It seems like a good thing to have a strategy for keeping sane. For that strategy to be wild swimming feels counter intuitive. Especially when so many non swimmers’ response to us is ‘you must be mad!’
In this week’s episode, my guest Miriam talks about how wild swimming helped her overcome anxiety. Which is odd when we also explore the sense of dread and conflict we get as we prepare to head out to do a wild swim, especially in winter. How can something that creates such inner conflict be good for us?
I can relate to all of this. At the moment I am in the grip of the worst bout of anxiety I can remember experiencing. Getting into near freezing water gives me a therapeutic sense of taking a huge breath in and letting it go, and with it releasing all the tension I’m carrying around. If only for a short while. I need it. It’s saving me.
Miriam then expands on how she uses this to deal with other challenges in her life. I’ve never really thought about harnessing the inner strength and determination I have when it comes to fighting the inner conflict which I will not let get in the way of me swimming. To then apply this to other situations that scare me and make me doubt myself is genius. Like Miriam says, “you know you can get into 4 degree water in awful weather – I’m sure you can do those other things in your life that you fear – they are probably easier in many ways.”
She’s right. So my challenge for this week is to bring my inner wild swimmer into the rest of my life – when I’m fronting a big event at work this week; when I’m dealing with conflict in a relationship; when I’m driving in horrendous weather on roads I don’t know.
Anyone who recognises any of this should consider getting in touch to be a future guest. We can now record interviews over the internet so no matter where you are in the world, you can get involved and share your own reasons for swimming and what it means to you.
Things we mention
Grantchester meadows, Cambridge, Tyne and Wear Metro, Newcastle upon Tyne, TOSERs, Whitley Bay, Dry Robe, Dart 10k, Wansbeck river, Longsands, King Edwards Bay, Esk Falls, Tow Float, Curly Wurly, Shortcuts podcast, Roger Deakin