Into the Blue

“What are you going on about new Jo?” Today’s blog and top tips are all about trying something new and as a result, may be surprising the hell out of yourself, or making unexpected but very welcome discoveries. Participating in and undertaking activities are a fabulous way of alleviating and calming down anxieties and worries. They act as distractions, can be absorbing and calming and as a result, are great for your wellbeing.

In early October, my daughter said: “can you get me to a swimming pool, I want to start swimming again?” (She is recovering from a broken foot and her physio recommended swimming as a great exercise to strengthen muscle without putting pressure on the bones). “Yes,” I said, thinking I would drive her there and watch, but then thought, I haven’t swum for years, why not try it again? So I did, casting aside my notions of not liking cold water, chlorine, changing rooms and any other manner of self-made barriers.

“Into the blue” I plunged that first morning and guess what? I loved it! The initial shock of the cool water, the stretching of my creaking bones and stiff muscles (caused by running) in a safe, gentle but strong way. The rhythmic pushing through the water, up and down, up and down. Before I knew it, it was time to get out (and face the changing rooms!), but feeling energised and calm. It turns out that swimming works for me in both a physical and meditative sense and after an early morning swim, I am well and truly set up to face whatever the rest of the day offers up.

Why not try something new yourself? Even if you think it is something you may not like. Give it a try, it may make a real difference to your day to day wellbeing. Your new thing, of course, does not have to be swimming, or even anything physical. Next on my list of newbies to have a go at are watercolour painting, knitting and yoga – not all at the same time I hasten to add!

Here are some top tips for giving something new a go.

1. Say “YES”! Whenever somebody invites you to join them in doing something – just say yes. There is no better way to try a new activity than having a buddy by your side to lead the way and hold your hand (though maybe not the hand holding in Covid times…)

2. Accept you may have to try something 2 -3 times to know if it is for you. The first time can be awkward, unfamiliar and as a result, diminish the experience. By the second or third time – you will be getting familiar with the rituals around whatever it is you are trying and a semblance of familiarity, which really helps. I now know the names of the lifeguards, how to navigate the locker room, and have getting changed after the swim and home – down to a fine art.

3. Don’t rush out and buy a ton of equipment, just have the basics you need to get going. I started with a swimming costume (thank goodness Jo!!!) but after two or three swims and realising I loved it, invested in swimming goggles and a hat.

4. Schedule it into your week, whatever your new activity is, that way you are more likely to do it. Whatever it is – swimming, yoga, painting, creative writing…. put in your calendar and make it as important as anything else.

5. There are no limits, try more than one new thing……. unexpected discoveries and new pleasures could be just a “give it a go” moment away offering distractions, wellness vibes and any other number of benefits.

As lockdown 2 nears its weary end, I can’t wait to get back “into the blue” at my local pool and just breathe in and out and in and out. Thank you, Borris, for something.