“On the first of January, I saw via Instagram Mike and Nick had jumped in the sea for Dawn Days. I always wanted to better at getting up in the mornings so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. And I knew posting about it daily would give me a sense of commitment. It changed the way I looked at the world in the mornings. Rather than reaching for the snooze button, I was sneaking out before anyone awoke and as the days got earlier back before anyone had woken. It set me up for the day, I was calmer and more focused. I was homeschooling alone and I needed that re-set every morning. Getting the balance between teaching fractions and trying to edit a video for a client wasn’t easy. But I seemed to have gained a tranquillity that helped even when things weren’t working out. I approached problems differently from normal.

The initial idea to come a better riser has worked and even though I’m not jumping in the sea every morning at present I’m up and about making use of the day. I’m also healthier I stopped drinking in the evenings as I realised I was more tempted to snooze and was sluggish when I had more than one. And I also stopped staying up late to work into the nights, which has given me more energy during the days.

The beaches near me are very tidal so the process was a challenge, at times. I had to walk through mud and sand up to half a mile to get to the sea but from January to March I only missed a handful of days. It also gave me a greater appreciation of the local area, which was already growing from spending so much time at home during the first lockdown. And that’s key; we’re quick to jump on a plane and we miss out on what surrounds us. A sense of place within your local area and nature to help understand and protect it is important.  That’s my takeaway from Dawn Days.” – Chris McClean

“Immerse yourself in something that you love. And talk to someone. You’ll be amazed at the effect it can have. Decide to talk. That’s the first step.” – Mike Guest


A Year Of Dawn Days

Dawn Days has grown and developed over the past 365 days, far beyond what Nick could have originally believed. There are plans for a book. It has its own website and Instagram account as well as the hashtag feed. Nick and Mike are being invited to share their stories in some powerful spaces, including at a recent online National Health Service conference. Both have felt the beneficial effects of connecting with nature and the ocean, routine, commitment, and creative purpose, and have seen it in others. They’re incredibly generous with their experiences, and are curious about what it is that has made Dawn Days such a powerful positive force.


On Instagram you can follow Dawn Days @dawndays, Nick Pumphrey @nickpumphreyphoto and Mike Guest @mr_guesty.


Mental Health Resources

The impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic are many and complex. From the immediate public health emergency and tragic loss of life through to the ongoing and long term impacts upon communities, businesses, economies, and individuals’ mental health. Few individuals have escaped unscathed. If the situation has taken its toll on your mental wellbeing then the best thing that you can do is acknowledge that and speak to somebody about it or seek professional help.

If you think that you or somebody who you know needs to access a professional crisis support or counselling service then please contact your doctor, local health center or use the links below to look up services specific to your locality:

USA – NAMI Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741
Australia – RUOK?

Tags: Art, Health and Wellbeing, Interview, Surf Photography