Learning how to relax in the water and relax when swimming is a vital component of learning how to swim. If you are one of those people that find aspects of learning how to swim like floating and breathing quite stressful, then here is some advice.
Which one are you?
The first rule of relaxing when we swim is to move slowly. Most will think… 'but if I move slowly I will sink'..? That is partly true but if you move slowly you get a feel for the water and then begin to relax when moving. Learning to 'feel' your way through the water and not 'fight' your way through it is important with ocean swimming in particular.
Breathing regularly when we swim helps to keep relaxed and calm. Keeping your face relaxed helps control the tension running through our bodies and constricting our breathing airways. It is very common to either hold your breath, scrunch your face tight or exhale fully in the water to the point of total deflation. The result being a frantic and panic stricken inhale of breath before submerging the face and repeating the pattern again…. tense, panic breathing.
So you need to relax your face, breath long before you are deflated. Don't wait for your breath to completely run out. Take a new breath at a point that is comfortable and easy to do, top up the exhale you just made. You wouldn't breathe out to the point of exhaustion when running or walking, so why do it when you swim?