Last year, our Operations Manager, Becky Liptrott, took on the gruelling Arctic Survival Challenge as a personal project (and a way to raise money for a good cause) while her husband deployed with the Royal Navy for six months. Almost one year later, we caught up with Becky to find out that she’s taken on a new challenge… and just like the last one, it involves being incredibly cold.
“Cold water swimming is all about controlling your mind,” says Becky, who now swims in the sea regularly in British seaside resorts right through the winter. The photo above was taken in Lyme Regis in Dorset on 10 December 2022, when the water temperature was a bitterly cold 8℃.
It’s hard not to sense a shiver when Becky describes her cold water experience: “When you first go in, the cold absolutely takes your breath away. You have to have that control and believe that the cold is nothing. Someone recommended turning around and walking backwards so you’re facing the shoreline. There’s this mental perception that when you’re walking in, the waves are going to come so you’re bracing for that cold feeling – when you walk in backwards, you don’t get that, it’s like a placebo.” Continuing good habits that began with her Arctic Challenge training, Becky admits that her yoga practice certainly helps with controlling her breathing when she first enters the water.
And if you can control your reservations, the health benefits start as soon as you get in the water.
It’s impossible to listen to Becky chat about her choice of hobbies without noticing the theme that connects them all – and that’s resilience. Building resilience certainly doesn’t come about from merely acknowledging that it would probably be a good thing to do. It comes from finding out where your weaknesses are, discovering your threshold for discomfort, and pushing yourself to explore new ways to get stronger. And resilience is nothing without habit and routine. Only by repeating the challenge regularly is Becky able to learn more about herself and increase her cold water tolerance.
This kind of proactive attitude is something our entire team embodies, and exactly why our clients choose us year after year with high praise for the standards we’re able to achieve for those organisations. Adopt Becky’s approach to cold water immersion next time you initiate a pen test, and the entire business will benefit from minimising risk to reputation as a result of targeted and efficient cyber security spend, and an iterative cyber resilience strategy.
Testing your limits
Becky explained that as soon as she gets in the water, she feels all the stresses of the working week disappear. Cold exposure helps boost circulation, triggers a rush of endorphins through your body, and reduces the stress hormone cortisol. The best news? It only takes a few minutes to reap all the rewards.
“It’s absolutely invigorating. We have had some storms recently, and it’s been too rough to swim out to the buoys, so it’s more like a bobbing session – get the health benefits, get out and get dressed quickly! You feel brilliant afterwards, plus you get a great night’s sleep.”Rebecca Liptrott, Operations Manager, Stratia Cyber
We like to think there’s a strong parallel here between our mission to enable business owners to sleep more soundly at night, assured that they’re doing as much as possible to protect their livelihood from today’s worst cyber threats as well as the most common ones, and the kinds of practices Becky undertakes. Her story proves that a bold, relentless approach to testing your limits is the only way to be able to face even the most extreme conditions and come out undefeated. And that the more you invest yourself in something, the more you get back.
We chuckled when Becky told us the name of her cold-water swimming club – and for now we’ll leave it to your imagination! This network of groups cover various seaside towns and provide much-needed moral support whether you’re after company for a swim, or just a warming cup of coffee instead. Brave as ever, Becky always opts for a swimsuit with her wetsuit on standby – and is hoping that Father Christmas might bring her some neoprene gloves and boots. It’s clear that her appetite for adventure hasn’t diminished – rumour has it she’s considering another, bigger challenge for next year.
Becky maintains that she is a little bit crazy. “I love all that sort of stuff. My wellbeing and fitness is an ongoing battle – a bit like working in cybersecurity!”
Read more about Becky’s Arctic Challenge