Welcome to our Seashell blog posts where we dive into the stories of the Seashell people, share our advice and experience to help build the community. We hope to use this space and platform to inspire others and to start important conversations. Let's get exploring!
We are really excited to be running our first ever challenge as Seashell.
As many of you know, the weather is starting to get a little cooler. Before we know it, the days are going to get darker, shorter and colder.
Our aim is to keep encouraging people to get outside and into the water. If you would like to keep dipping or swimming into the winter months, then we would highly recommend getting out into the water as much as you can now to help you acclimatise.
To help you with this, we are doing a challenge.
The challenge is to dip /swim every day in the month of October.
This can be in the sea, rivers, lochs, your own barrels or even an ice bath/cold shower.
Whichever way you would like to do it, we are here for it!
Why are we doing this?
We couldn't advocate wild swimming/dipping more for our physical and mental health.
But doing a challenge like is also more than our own individual gain.
Doing challenges is a fantastic way to meet others and share important stories/experiences that can help the wider community.
We understand that the last couple of years have been hard for a lot of people for different reasons. We are all going through something ourselves or know others who are. And for this reason, we would love for people to use this opportunity to raise money and/or awareness for charity.
We all have different reasons for different charities, so we suggest heading to JustGiving (see link below) to find one that means something to you.
You do not have to do this, but we fully support anyone who would like to.
We would love to see your reason for taking on the challenge and see your progress no matter where and who you are. We are hoping for people from all over are going to take part.
If you would like to find others near you so you are not doing it alone then please add yourself onto the Facebook events page, post where you are from and places you would like to dip. Alternatively let us know and we can help you find some dipping buddies in your area.
Here are some tips for taking on the challenge:
1. Be safe.
There is always an element of risk with anything we do but with water but dipping/swimming in cold water, there is potentially a little more.
Here are some things to think about before you head out:
Do your research before heading to your dip spot. Find groups online to see if anyone else has experience of dipping there.
Try to find spots that are safe where you can enter and exit the water quickly and easily.
NEVER go alone. It is easy to underestimate how dangerous it is to be in cold water when alone. Always have someone with you, even if they are not in the water but watching from the side.
If you are planning to be in for a long time and go for swim, then wear/use a tow float. Although you can use it as a light aid, you don't have to use this as a buoyancy aid if you don't want, more so so that others can see you.
If you are dipping/swimming in a place where there are boats, then using a tow float is extremely important for the boat drivers to see you. You will be surprised how difficult it is to see a swimmer/dipper in the water without a bright tow float.
2. Know your limits.
It is easy to watch others head out into the water and think we can just strip down and do the same.
Maybe in the summer when the water and air temperature are at its warmest but is doesn't take much for everything to cool down, even on a summers day.
Especially if it is your first time, do not be affraid of not going in for very long. If you push yourself too much and stay in for longer than is healthy you could get into some trouble.
The cold will affect everyone in different ways but if you are out and far away from your car, other people or help in general and you are struggling with the cold, your body will start to shut down. It is better to air on the side of caution and be in for less time but know you are not going to push yourself way past your limits and be unsafe.
You can build up the time being in the water over time. There is no rush. You want to build a healthy and enjoyable experience with the cold water.
This also applies to having a cold shower or bath if that is what you are planning to do for the challenge. Go in for a short while and maybe try to increase the time in there each day a little.
3. Have the right kit for in the water.
Some choose to wear extra thick neoprene wetsuits and others choose to only wear a swimming costume.
It is completely up to you what you wear.
Because most people will be dipping and not swimming, you will find lots won't bother with the faff of putting on a wetsuit and will just go in a costume, but it is totally up to you as an individual.
You will probably be able to last longer if you do have a wetsuit.
Here is a list of some equipment you can wear in the water and some extras that can help keep you warmer so you can stay in the water for a little longer when it is very cold.
Swimming Costume Trunks.
Beanie for your head (especially if you are just dipping and don't plan on getting your head wet.
Goggles (you can get wider lenses for open water swimming so you can see more and feel less dizzy).
Neoprene cap (try wearing the neoprene cap underneath the silicone cap).
Neoprene swimming wetsuits (I would recommend this instead of a surfing wetsuit as there is usually more flexibility in the arms and buoyancy in the legs to help you swim).
Neoprene booties - Helps for getting in and out of the water.
Tow float (this is more to be seen by others, but you can also hold onto this if you are struggling and will help you a little with buoyancy).
Our bodies are incredible however they need time to acclimatise to different environments.
If you are new to cold water dipping/swimming then make sure to start little by little.
There are no hero awards for staying in the longest especially when you first start.
Everyone is different when it comes to acclimatising. Try 30 seconds in the cold water, then try 40 the next time and keep going until your body then gets used to it.
It is also important to acclimatise for each swim if you can. Slowly get into the water and let your body get used to the cold rather than just plunging straight in (especially is the water is extremely cold). Sometimes this is harder to do but you will probably find you can then be in the water for longer, are less panicky and enjoy it more.
It can be easy to get ahead of ourselves, see the water and want to jump straight in. That is normally okay when it is warmer but when it is cold water, things can change very quickly.
You can be the strongest swimmer out there, but if you start to panic and struggle to breathe then it is going to get very hard very quickly when doing cold water dipping or swimming.
Whist you are stripping down to your wetsuit or swimming costume etc start to actively think about what you are about to do.
Begin to focus your attention to your breathing pattern.
Now begin to take deeper and longer breaths. Think about the water and how it may feel on your skin.
As you begin to wade or lower yourself into the water, really concentrate hard on continuing those deep breaths. The first thing you will want to do is maybe let out a little scream, laugh or hyperventilate. Keep the breaths going.
If you are dipping then you don't have to put your head under the water but if you are going for a swim or dipping, keep focusing on that breath.
If you end up holding your breath whilst you are swimming, stop, reset and go again until you are inhaling above the water and exhaling down under the water.
If in doubt turn onto your back andBREATHE!
6. Warm up from the inside out post swim. What to do + kit.
Once you decide to leave the water, when you are on dry land again you may experience that your body feels tingly and even warm all over.
Don't be fooled by this. A common phenomenon with cold water swimming is the “afterdrop". This is when you get out of the water you feel absolutely fine but then you start to get colder and colder. You can start to shiver violently, grow faint and feel unwell.
There are some things to do to try avoid this.
Warm yourself up from the inside out! Although it is tempting to just run straight into a hot shower straight after being in cold water, it will more than likely hurt. Especially if you have been in the cold water for a long time. You may experience your nails getting very sore in the shower as the hot water is too much for them to handle as the blood is trying to get back to them.
Here are some ways to help you warm up:
As soon as you get out of the water put a beanie/warm hat on. This will help to stop the heat escaping from your head.
Strip off all your wet layers and dry yourself and soon as possible.
A towelling robe is great for this so you can do both at the same time.
Try to stand on something dry like a towel to help heat your feet up. This will help when you get to putting your shoes on. Your hands and feet tend to feel numb during and after cold water swimming as the blood from them travels to the vital organs to keep them running.
Layer up: Thick joggers, lose thermals (it is hard to put on tight clothing so it is better if it is slightly baggy), towelling robes, warm fluffy changing robes, gloves, fluffy socks and easy to put on shoes.
Have a hot water bottle that has been waiting and ready to use. You can put it in the pocket of your towelling robe or can hold it in your hands to heat them up for example.
Take a flask and sip a warm drink to help warm the body from inside out.
Having a dry bag is great to carry all of your wet and dry kit especially when you are cold. Chuck it all in and sort it later when you have warmed up.
Cake! This isn't essential but actually eating something sugary will help raise the body temperature and well, why not?
If you have a car that you can put all the heaters on, then head there to sit for a while as you warm up.
If you don't have a car, then get moving. Start by walking and then swinging the arms around and maybe doing some air squats etc. It may take some time to get the body temperature up so start easy and build into it.
When you get home or somewhere near a shower, only go in when you feel you have managed to warm up a little.
Put the shower on luke warm and build it up gradually. If you got very very cold whilst swimming, you may find yourself being tired during the day until you get used to doing more so make sure to keep eating and drink well throughout the remainder of the day.
7. Have fun.
We want this challenge to be as fun and as positive as possible and to promote health living.
They often say consistency is key and there is reason and rhyme to it.
However, consistency can be difficult and there will be hard days where you do not want to get out there but know that you can do it! Keep yourself and your friends accountable!
If you are ever really struggling, then just turn your shower to cold and stay in there for a few minutes and that will count as well.
Just know that you will feel a lot better after you have done it.
Like we always say, "You always feel better after a dip/swim"!
Bring on the cold water!
"Seashell Robes have the best robes on the market and they’re growing in popularity."
"Not only do Seashell make waterproof changing robes, but they also have their own community. Seashell practice what they preach and put their products to good use in wild swimming and fitness community events up in Scotland."
Thank you very much for reading our blog post. We hope it helps you for this challenge.
We would love to see your progress and why you personally have signed up to this challenge.
Email us on email@example.com if you would like to share it and send over any photos and videos so we can share them to our social media platforms.
If you have any other stories you would like to share with our community then also get in touch on: firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Unknown Benefits of Cold Water: Training Ebook - FREE PDF BELOW: