Inside RTC North: Sam from finance shares how cold-water dipping can bring a new wave of happiness

28th Jun 2023

Sam McDonald is RTC Norths Finance Assistant, and we’ve recently found out this year has presented Sam with a new hobby – cold water dipping!

As this month has finally brought some incredible sunshine, we thought there isn’t a better time to share a part of Sam’s life that’ll maybe encourage you to try something new this summer.

Although cold water dipping can be done all year round, come rain or shine, snow or sun, the summer months may be a good time to start!

Initially supporting her friend doing “a dip a day” in January, (despite thinking it was crazy) Sam agreed to join her for one to see what it was all about, since that day Sam’s been hooked, doing cold-water dips 2-3 times per week.

Sam explains “The benefits are huge – it not only boosts your immune system, but can help aid with aches and pains, the main reason I do it is for mental wellbeing. Cold water therapy has huge benefits for your mental health, the waves literally wash away your worries! 

Being in freezing water takes your mind off everything. Whether it’s an early morning dip watching the sunrise to set you up for the day, or an evening dip to relax after a tough day at work or a long day with the kids, it’s a form of escapism with so many advantages. You always leave the water with a smile on your face, if I am feeling stressed or anxious, I head to the waves.”

Sam is lucky enough to have a beautiful coastline right on her doorstep where she heads to Seaburn beach or Roker beach for her everyday dips. Sam reveals her absolute favourite place however so far to be Wastwater Lake in the Lake District, which she did after climbing Scarfell Pike with the RTC Three Peaks team as part of their training – what a way to revive the legs after that big climb! 

Although new to the game, Sam is a member of “South Shields Sea Swimmers” who meet up weekly and she has also been to the “Earth Bond” sauna sessions on the beach during the colder months. Sam has influenced her daughter who is now following in her mums footsteps and has recently joined a group called “Ice Kids” where they meet up once a week.

When asking Sam how cold-water dipping has impacted her, she replies, “It has made me realise that I need to take time to do something for me.

I think personally life is a bit like a juggling act, I am busy trying to keep a career, being a wife, a mother, which are all very rewarding, but often that means not taking time out for myself. Cold water dipping has changed this, it is literally half an hour out of my day, and I think I have really noticed how important it is to take that time to relax and unwind!”

Fancy giving cold water dipping a go? Sam shares some advice to those considering it for the first time, “Go for it! You’ll not regret it! If you feel unsure about it then find a friend or a group to go with, it’s always easier with the encouragement of other people. You will soon be making it a regular occurrence!

I would definitely recommend the right gear though – you don’t need a wetsuit, a swimming costume will do, but neoprene socks and aqua shoes are a must for keeping feet warm, if you have the right equipment, it is far more enjoyable.”

Cold water dipping and swimming has seen a surge in popularity in recent years and hearing all about Sam’s experiences and the benefits she gets from it we’re not surprised! 

Before embarking on this challenge make sure you do your research to make sure you’re doing it safely! 

Here are some useful tips we’ve found:

 1. Bring the right kit

Neoprene boots and gloves, a hat and don’t forget warm layers for afterwards too, fleecy towel robes are great!

2. Warm up and acclimatise 

Hit the water when you’re already warm will make the experience far more enjoyable – prepare your body to deal with the shock of the cold water

3. Don’t dive 

Always enter the water slowly and get in control of your breathing 


If you try it make sure to let us know!

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