There is something refreshing and wonderful about going out on an early morning swim in Penarth, overlooking the Bristol Channel, and watching the sunrise.
If you had asked me a few years ago whether I would willingly wake up at 4 am, without being threatened at knife-point, and do a morning swim in the freezing British Sea, I would have called you crazy.
I'm not an early riser, and I am definitely not fond of the cold or a keen swimmer, yet somehow against the odds, I found myself doing something that was all those things combined.
I woke up at 4 am to meet with my friends and we went on a morning ride from Cathays to Penarth, got into our wetsuits and delved into the freezing temperatures, and I'll be honest with you right now, I loved it.
At first, I squealed like a baby as I lowered myself into those sub-zero waves, but once I was entirely in there I quickly adjusted and was soon feeling warm. The morning swim was not only refreshing but stunning.
I watched the sky slowly turn orange as the sun rose from the west against the reflection of the Sea, and all I could do was sit back with pure relaxation. I've lived in Cardiff for about 5 years now, but sometimes I forget the natural beauty that is quite literally on my doorstep.
Like a child reaching for their mother, I found my hands reaching out to touch the twinkling golden rays that surrounded me and I found such sublime happiness.
I'll be honest with you, my mental health has been god-awful the last two years, and a few months ago it was very bad. You could say I was at my melting point. On the surface, I tried to hide it, I acted happy and bubbly, but in reality, I was finding it hard to wake up in the morning.
Every day suddenly felt so pointless, and I was slowly losing motivation for the things I love; like my writing, and even my job, and I love my job. I was doing my best to function and going to work every day, but I wasn't having fun. Consumed by a sense of nihilism and seeing myself gaining weight despite my best efforts to lose it, made my confidence pretty much negligible.
But then my Mum bought me a bike for my birthday, I had casually mentioned it but she remembered. I hadn't cycled since my last bike had been stolen. Somehow that bicycle re-lit the dying embers of my confidence and motivation. I vowed to myself to cycle to and from work every day, and my new health journey began.
It's been 3 months since then and I have kept it up, during that time I've also started all kinds of sports, from Burlesque Cabaret Dancing to Salsa and Bachata, as well as Rock Climbing and Bouldering. Although it's kept me really busy I haven't had this much fun and fulfilment in such a long time. My confidence has never been so high; I've lost weight and I'm looking fitter and healthier and best of all my mind is back in a good place.
Through all these activities I have met some amazing new people and my already amazing friend group has just grown and grown, and my support network is just filled with fantastic individuals.
I have also reached out for other activities career-wise, and many exciting opportunities are coming my way. I joined the RTS (Royal Television Society) Cymru Wales Committee, I am on the Fio Arise Wales Creatives Programme as a training Theatre Producer, and I am back to actively querying literary agents. More exciting things are in the works and this is just the beginning.
I can say the same about Dawn Swimming. It's just so much fun, great for my health and wellbeing, and it's even better because I am surrounded by even more amazing people.
I still have a lot of work to do on myself, my fitness goals have yet to be reached and my bucket list is only getting longer, but I know that I am now aiming to be the best version of myself and I've never been happier.
If you're feeling listless and in a rut, then put yourself out there and be willing to try new things and put your physical and mental health first. It really will make a difference.
~ Thank you for reading, and I'll aim to post on this blog regularly from now on, at least once a week.