Blossome is a community helping those who have endured losing a loved one to alcoholism or addiction and support them to escape feelings of loneliness, guilt and exhaustion. Sunrise Dips are a community project launched by Blossome that aim to awaken the body and soul with a sunrise swim.
This project promotes cold water swimming and twice a month participants meet at a beach hut and prepare to take the dip! The assurance that women can meet at a safe place means they feel safe and included, women being discouraged from physical activity due to safety concerns is a barrier that Blossome Sunrise Dips are conquering. The participants are primarily women with ages ranging from 30 to 60 and it is also an activity that can be suitable for whole family participation.
As the sun rises and the sky is painted with oranges and golden yellows, participants make their way to the water but before they enter the water, they take a moment to partake in a group mindfulness exercise which helps to practice regulated breathing and also brings them to the present moment.
One of the benefits of this project is the promise of safety. Not only are the participants provided with thermal socks, gloves and a flotation device but there is no pressure to swim alone or push themselves. The dip is more focused on the benefits that cold water therapy can have and the social element that allows participants to enjoy a new physical activity with likeminded people that enjoy getting out into the fresh air.
The social element is then continued after the cold-water swim as members have the opportunity to enjoy hot drinks and a hot cooked breakfast where discussions can take place. 82% of the participants had never tried open water swimming before attending the group, so these conversations often drift on to their experiences.
The project concept circulates around the benefits of cold water therapy but also realises the metal health benefits. A group activity, such as this, can motivate people to get out of bed early, build their confidence and reduce their stress or anxiety levels. Blossome Sunrise ensure participants take this moment to focus on themselves and how they are feeling in the moment during the cold dip.
Participant, Jane Thomas gave her thoughts on the experience and said; “I was very much present in the moment, I was totally focused on breathing, and watching the sunrise. There was nothing else in my head. I’ve never felt anything like it.”
Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot (LDP) are helping to deliver projects across Essex and have been excited to support Blossome Sunrise Dips in Walton on the Naze. LDP was set up by Sport England to recognise the importance of encouraging initiatives like this to get more communities active across the country. An active lifestyle creates huge benefits for the health and wellbeing of individuals, as well as making local communities more connected and resilient.
Blossome Sunrise Dips are taking great strides towards encouraging people to try a new activity that hopefully will have both physical and mental benefits. Taking that first step when joining a new group activity can be overwhelming but the support shown by a project like this demonstrates how a new experience can boost our confidence.
If you’re interested in joining or would like more information about this project follow this link:
Photos taken by Liam Winters Photography: