Thursday, 13 November 2014

There's nothing quite like H20...



After a few enforced days at home this week thanks to sick bugs and generally just feeling meh, frustration at the prospect of another such day quickly took hold this morning. The solution? Swimming. If there is one thing that will kick me in to touch and give this Jo back her mojo, it's a few lengths of the local pool.

I've been a dedicated early morning swimmer for the last 4 years now. When I say dedicated and early, I mean in the pool at 6.45 am three times a week!  In the summer getting up at that time is a joy;  the drive;  watching the sun rise; a coffee in my hand. Winter mornings it's not quite so easy to detach myself from my warm duvet. But the feeling I get from being spending some time in the water and the post-swim glow make it worth it.

You see, it's not just the physical aspect of swimming I enjoy. To me that's just a bonus. More importantly, it's the sense of mental wellbeing I gain. As I take those first few strokes in the water I can feel my stresses washing away and whilst I swim, I simply allow my thoughts to come and go in a mindful manner. There are truly meditative attributes to swimming that really help redress the balance.

Back in the summer I decided to take things one step further... skinny dipping. Turning 40, a missed rite of passage, too much sun... call it what you will, but it was something I wanted to experience. Now I'm not talking about a late night flinging off of clothes, diving into a holiday villa pool as a drunken dare.  I'm talking about a gorgeously hot summer's day, a secluded clothes-optional beach and tranquil, clear blue sea. Nothing sordid, a beautiful, natural environment. The cool water enveloping your body is liberating; swimming around without the tugging of bikini straps is joyfully freeing; the feeling of the warm sun on your skin, wonderful.

I realise that all of this might sound terribly taboo and skinny-dipping might not be everyone's cup of tea. Losing inhibitions, particularly after child-birth can be a tough hurdle to overcome. But there is something truly exhilarating about swimming au naturel and if you've yet to experience it then it's definitely one for the bucket list.

So until next summer it's back to the local pool (clothed of course!), half asleep but always with the promise that the day ahead is being given the best possible start.

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