I have been going for ocean dips roughly once a month for two years now. Our neighbourhood friends told me about how they go once a month, and share their experience with their friends via video who live far away. At first I thought that was a bit crazy, but it certainly piqued my interest. Not one to back down from a challenge (that I set myself, for no reason whatsoever), I said I would go with them to try it out! The first time I went was of course, in the middle of winter, when everything about this experience is just COLD!
I ran in, and ran out screaming, and I was thrilled to have done it! That’s what I have been doing almost every month since then, run in and out while screaming, but I never actually stayed in the water. My mind just wasn’t prepared to do that.
This was a run in & out kind of a dip on January 1st, 2022. It was SO cold! There was still snow on the ground & roads. We walked to this ocean spot - around 30min walk because the roads were still too slippery, the wind howled at 60+km/hr. We were so excited that we did it anyways!
Until just after Christmas…
I have been thinking about swimming simply because I love being in the water. I found an outdoor swimming group in my area where people meet up to go for ocean dips, and even 30minute swims in their wetsuits. The main difference I found was: Nobody ran in screaming. Those folks just walked in, so gracefully and then stayed in the water! They stood in a circle resembling a group sitting in a hot tub, for many minutes. My mind was blown. Those women are fierce!
Again – I’m not one to back down from self imposed challenges, if the ladies can do it, so can I! Perhaps all I need is a change in attitude!
My first graceful dip was over Christmas, I prepared myself with deep breaths, and the knowledge that I would walk in, stay a while and then walk out. Funnily, I didn’t actually have a real choice about the “walking in” part. My feet are sensitive and I don’t enjoy walking on rocks in my bare feet, let alone running! I was entirely unprepared for this dip and ended up going in in my underwear since I didn’t have my swimsuit. I usually wear water shoes, but I didn’t have those either.
What a thrill!! It was so chilly, but I loved being in the water, enjoying the stillness and being immersed in the ocean. I loved it!
Practicing the graceful walk out of the water!
I have gone for several dips, and even swims in my wetsuit since then and it has been so fun and enjoyable! Yesterday, I watched a family of otters ride the waves to shore, like they were surfing! To me, that’s nature at it’s best! I would have never seen this unless I had this change in attitude!
The change of mindset of such a minor thing has already allowed me to make new friends, spend more time immersed in nature and challenge myself in a really fun way. It made me wonder, what else could I do / change / achieve in life if I just changed my attitude a little? Where am I standing in my own way? What could I do slightly differently to increase my joy and happiness?
PS: If cold water dips / swims intrigue you too, and you might like to try it, please educate yourself before going out for the first time. Safety is the #1 priority, and winter swimming is the "black diamond" kind of swimming, so be extra careful!
Here's a helpful video to get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jXjDOUCnk0
(There are many more fantastic resources, do a search and read / watch a few!)
Join a group, and always go with a buddy, or at least bring someone who will watch out for you from the shore!
Jani is a certified ICF & Martha Beck Life Coach, and offers a free discovery session to those who are ready to create their best life.
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