It happened yesterday.
Finally I reached a point where I thought and felt strong enough to strike out from the little shoreline to the boat, deep in the water, off the stretch of estuary I swim.
Breaking my ankle back in November meant that I’d made a conscious decision to take care of my overall wellness during this period since the beginning of lockdown, whilst I regained wellbeing and my self care process included wild swimming. Swimming outdoors is something I love to do. As a Therapist who has worked internationally helping others create change – I know what it takes to instil a process to enable it to happen.
The Process I use to unravel anxieties (summer & winter).
- I use water as a place to break down into threads my anxieties.
- I then pull them apart one by one.
- Then identify them, think about them, sort them.
- This process gives me the ability to re-direct my energy to something more positive.
All whilst laying on my back – in the undulating blue, watching clouds float past over head and birds flit along the breeze.
My sense of wellbeing is tied in with but not exclusive too: being close to water, engaging with nature, exploring new places, trying different foods, experiencing other cultures, learning languages and being open to new activities. I have explored many places in our country but always come back to the sea…
I’ve used the sea, not just as a place to swim but to heal. Having damaged ligaments and tendons when I broke my ankle, I’ve exercised whilst being in the sea, not necessarily far off shore but with the conscious intention to build strength and repair the damage. I would like to say at this point I don’t advocate this method for everybody but (especially with covid still sitting on our doorstep) it was the method I chose and I’d set myself a short term goal. This goal was to tap the side of the Lacy Lady – who I see each day on my shoreline walk.
Water also offers resistance as you move through it, which allows you to work out vigorously (if you’re able) with little chance of injury. Swimming laps can also be relaxing and meditative, which may offer some stress relief, adding to its cardiovascular benefits. Finally, swimming is an activity you can do across the life span. Harvard Health Publishing
In the water I have delicately, gradually and intuitively exercised my ankle, from early spring to now.. as we edge towards autumn in England.
Knowing what short-term goal I wanted to achieve, not succumbing to the frustration of instant gratification and taking the time to recognise the small wins and milestones I was arriving at in the process.
- I recognised I kept going out deeper.
- I love to swim but can naturally be a scaredy cat and like to stay closer to shore but something has been changing as I’ve done upright hip yoga – using the water as a buoyancy aid.
- Followed my daughter’s HIIT workout in the sea – as she completed it on the shoreline
- Finally took the plunge – dove right in and decided that this day was to be the day and didn’t look back.
The water was cool initially but as always (even though I’m in my 50’s and my mum died when I was 29) my mum’s voice in my head said ‘get your shoulders under.’ I took a deep breath, wiggled my fingers into the cool water and strode purposefully out until I could dive freely and then for the first time, since the thought arose in me struck out for the boat. I was able to front crawl properly (although not necessarily elegantly) for the first time since november. Vince did say my stroke looked good, which built my confidence no end. I hadn’t realised it had dropped but the break had literally stopped me in my stride, isolating me at home even before Covid – 19 created havoc in our little family.
It was an hour before high tide, so I knew that the undertow from the current as the tide turned, shouldn’t cause me a problem and make it difficult to get there. So, I didn’t let my brain engage and remind me of the dangers lurking. Of which there were really only a few, as long as I could capably reach my destination and swim back. Yet allowed myself the quiet repose of going for it and making the most of the cool water as it trickled over my body.
In a flash I was there. I touched the side. Looked back to shore and then struck out, making my way back in.
I felt accomplished. I had put the time in, done the work and created the change within to enable me to reach my destination. I felt free of stress. At one with myself and the world and happy to be wild swimming on a warm September day, within the UK.
Is there a way I can help you destress, re-energise life and develop a deeper sense of living. Creating change within your life. Let me know. I’d love to help you!