Dip a Day December Challenge

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PTSD UK's Dip a Day December Challenge

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

The challenge

It’s no secret that cold water swimming, cold water therapy, focusing on a challenge and simply being active is great for your mental health and provides many wellbeing benefits. Whether it gives you space to be at peace, connects you to the world around you, gives you that post-dip buzz, or gives you a reason to see your friends, PTSD UK’s Dip a Day December is a perfect opportunity to try something new, improve your own wellbeing and support the work PTSD UK does.

You don’t need to be a swimmer or open water expert to take part – there are lots of ways you can get involved. Whether it’s a cold shower to start your day, a paddling pool in your garden or a dip at the local beach, there’s an option for everyone to take part.

Entry to the challenge is just £16 and as our way of saying thank you for your support, every entrant will receive a free bespoke PTSD UK Dip a Day December beanie hat* to keep you cosy while you’re having a splash (or to keep you cosy afterwards!)

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

The details

Event TypeDip a Day
DateDecember 2023
LocationAnywhere!
Registration Fee£16
Fundraising TargetNo minimum
LevelModerate/challenging

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

The Challenge

Completing PTSD UK’s Dip a Day December Challenge is simple, and there are two options:

  • DIP A DAY DECEMBER Full Cold Water Challenge – you need to dip in cold water at least once each day during the month of December.
  • DIP A DAY DECEMBER 12 days of Christmas Challenge – you need to dip in cold water on at least 12 different days during the month of December.

What constitutes as a ‘dip’ is up to you – this event is designed to be accessible to everyone, so if you want to end your morning shower with a 30 second cold blast (trust us, that’s enough!) or be in the open ocean as an experienced swimmer – it’s up to you.

We are relying on the honour system for this challenge – there is no need to ‘prove’ to us that you completed each day’s dip – although we’d love to see your photos as you go! Especially photos of you in your bespoke PTSD UK Dip a Day December beanie hats*! 

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

fundraising for ptsd uk

PTSD UK’s Dip a Day December Challenge is a great way to help raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD UK and the work we do – plus, it’s an amazing way to fundraise to help support our mission.

There is no required minimum fundraising amount – simply raise as much as you can! How you raise and collect this money is up to you – you could set up a fundraising page on an online platform such as Facebook Fundraisers, GiveAsYouLive Donate, Total Giving, or Just Giving. They help you see your fundraising total, make it easy for your sponsors to add Gift Aid to their donations, and the money raised will get sent straight to us.

Alternatively, or in addition, if you’d like to raise funds offline we’ve got sponsorship forms which might be of use, or if you collect cash donations, you can find out how to pay them into us here.  

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

Your Goodie Bag

Once you’re all signed up, we’ll be sending you out a goodie bag of PTSD UK merchandise (including a bespoke PTSD UK Dip a Day December beanie hat* to help you shout loud and proud about the amazing thing you’re doing!

*Please note, the beanie hat you will receive is this one here:

Blue Natural Scuba Diving Instagram Post

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

Cold Water Safety Guidance

It’s VITAL that if you’re taking part in this challenge, that your main priority is SAFETY. Please be sure to read and fully understand our Cold Water Safety Guidance and our T&Cs before starting this challenge.

If you’re considering open water swimming as part of this challenge, acclimatising to cold water is an important step in enjoying a safe swim.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK worked with Professor Greg Whyte, world-renowned Sports Scientist, physical activity expert and former Olympian, to produce a Cold Water Exposure 2 Week Home Plan. A safe way to reduce the impact of cold water immersion – which you can find here.

Immersing yourself in cold water (which could be defined as UK water temperatures for most of the year, not just winter) carries risk and so it’s vital you stay safe during this challenge.

This advice is, by no means, an exhaustive list of considerations for someone taking part in cold water dipping.

Before you Dip

  • As a general rule, get expert medical advice before cold water dipping, especially if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, asthma, lung conditions or are pregnant or have any other medical conditions that might be affected by exposure to cold water.  
  • Please let your family / friends know you are taking on this challenge, particularly if you are taking part alone at home such as doing cold shower blasts. Ensure you know where to go for help should you need it. 
  • Make sure you have the right equipment to enter the water such as wetsuit, swim gloves or swim booties to help you retain body heat. Do not wear anything that will become too heavy to swim in when it gets wet.
  • Do not take part in the challenge under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Getting in, and risks of being in the water

  • Get in gradually and stay in depth until the cold water shock response (the response where your body initiates a gasp reflex) has passed and breathing is under control. The specifics of cold shock panic include shortness of breath, so the best way to overcome this is through breathing – specifically breathing out.
  • Beware of cold incapacitation. It is safer to not let yourself get too cold, to stay near the shore so that you have a better chance of getting out if you notice your muscles working less well.
  • Cramp can strike anywhere, and some people are more prone than others. If you’re cold, cramp is perhaps more likely. If you do cramp, float on your back and call for help.
  • In some asthmatics, cold can trigger an attack, so asthmatics need to be aware of and cautious of this as a risk.

Getting out and getting dry and warm

  • Always get out wanting more “When I go swimming and get to the point where I’m thinking to myself ‘This is amazing!’, after the initial shock, I get out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.” Says Olympic open water swimmer Keri-anne Payne.
  • Afterdrop is a feature of swimming where you feel colder after you get out of the water than you did when you are in. It helps to avoid the effects to get dry, dressed and warmed as soon as you get out of the water – even if you feel quite warm.
  • Make sure you never dip alone (even if it’s just an ice bath in your house)
  • After your swim, warm up gradually. Pat yourself dry and put on warm, dry layers including thick jackets, hats, gloves, socks and be sure to change in a sheltered place. Avoid standing around and move to a warm location. Do not drive until you feel well enough to do so. 
  • Take food and a flask with a warm drink to re-fuel and warm up after your swim. A nice warm hot chocolate or sugary coffee will be the best thing to feel a bit of comfort post-swim and also to fuel the shivering process.
  • Never go beyond your comfort zone. If 30 seconds immersion daily is too much, start small and build up to a level that you can tolerate.
  • If you feel very cold, disorientated or dizzy seek help immediately. 

Open Water Swimming

Please note, for the purposes of this challenge, we do not recommend outdoor swimming unless under supervision from trained professionals

  • Be safe and check local advice when choosing where to swim. Check local conditions, tides and RNLI reports.
  • Choose somewhere you are familiar with and can exit the water quickly.
  • If you are open water swimming vehicles and boats may be using the water too.
  • Wear bright colours so you are easy to see. 
  • Dip only in daylight hours
  • Enter the water slowly to help you acclimatise. Do not jump in. Only go into water as far as you can stand. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary danger by going into deep water. 
  • Always use a tow float or similar device to ensure your safety in the open water.

For further reading and guidance please read the RNLI’s guidance on Cold Water Shock,  Outdoor Swimmer’s guide to temperature, the Outdoor Swimming Society’s tips and guidance , Outdoor Swimming Society Risks in Cold Water, and The Royal Life Saving Society’s guide to staying safe and dealing with cold dips.

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

Terms and conditions

  • I acknowledge that Dip a Day December is a virtual fundraising event hosted by PTSD UK.
  • I understand that by signing up to participate with Dip a Day December I am pledging to fundraise for PTSD UK, but there is no minimum required fundraising amount.
  • I understand that the information I provide to register for Dip a Day December will be shared with PTSD UK and used by PTSD UK in accordance with their Privacy Policy.
  • I confirm that I am physically fit and in good health to safely take part in Dip a Day December
  • I can confirm that I have no known condition that would affect the ability to safely complete the challenge or would cause a risk of danger to myself or others.
  • I understand I am entirely responsible for selecting a safe time and location to swim.
  • I confirm that I understand that PTSD UK recommend having a friend or family member present each time I am in the water
  • I can confirm that I understand that for the purposes of this challenge, PTSD UK do not recommend open water swimming be undertaken unless under supervision from trained professionals
  • I can confirm that I have read and understand the safety guidance provided around safe water swimming, but acknowledge that this is not exhaustive guidance.
  • I acknowledge that I am participating in this event at my own risk and that PTSD UK cannot be held liable for any injury, accident, loss, damage or public liability caused or sustained before, during, or after the event, as a result of my participation. In addition, PTSD UK cannot be held liable for any changes made to the event for safety reasons, or as otherwise planned through circumstances beyond their control.
  • I understand that I am solely responsible for my own safety and my own actions (including the safety of my possessions) whilst undertaking this challenge.
  • I understand that this event is only open to people over the age of 18.

PTSD UK's Dip a day December

How to sign up

Simply register for the PTSD UK Dip a Day December Challenge over on Eventbrite where we’ll get the £16 registration fee all set up and get all your details to send your goodie bag with beanie hat* out to you.