Paddling to Better Mental Health
Updated: Jun 9, 2020
For seven weeks I had been a landlocked sea lover eager to once again reconnect with the majestic shimmering waters that surround our little island. A place where all my worries and woes simply fade away so I can simply just be, check in with myself and enjoy a little escape from the stresses of life and the lockdown, which we are all struggling with. As a world collective I truly believe we are all finding this lockdown challenging in one way or another, but the only reassuring factor is that we are all in this together.
For me paddle boarding is much more than a sport that I adore; it is a way of life, a passion and an opportunity to discover who I am by allowing me to connect with myself as I drop my shoulders and take some time out.
It was not until Boris Johnson lifted our lockdown restrictions ever so slightly, permitting me a salty cuddle with the sea once again, that I realised that my wellbeing had take a hit during these times of disorder.
I have always been drawn to the ocean. It is a relationship that I find hard to explain. There is a connection, a spiritual pull that brings me in like a mysterious temptress—non judgmental, seducing me to open up as I stand there peacefully upon her waters alone with my board and my thoughts, figuring out the questions to life.
Poole harbor is such a magnificent place, a beautiful location that I have the pleasure of calling my home. With its many little nooks and crannies barely accessible to most crafts, I find myself time and time again paddling to one of these many hidden gems to stare out into the vista, truly evaluating where I have come from, where I am going and just indulging in the present moment.
As I sit there in bliss I am be thankful for the bubble that I have created for myself in these stunning surroundings and I am grateful for moments like these. We all need to find something that makes us more connected and grounded so we do not lose track of who we and our true values. In this modern world and during these hard times, we all need a healthy vice which we can turn to so we do not struggle with ourselves and our inner voices as they niggle away at us.
As you may have gathered paddle boarding is my vice, so lockdown has been a struggle. I’ve had nowhere to escape to, but am thankful for all those long hours previously spent upon the water. They have taught me a lot about myself and given me the tools I needed to deal with the stresses and anxiety of lockdown.
We all need to find something that makes us more connected and grounded so we do not lose track of who we and our values.
When the time finally came for me to once again be connected to my true love, I headed straight to the golden sands of Sandbanks, set out my equipment with such ease and joy, took one look out across the glistening waters of the Dorset coast and with the feeling of calm and peace and I set out onto the water and the strains of the lockdown just simply disappeared.
I took a much-needed moment to myself, laid down on my board, closed my eyes, inhaled deeply and tuned into my surroundings. As I listened to the waves hypnotically paw at the shoreline and to the murmur of a thousand voices of those on the beach collated together creating a sense of harmony, I knew instantly everything would be all right in the world.
In that moment I knew no matter what the next days, weeks or months bring I have a place where I belong, a place where I can be safe and that place is on my board on the waters that surround us.
When life gets tough, when you need a break or some guidance through this lockdown or anytime, I strongly recommend you safely take a trip to the sea and have a moment with yourself. You will notice the benefits to your wellbeing and you too will realise what I have—that everything will be all right, no matter what the current situation you may face at that present moment.
Times will get better.