I did the course at Saunton last year, starting in May. I had been suffering from long covid for over a year at that point. I was having a lot of unpleasant symptoms still and unable to work (I am a physiotherapist in the nhs). My mental health was also really suffering at this stage- loss of identity, loss of confidence in my body, social isolation and coming to terms with how much I had lost of my previous life. Before catching covid I had been extremely active- running, swimming, cycling, surfing, paddle boarding. So I was confident and at home in the sea but never without a wetsuit!
As my long covid worsened, I was house and bed bound. By May I could drive again and walk about a mile. I already loved the sea and all the activities that go with it but I had always worn a wetsuit. I had read about all the benefits of cold water swimming and decided to give the Chill course a go. It was so incredibly good for me. I felt that I was achieving something and going out of my comfort zone. The instructors (Erin and Chrissie) were so kind and experienced I felt that I was in really good hands straight away. The cold water had a positive effect on reducing the worst of my symptoms (headaches and dysautonomia mainly) and had a massive benefit to my mental health, it was a real turning point for me.
Once the course finished i continued to dip regularly in just a swim suit. A couple of my friends got on board too and I am proud to say that I am still dipping at least once a week. Even if I am having a really bad day it never fails to make me feel better and give me a huge sense of achievement. I managed to start back at work in November and am slowly increasing my hours. I don’t know if I will ever make a full recovery but I do know for sure that the cold water swimming has helped me get as far as I have and has also given me a new “hobby” that is within my new limits. I will be forever grateful to you and your fantastic team for that.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart
Based on Joscelyne’s beach, Chalkwell, we offer a welcoming, safe and supportive way to access all the health benefits of cold water immersion.