Polar Bear Swim



My mum will not be happy (again!). She usually doesn't agree with my "crazy" ideas, but she's getting used to the fact that I have lots of those. Oh, well! So what did I come up with this time? I signed up for the Polar Bear Dip. On New Year's Day. In Canada.

⁣I didn't do it because I particularly like cold. In fact, I'd rather be spending the New Year's suntanning instead of running on the snow into the frigid Canadian lake. But I wanted to see if I can do it.

And it's for a really great cause! ⁣
We're braving the cold to raise funds for people who otherwise couldn't try outdoor adventures on their own — things like kayaking, paddling, hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, etc. Things that we often take for granted and keep postponing for "someday." ⁣

What's the Polar Bear Dip? 

It's usually an organized event when a group of people gets into the water for a quick dip despite the low temperature.

Organized in many cities to celebrate the new year, or support a charitable cause. 

Was it scary?

Till the last moment, I thought that I might chicken out. I was mildly freaking out but used the "I'm excited" technique to reframe my emotions. I mean, it's just getting in, and getting out, right? However, I told my husband that I feel like I may last-minute panic & run in the opposite direction. But I didn't. 

Polar Bear Swim

How was it?

Way faster than I thought.
I expected a big countdown and a guiding voice from the megaphone.
So when a lady said it's 5 minutes till the dip, I was ready waiting for that in my swims. 

But there was NO big countdown. Well, actually it turned out there was only I didn't hear it.
I just heard someone screaming "NOW!" and people started running towards the water.
I was still wearing my winter jacket over the swimming suit, so I just quickly lost it & followed the crowd. I didn't even realize that I was already in the water to my waist when Michal said, "Okay, let's go back," and I saw people running back to the beach. So I quickly squatted to make sure I have my body underwater & turned back. 

Honestly, it all felt like a second, and we were back at the beach. I didn't even feel the cold. Probably due to the adrenaline because the water was 5C (40F). 

Was it worth it?

I'm glad I did it.
And I'm happy that Michal last-minute decided to join me (and he is proof that no prep is needed to do it).

Maybe it's the adrenaline talking - but it was really so much fun being part of that crazy crowd of 350 people going into the cold water!
And once we were back at the beach, it felt awesome!
The organizer (CRIS Kelowna Polar Bear Dip) managed to raise over $10k.
So it really feels that we were "freezin' for a reason!"

Is it safe to do?

First off, it's not for everyone. And as always, if you have any medical concerns, consult with your physician. I’m not a medical professional & I’m not recommending this to be a substitute for professional medical treatment or therapy. 

From what I've learned, it's pretty safe, I saw children and people of all ages do it. But your heart must be in perfect condition, and it helps to be physically active and used to heart rate going up real quick. Alcohol is a definite no -no before the event. Preparation is not required, but it helps. My husband did it without any prep. While I've been taking cold showers for months before the event, and I think it helps a lot mentally. Also, we stayed in our warm winter jackets and hats while waiting to get into the water, not to lose too much heat.

Another thing, we did it as a part of an organized event, with emergency services personnel on site keeping an eye on the swimmers. And that's super important! Don't attempt to do it on your own. Especially as a "brilliant" idea when alcohol is involved. If you want to give it a chance, find an organized and safe way to do it.

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