Karen started swimming to help her postnatal depression

I have always had a passion for swimming and after turning 40 this year and having a baby I wanted to find the time to return to the pool; both for my fitness and mental health. Whilst following various swim pages on social media I came across the Aspire Channel Swim challenge and it immediately struck a chord with me. Coming from a public sector care background I have always felt that giving back to the community is important and after reading about the work Aspire do this seemed like the perfect challenge at the perfect time.

I initially took up swimming as a hobby after my first child. I was diagnosed with postnatal depression soon after the birth and swimming was my way of escaping and pressing re-set after a difficult or mentally challenging day. I do believe swimming played a huge part in my recovery, although at that time I couldn’t even swim underwater!
Karen 2

I set a challenge to teach myself to swim using YouTube tutorials and after years of progress here I am today!

After my second child was born the pandemic hit and sadly my postnatal depression returned. With the pools closed, swimming was unavailable for me to use as a tool to ease the symptoms of my PND and I longed for the time I could pack my bag and smell the scent of chlorine as I hit the changing rooms! Eventually that day came and it was the most incredible swim of my life!

When I swim my mind stills and the rhythmic breathing is almost hypnotic; the world stops for that hour and my anxieties are washed away.

When I applied for the challenge I was determined to raise as much as I could. As a relative introvert; approaching people for donations and putting myself out there wasn’t something I particularly relished but I forced myself out of my comfort zone and reached out to as many different groups I could and I was amazed at people’s generosity! I found that resharing my JustGiving page regularly with a little update either on social media and/WhatsApp and being quite direct ie. asking people that if they haven’t donated already PLEASE do as it spurs me on for the next mile and reminding them that I’m doing all the hard work but they get to make a difference!

Karen 3

Approach as many groups of people as you can, school, work, friends- ask friends to share with their friends and family, share with your local pool- once my pool mates knew what I was doing they not only sponsored me generously but spurred me on for every swim.

I’m really proud to have raised over £1,000 for Aspire and know the money will be put to fantastic use to change the lives for the better of those with spinal injury.

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