Today is November 22nd, 2013.
Today is also Day #600 for me and Cold Shower Therapy.
Some crazy idea that taking cold showers makes you more disciplined. Say what?
But after 600 days of taking cold showers, (sometimes twice a day, because nothing helps deal with aches and pains from an intense workout quite like a cold shower), I am here to tell you it’s true.
I have learned discipline on a level I never knew possible and I have learned strength in a whole new way. Cold showers helped me overcome heartbreak this year. Joel doesn’t mention anything about that in his post, but it’s true. I cold showered my way through England, Portugal AND Ireland, where the water gets a special kind of cold depending on what type of shower you’re using. In fact, in Portugal, I didn’t take any warm showers. It was hot enough out that I didn’t have to, AND it just felt good on my skin after spending time in the sun, pool or on the beach.
People think I’m insane. “What? You take cold showers every day?! Why?” But they never actually want to hear the answer. They can’t get past the fact that it’s cold water. Why on earth would you want to take a cold shower when you don’t have to? Well. That’s kind of the point. We’re so comfortable being comfortable with the life we know. I know a lot of us who love to travel and put ourselves into situations that will force us outside of our comfort zone. But the people who are unwilling to try cold shower therapy are the same one’s who think I’m insane for doing them. They’ll tell me they don’t need to try it, because it’s crazy and they really like their hot showers.
I have a friend who is a burn survivor. I suggested to him, just for the sake of discipline, that he try cold showers. He said there was NO way he was giving up his hot showers. But one day, he just did it. He didn’t tell anyone he was doing it, in case he didn’t keep doing it. But he did it. And then one day he sent me a text message to say he’d been taking cold showers for 5 days…He went the full 30. And what he realized is that the cold showers helped to regulate his body temperature in the summer because, as a burn survivor, your body temp gets all messed up and he was always too warm. He found a way to alleviate some of that.
Hot showers are awesome. Or at least they used to be. I used to have hot showers until I used up all the hot water in my house, especially on the weekends. Hot showers are a great way to get warm when you’ve been outside or when the weather is frightful. Heck, what’s not to love about a hot shower?
But hot showers are what we know. Hot showers are what us first world’ers know as “normal”. Don’t you ever get tired of normal? Doesn’t normal ever get boring?
Let me tell you something. I was never bored with my hot showers. Not ever. BUT when I read that first blog post about cold shower therapy, I had to try it. I was changing up everything else in my life, why not stretch myself a little further and take a cold shower? Why not, indeed. It’s by far one of the hardest things I had ever done. Until, I gave up chocolate. And processed foods. And sugar. And wheat. And grains. Then it was all relative. The cold showers helped me take all those things out of my every day. They reminded me what I was committed to. I lost 70lbs in that first year of cold showers. I know it wasn’t all just because of the cold showers. Everything I just said above, PLUS cold showers, helped me do that. I started boxing, and kickboxing and I started going to spin. All things I never would’ve dreamed I could do. And now, I go to bootcamp which is the hardest effing thing I’ve ever done in my life. I kid you not. Those damn kettle bells are going to kill me. But when I wake up in the morning and I can hardly raise my arms over my head from the soreness, I turn that water to cold and I mentally high-five myself.
And then when I started to notice my scalp was no longer dry, because I was now washing my hair in cold water. And my skin was velvety soft..not just soft..but like butter soft..because I was now cleansing my face in cold water…That my skin was shinier, more radiant. That I looked healthier. My hair shinier. Well. That sure helped. I started to notice I had to soak the dishes in hot water, and wait awhile before I could wash them, because I couldn’t stick my hands in hot water anymore. Warm was plenty, thank you. I started to notice, that sleeping with the window open wasn’t much of an option anymore because I was colder. But that simply meant my blood was flowing through my body in a more healthy way. (If you want to see the impressive results after only 6 months, here’s a before/after)
And it helps that people think I’m a heck of a bad a** for taking cold showers all the time. Don’t get me wrong. The other day I came home from a bootcamp and was freezing because it had been raining, so I climbed into my 2nd shower of the day and I kept it warm. It felt so good on my cold body. But those post workout showers usually last about 3-5 minutes and I’m done. Just enough to get the sweat off me so I don’t leave it on my sheets. I still use warm water when I shave my legs, and condition my hair.
Hot showers are now a thing of the past.
Why? Because I’m the bada** who inspires people to stretch themselves out of their comfort zone, even if it’s just for a minute..even if they’re standing in their shower considering turning the water to cold…that’s who I get to be. The one who people ask “Aren’t you the one who takes cold showers every day?”
Yes. Yes. I am.
PS This morning, for my 600th day of cold showers…the temperature outside at 6am when I stepped into the shower was -1c outside which translates to 30.1f, and I’m still freezing…but I DO feel alive.