Skinny dipping might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about the North Sea (not the warmest place for a swim), but for the past seven years that’s exactly what’s been happening. On the 22nd of September over 600 people will be stripping off and going for a plunge in the early hours of the morning at Druridge Bay in Northumberland – all in the name of charity and self-love.
The North East Skinny Dip stemmed from the mind of Jax Higginson, an experienced sea swimmer, who delights in completely immersing herself in the water which, she says her body craves. Having taken part in a skinny dip herself, she wanted to share the feelings of pure joy and freedom that she found with others, helping them to embrace themselves in all of their beautiful glory! The skinny dip combines everything Jax loves most; the sea, making a difference, being naked and doing something absolutely crazy and wild.
While September may not seem like the best month to get naked in the North East, it’s purposely planned around the Autumn Equinox to help aid the transition from summer to winter. It allows us to give thanks for the cleansing warmth of summer and welcome in the refreshing cold of winter, which can often be a difficult time for people; the dark, cold nights and lack of sunshine can take a toll on our mental health.
Jax hopes that holding this event can help fight the stigma that mental health and body image still unfortunately have and fight against the social norms. She wants it to be a celebration of life, nature and our own fabulous, unique bodies that are all beautiful no matter what flaws we think we have. It’s Jax’s belief that practicing self-love can promote healing and inner peace and is very much connected to mental health. An improvement in mental health and self-love can make us happier, more productive, loving, peaceful and playful human beings.
Past participants have described the dip as invigorating, fun and helped improve their mental health and confidence in their bodies. Knowing that they’re not the only ones feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious makes them realise that they’re not alone. There are people who feel the same way and also others out there, like Jax, who are there to listen and help. There’s no judgement in the dip, only acceptance, self-expression and freedom!
Since the first dip back in 2012, the NESD has managed to raise over £40,000 for National Mind which is an incredible amount of money! This year however, all of the proceeds from fundraising and pledges will go to us, Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, meaning that every penny raised will go towards strengthening local mental health services for people like you. We could not be any more grateful for the support from Jax and all of the participants for taking the time and having the courage to bare their bits and be seen. We’ll be right there with them!
If you’d like to know more about the North East Skinny Dip or would like to make a pledge to the brave dippers, please click the link below.