I awoke Thanksgiving morning to the sound of wind-swept rain splashing against the bedroom window. As I made my way to the bathroom, I noticed that the field in our backyard was blanketed by dense fog, making the land seem dark and ominous. The holiday already felt heavy knowing we wouldn’t be celebrating with family and friends, and the soggy weather only added to the gloom.
That said, I’m grateful to possess an optimistic nature. While I might be overtaken by a low mood, I can usually pull myself out of the doldrums in short order with a handful of tried-and-true practices. I meditate as a way to witness my thoughts so I’m not captured by them. I wash floors, fold laundry, and clean bathrooms to keep my hands busy so I’m open to wisdom when I write. I play with our new kittens because playing with kittens just makes everything better. And I move my body in some fashion nearly every day.
On Thanksgiving, I added a new practice to my mental medicine cabinet – a polar plunge.
I have a group of pandemic pals who love to walk and hike. We make a point of texting each other when we’re headed out in case someone wants company. On Thanksgiving Day, I received a text from my friend, Beth, inviting our little pod for a “rainy day Plum Island dip.” When another pal, Libby, immediately texted “Yes!” I knew I’d better get ready.
The rain had let up but the wind was still blowing as I made my way to the beach. Fog hung low over the shoreline making the most romantic setting for our crazy adventure. There were six of us standing in 30-degree wind-chilled wildness, staring at the cold water wondering how we’d get ourselves to go in.
That’s when our friend Orren said the magic words: “Don’t think, just go!”
And with that, we raced down to the water’s edge, threw off our coats, sprinted into the sea, and before we could even register the freezing temps, dove headfirst into an oncoming wave.
I can’t even begin to describe how awesome it was.
I came up gasping for air, the frigid water seizing my chest with full force. As I steadied myself, I starting laughing harder than I have in months and yelling at the top of my lungs. I had to yell. The plunge had filled my body with so much energy I thought I would burst and I had to dispel it somehow.
Stumbling out of the waves, we whooped and hollered like little kids as we raced to grab our towels and blankets.
Thanksgiving had suddenly become The Best Holiday Ever.
The polar plunge taught me a few things.
First, no matter what your state of mind, jumping into freezing cold water clears up anything and everything. It leaves you feeling elated and filled to the brim with pulsating energy.
Second, suspend your reservations and just say yes to an exciting invitation.
Third, don’t do hard things alone.
And finally, when you’ve decided to do something wild and crazy, don’t think about it. At all. Just go!
We’ve already decided to do another plunge on Christmas Day and to celebrate the New Year. If you want to see what happens be sure to follow my Instagram account (coachoncall) here.
Oh, and maybe think about a plunge of your own? 😀