the tops of 3 red chillis protruding from the snow

the chilly chilli

I love cold water.

When most people are celebrating the turning of the year at winter solstice, welcoming back the light and warmth of longer days and looking forward to summer, I am feeling the opposite.

While at winter solstice the days of the coldest water are still ahead of me, I do mourn the passing of winter.

My favourite seasonal words are bitter, biting, sharp, crispy. Not slow, long, languid or lazy.

Winter is my season. It just is.

Swimming through winter

The fabulous guys at Beneath the Stream podcast gave me the opportunity to explain what it is about winter swimming that is so compelling.

You can have a listen here

For lots more wild swimming chat, have a listen to my Swim Wild podcast.

me swimming in open water wearing swimsuit, christmas pussing bobble hat and goggles
winter swimmer resting on a tow float in a lake

Cold water therapy

I have M.E. It is an unpredictable condition that affects my energy and clarity day to day.

It is counter intuitive to immerse myself in really cold water as a therapy to help deal with this.

Getting really cold is really tiring. I always needs a nap in the afternoon of any day when I do a morning winter swim.

But I also never feel more alive than when I am swimming through winter.

Acceptable alternatives

I can't always get to open water for a swim when I need to.

This is a problem when immersing yourself in cold water feels so life giving.

In January 2020, getting a beautiful cast iron roll top bath for the garden seemed like an obvious solution. This proved a godsend during the coronavirus lockdown. Unlimited access to cold water, with the ability to add ice if necessary.

Anecdotally, some people also say that cold is useful therapy to deal with some symptoms of the menopause.

Lying in a tin bath in the garden by candle light wearing a swim suit and bobble hat

Want to know more?

I have started a blog about swimming into, through and out of winter, paying attention to the changing energies of the seasons and how my M.E. and peri-menopausal body responds.

You can read it here.