By Nikki Hills
Wild Coast Sussex Project Manager
Last week I got the chance to go to a sandy beach in Sussex and I couldn’t resist taking my shoes and socks off for paddle to feel the soft sand between my toes. I love paddling on a shingle beach too – it just means doing that slightly strange walk you have to do to navigate the pebbles to get back to your shoes. It’s amazing how a paddle in the sea can make you feel so much better – why is that? I think it combines all the benefits we get from just being by the coast - the sea air, the vast expanse of the ocean, which seems to have the ability to draw any troubles away, the calming sound of the waves - and it adds a little something extra.
The feeling of the cold water (and it is pretty cold at the moment!) rushing over your feet, then washing away and the sense of being grounded and connected to the ocean. It can make me feel calm, happy and energised just from a few minutes paddling in the shallows. As I walk back up the beach I pick up any plastic litter, as a thank you to the ocean. I love the idea that as the tide comes in, the footprints from the day are washed away and there’s a clean slate tomorrow. And one last deep breath of Vitamin Sea before I go…
If you’re lucky enough to get to the coast at the moment then I hope you enjoy some of the wonderful benefits that just being near the ocean can bring and if you can, try and give a little thank you back to our ocean.
PS - If you're barefoot in the sand, do be extra careful to look out for the venomous Lesser Weever fish, which can be in the sand at low tide.
Our Wild Coast Sussex project is connecting communities to the coast and ocean and empowering them to take action to protect it. Find out more on our project webpage and use the contact form to sign up to our newsletter. Ella talks more about the benefits of the ocean for Mental Health in her blog.