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Posted on Jul 6 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A Peer Support Worker says she has found a new hobby which made her endorphins “high in the sky” and has given her mental health a real boost.

Sarah White, who is based on Church Ward located at the Malcolm Arnold Building, has started cold water swimming at The Falcon Hotel in Castle Ashby.

She first heard about it after attending a session about the therapy exercise at the recent mental health festival Headfest, which St Andrew’s Healthcare co-hosted.

Sarah said: “After hearing the cold water talk I felt inspired to give it a go. Instructor David Coleman who delivered the talk so highly of it, that I just thought I’d give it a go. My first session was the other week and I can honestly say it was one of the beautiful, uplifting, exhilarating things I’ve ever experienced. When I got out of the water my endorphins were high in the sky and I felt really rather amazing.

“It was pretty cold though, admittedly though the water isn’t nearly as cold as it will be in the winter. It felt pretty icy when I first got in, but after around 40 seconds I warmed up and I managed to stay in for about 40 minutes.”

Sarah has now committed to swimming outside there twice a week, every week because she really feels it is improving her mental health.

She added: “I honestly think staff and patients should give cold water swimming a go. I cannot speak highly enough of it and I’m definitely going to keep it up. My aim is to build up my stamina now, so when temperatures drop in the winter I’ll be able to keep going.”

David, who runs the swimming school at The Falcon, has years of open water swimming experience.

He is the only person in history to have crossed the English Channel to France swimming from two different Channel Islands and he is the first New Zealander to complete a two way swim of lake Windermere.

In addition, in 2015 he swam the 44 miles around the Channel island of Jersey in 10 hours and 56 minutes.

For more information or to sign up to some cold water swimming sessions, click here.