Five years ago, on April 1st, I did something I NEVER, in a million years would’ve thought I’d do. I had a cold shower, in my own bathroom, in a first world country, where I have hot water, on a Sunday afternoon. FIVE years ago! I did that. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I paced, I fretted, I talked myself out of it over and over and over again, I psyched myself out, I did the dishes, I paced some more…until I finally just climbed into the shower and prayed. The moment I turned that water to cold, I shrieked and I made funny noises for the next 5 minutes. I did set a timer, because I figured I had no way of knowing what 5 minutes would be when I’m in the cold water. I knew I couldn’t trust myself. I also remember climbing out of the cold shower, still unable to catch my breath, and laughing uncontrollably. I do that when I get uncomfortable. I laugh. I was hysterical. Between laughing and not being able to catch my breath I was pretty close to having to breathe into a paper bag.
I was proud of myself. I did something I never thought I’d have to do. No wait. Scratch that. I did something I never thought I would do. I got myself uncomfortable. I took on the original cold shower therapy challenge and have never looked back. Half way through the first challenge, I knew I was onto something. So…I accidentally, on purpose, tweeted Joel and told him I was in for the full 3-6-5. I immediately regretted it but knew I wouldn’t back down now.
And I haven’t. Saturday is my 5 year cold shower therapy anniversary and I can tell you, it’s still the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. First of all, I’m 47 years old and look at me. I don’t look 47 years old. I don’t want you to think I’m bragging or anything. I’m being totally honest here. LOOK AT ME. My skin alone is worth the cold water.
I purposely left the photo this big, and should let you know, I did not use a single filter on this photo. This photo is as it came out on my phone. No photo shopping necessary. I cross my heart. That’s not to say I don’t deal with skin stuff. I do. My scalp is horribly dry from the exceptionally long and cold winter we had. I get some dry patches behind my ears and such. But never on my face. I have had many people ask me why i do it? And also how i could keep doing it for this long? And what the benefits have been for me.
So I’ll answer those below:
When did you start? 5 years ago, April 1st, 2012.
Isn’t the water really cold in Canada? When you turn the tap to cold…all the way to cold it does let matter where you are. Cold is cold. So no, the water isn’t colder in Canada.
Why? Because why not? When I read the original post, I got nauseous and excited and goose-bumpy. So i decided to give it a shot. At worst, I figured, I could stop. You can always stop.
Why did you continue after the 30 days? Because you can’t know how amazing it is for you, mentally, physically, even spiritually. Not until you do it. You can’t have a 1 minute cold shower and call it a cold shower. 5 minutes, cold showers. That’s where the juice is. And then when I started washing my hair, and soaping up, and also, cleansing my face…it was then that I realized how amazing it was. I have some of my BEST ideas in my cold showers. I cry in my cold showers. Not because they make me cry. But because I process stuff while I’m in there. If I have to be in there, I might as well make the best use of my time. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 5 minutes. My hot water bill also went down. Which was an added bonus. I noticed a few days in what a difference it was making to my life. I was happier, my mental state was clearer, I was afraid of less. I lost weight. I mean…it was a win/win all around. So why not?
Why didn’t you stop after the first year? Are you crazy? I’m already 365 days in! Why on earth would I stop? I saw the benefits for myself. I knew the mental clarity. To be honest, I got my heart broken in 2013 and were it not for my cold showers…I’m pretty sure it would’ve taken longer for me to heal that sucker. When I heard there was an app coming out for iOS, I was choked. I bugged Joel endlessly. Gimme my Android app! And you know what? He did. He eventually did. But what’s funny about that, when I started using it, I didn’t really care about the competition part. I was already in a competition with myself. And after awhile, it became a part of my morning routine. I brush my teeth, I wash my hair, I pee, I put on make up, I have a cold shower. (Not in that order). I couldn’t stop after the first year, because it gave me so much to keep taking them.
What have the benefits been? Well I mentioned a few already above, but the main one, is it taught me discipline like nothing else ever has. I have often been the one who starts something, goes on vacation, or away for the weekend, or has friends visit, or family comes to town, or have a bad day, and I fall off whatever wagon I happen to be on. I think we’ve all experienced that. It’s easy to not go to the gym, or put gas in the car until tomorrow. But one thing I never compromised was my cold showers. I know Joel was just in Antarctica and he said the cold water was unlike anything he’s ever experienced. I’ve not been there, so i can’t speak to that, but I can tell you that the coldest waters I’ve showered in was in Ireland. And it was DAMN cold. Some of those showers are really small too so you can’t even move to the side for a second or turn your body…you’re just under it. And it’s damn cold. There were a couple of times where I was more miserable than I wasn’t…and yet…I had a cold shower every single day. I have never missed one single day. Not one single shower. No matter where I am. I’ve cold showered away hang overs,. headaches, fevers, sore muscles, aching joints, heartache, bad days, etc. About 2 years in, I knew I was reliable to take a cold shower every morning. I knew that’s just who I was.
Three months ago, I started working with a health coach. There’s a level of discipline that’s required to eat right, and food prep every Sunday, and to track my food. Every single day (for the past 81 so far). Just like with #CST, there are great rewards. I don’t need to tell anyone that I take cold showers every day. BUT…when I do…I get to feel like a bada**. And nothing beats that feeling.
Will I continue? Heck yes I will. Look. I can’t even wash dishes in hot water anymore. My tolerance level for hot water is not what it used to be. I also can’t warm up as quickly in the mornings, but that’s good for you. I also put heated floors in the bathroom which makes it easier to warm up after the shower in the winter. Let me just tell you, turning that tap to cold at 615 every morning…it’s like cranking the dial on my favorite song…I can smile and sing through it, or I can grin and bear it. I prefer singing and smiling. Much like how I go through life.
If you are looking for an accountability buddy for your cold shower therapy challenge…I’m it. I’m here for you. Just know…I won’t let you get away with anything. If you miss a day, I’m making you start over. If you only did 4 minutes, it doesn’t count and you’ll have to start over. If I can do it. ANYBODY can do it. Don’t talk to me about not giving up your hot water. You don’t have to give it up entirely. I don’t care if after your 5 minutes, you switch it over to hot. I switch mine to warm so I can shave my legs and wash the conditioner out of my hair. I have to. I can’t shave my legs in cold water. And conditioner doesn’t wash out in cold water. But if you wanna take it on…I’m throwing down… think of it as an anniversary present to me.
Just like Joel says…if you’ve got something you’ve been wanting to complete…some goal you’ve wanted to reach but you’ve been lazy/procrastinating at getting it done…now’s your chance.
Take me up on it…
I promise…you’ll end up loving it. And even if you don’t…you’ll be awesome-er for it.