at Penarth and gearing up to get into the cold Welsh waters. However this isn’t reserved for the hardcore athletes and perpetually motivated individuals, you’ll find people from all ages and walks of life participating to improve their daily wellbeing.
The mental fortitude cultivated through cold water swimming can have a profound impact on both your personal and professional life. Here's how:
Improved self motivation: Waking up early and subjecting yourself to the cold water is a way to commit yourself to stepping outside of your comfort zone and practice self-discipline, a skill set that only you can reward yourself and can reproduce in other areas of life where the path of least resistance isn’t always the best choice.
Stress Management: Cold exposure is a natural stress reliever. As you learn to adapt to the cold, you'll develop a greater capacity to manage stress, a skill that is invaluable in high-pressure work environments or for the chaos that day-to-day life can bring you.
Increased Focus: Cold therapy sharpens your mental focus. It enhances your ability to concentrate, which can lead to increased productivity and efficiency in your work. It will also allow you to target areas of your life that you wish to work on or prioritize, something that can often feel like a daunting task when trying to force reflection.
Enhanced Productivity: With improved mood, reduced stress, and heightened focus, you're better positioned to accomplish tasks with ease and creativity.
If you're new to cold water swimming, fear not – it's an accessible activity for beginners and isn’t as challenging as you may imagine. Here are some tips to get started:
Safety First: Always prioritize safety. Start with shorter swims in controlled environments and gradually build your tolerance. Check the currents and tides before heading into the water and ideally swim with a group so that there is always someone there should you require any assistance.
Community Matters: Seek out local cold water swimming groups or communities like the Dawn Stalkers. Swimming with others can provide support, camaraderie, and valuable guidance.
Equip yourself: Make sure that you visit the area you plan to swim at before you first head out to assess what you’ll need. A fresh towel and warm clothing are essential but you may also find items such as Water shoes and high visibility items may be required.
Incorporating cold water swimming into your routine can be a game-changer for your mental health and daily life. The science-backed benefits, combined with the invigorating experience, make it a worthwhile endeavour. If you're a seeking ways to boost your mental resilience, improve your day to day performance and get a head start on your day, consider taking the plunge into cold water.