For you that have started to winter swim this year, I say, Congratulations!
You are up for some serious health benefits.
And for you that reluctantly frown of the bare idea of immersing yourself into ice cold water, I completely understand you.
I have been there too.
But once you cross the line from thinking winter swimmers are crazy, to actually performing it yourself on a weekly basis, year round, there is no turning back.
Right now we live by a quiet lake in Stockholm.
My winter swimming mindset has been trained for a few years, in the sea in the south of Sweden. The rough wind and wild waves there, certainly boosted my stamina and helped increase my health.
The most prominent health benefit I have noticed so far is a general wellbeing.
Add to that, a lifted mood, a sharper mind, more energy and increased stress tolerance.
I can only speak for myself, but there are several studies and scientific research that prove a myriad of health benefits associated with winter swimming.
Every Sunday morning we are a group of women who meet up on this bathing platform, crack open the ice, cheer each other on, share life’s challenges and joys and drink hot beverages from flasks. We encourage each other, reach one another our towels as we get up on the icy bath ladder.
The collective feeling is strong. Sometimes our daughters come along. Some who also appreciate a cold plunge ( and probably the time spent with their rejoiced mothers)
The morning leading up to the swim I plan carefully. I get up earlier than I have to, put on soft music, make coffee and pick out my warm clothes. I have figuered out an outfit that keeps my body warm before the swim, and more importantly, after.
Cashmere and wool in thin layers works best for me. Paired with a wool hat, gloves and winter boots.
I also bring a sheepskin to sit on.
Then I head to the bathroom. I do some breathing exercises I picked up from Wim Hof, and dry brush my whole body carefully.
Circular motion towards the heart. I believe its good for the blood circulation and the lymphatic system.
I light one of my scented candles and dim the ceiling light. I moisturize my whole body with lotion, and then seal the moisture with oil.
I protect my sensitive skin as good as I can, and apply a thick barrier cream in my face.
I slide into my swimsuit and then layer on the wool.
I find myself often wanting to apply lipstick. Thinking it’s a special moment.
A moment dedicated completely to my own wellbeing.
If you are curious to try winter swimming, but never tried it, here are a few helpful hints on the way:
- Preferably start in the Fall , with gradual cold water adaption
- Never force yourself
- Always bring a friend
- Deep breathing and a focused mindset helps
- Don’t dip your head, if the water temperature is too low
- Drink something hot straight after your dip
- Bring something to stand on while changing and some warm clothes
- When the temperature drops I recommend using neoprene socks/ shoes to protect the soles of your feet and all the nerve ends there.
- Don’t judge yourself