IKEA everyday rituals

Start the day with a cold dip

Wild swimmer Paulina finds harmony with every stroke.

There’s nothing quite like that moment in the morning, when everyone’s still sleeping and time is yours and yours alone. How do we choose to spend those precious moments? Even the most simple ritual can have a real positive impact on our wellbeing. For Paulina it’s a swim in the nearby lake, come rain or shine.

At least once a week Paulina heads down to the lake, armed with a snack and a flask. If it’s cold, she’ll pack a hot drink and warm clothes. If it’s dark, she’ll take a candle and place it in the little shelter on the jetty to guide her back.

It all began one cold November morning two years ago. Inspired by a post in her social media flood one day, Paulina dared herself to take the plunge into the chilly waters of R?nningesj?n - a picturesque lake, close to her home. First, she dipped her toes, then her feet. As she gingerly descended the wooden steps she felt the shock of the cold. Breathe in, breathe out, long strokes; she did it! As she rose from the water, she felt exhilaration and a warm, tingling sensation all over her body. Paulina had found her ritual. “At first it’s cold, so you need to breathe calmly and still, because it’s no use just going down into the water then straight back up again, as it has no effect. You just need to go down carefully and breathe calmly in the water,” she says.

Today, Paulina is an all-year-round wild water swimmer. In sunshine, rain, even in snow, she takes a plunge. Although she admits that winter and spring - the coldest seasons - are her favourite, her advice to anyone starting out is to start cold water swimming during the warmer months. She says, “Don’t start when it’s cold out. If you like swimming during summer, then just carry on. The water will gradually become colder, but you’ll get used to it.” She also recommends taking warm, cosy clothes to put on after.

Paulina's morning swim

"It feels like the body and soul just become calm. It’s just magical!"

Happiness, joy, and less stress are some of the feelings that Paulina associates with her cold water ritual. “It gives the body a warm feeling and makes me happy. After, I wrap myself in a towel and sit down and enjoy the moment, then I drink my warm tea and eat a chocolate snack. It feels like the body and soul just become calm. It’s just magical!” she admits. And as a healthcare professional and trained nurse she’s also noticed the physical effects. “I feel like I’ve had less viruses and I feel a lot warmer, more resilient against the cold,” she claims.

That brief dare two years ago has inspired more everyday rituals in Paulina’s life. For example, every morning she starts the day with yoga and stretching exercises when she wakes up, “I also like to light a candle and burn incense. It’s a nice way to calmly ease into the day,” she explains. Whether it’s a dip in the lake, a quick stretch or just a few minutes of silence, there’s nothing like a small everyday ritual, a moment promised to ourselves to balance the body and mind.