For those of you who do not know or have not heard of Freezbury it is thankfully over :). But I will give you a quick explanation of what it is, what it stands for and what I have learned from it over the past three years.
For the month of February the challenge is to immerse yourself into the Irish sea everyday of February and spend the corresponding minutes to the date, for example, 1 minute for day 1 , 2 minutes for day 2 and so on. Damian Browne ex professional rugby player and current Adventurer came up with the concept three years ago
to promote and encourage Irish winter sea swimming and highlight the challenges that come along with this lifestyle choice.
The Freezbury challenge is one near and dear to me personally. It was introduced to me at a cross roads in my life where I was not exactly clear of where the next stages in my life were not exactly clear for me. I was finishing my rugby career and always questioning the decisions I made. This challenge really gave me a focus. The excitement to have to physically and mentally prepare myself to get into the sea everyday and slowly build up my tolerance day by day(not that it gets easier everday!).
It’s a challenge that questions your ability to get out of your own head, to be present and control only what you can in that moment in the sea. For anybody who has a busy head and typically likes to try to be a busy body and struggles to slow down, it tests your patience. For anybody who struggles to see a task through to the very end It questions your willingness to go everyday. It hurts!!!!, but, It’s all about the process. You don’t get any extra points doing extra minutes, you can show up one day and might be able to do 28 minutes straight away off the bat, but its not about that, its about consistency, the patience, the journey and building slowly to get to the end in the best mental and physical state you can on the last day to just enjoy it. The life lessons I have learned from this challenge and brought into my day to day life to the best of my ability is something I will be proud of to not only have adopted these positive habits but to get to endure and share the experience with so many others. Every year I come away with a new bond with like minded people. Speak about everyday things in the sea and get to leave it all out at the sea. Its a unique experience and amazing how you begin to open up to your tribe probably beacuse you are too cold to think about an automatic mundane response and say what you are actually feeling (or not feeling!).
There is a lot of transferable life lessons from this challenge and I am not saying you can only get these through a sea swimming experience/challenge. If sea swimming is just not your thing I am not saying “YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS” because its not for everyone but what I will say is the more you challenge you, your mind and your physical ability in whatever way you wish to do so, the more you find out about yourself, what you really can achieve and what you really want to do.
It came to me at a time where I was consistently swimming but not exactly focused on any particular target or focused on any achievement with my dip. It switched my mindset and made me prepare for each day to the best of my ability. Weather checks, tide times, post swim essentials. My level of productivity increased with everything in my life because I knew I wanted to complete the challenge so I had to make it work around everything else in life. Now this year grant it I have way more time on my hands than usual and it really was just the highlight of my day everyday but it still affected my daily habits in a positive manner.
I had a goal everyday. I had a focus everyday. I got better every single day. Allowing myself to slow down and during these strange times allow myself to live day by day and be positive about myself.
I owe Damien and Pieta house so much for this challenge every year I take part and every year I do it I learn something new about myself. I feel a real sense of achievement, a sense of growth and a sense of positivity for the near future and I hope whoever I encounter I can give off the same energy that I am grateful to have found.