Saturday was my first cold shower in almost a month — 27 days, to be precise. Thus, it is with great satisfaction that I can report my success in completing my personal [perhaps totally unnecessary] Cold Shower challenge. Here are my thoughts:
Early on in the challenge, I really didn’t enjoy taking a cold shower every morning, and I did everything to make it not the absolute worst.
My strategy involved turning on the cold water, hopping into the back of the tub, and flipping my head upside down under the stream of water, keeping most of my body out of the stream of frigid water. Once I’d thoroughly soaked my hair, I’d do that fancy model thing where the flip their head back with an arc of hair and water, except it looked totally stupid when I did it, I’m sure. Then I’d immediately turn off the water and shampoo my hair. Once I was ready to rinse, I’d finally submerge myself under the cold water, which was less horrible at that point. I’d then turn the water off while conditioning my hair.
Because this whole challenge was maybe about mental toughness (and I read this online somewhere), when I was standing under the cold water, I’d remind myself to breathe slowly and tell myself, “This isn’t so bad. It’s just cold water.” And that sometimes worked; I sometimes felt like a bad ass.
The days that I ran, I’d immediately jump into the shower and take advantage of my sweat and elevated body temperature. These were the times that I could turn the setting to COLDEST.
The days that I didn’t run were the worst because I was hopping into cold water with a cold-ish body. I’d usually turn the dial a little past the midway point so it was cold but didn’t feel totally icy.
However, by the second week or so, I was pretty adjusted to cold showers. It did wake me up–not that I wasn’t already awake from running–and felt like a great jump start to my day. It was really refreshing after my runs, and I liked that I wasn’t still sweating when I got out of the shower.
Overall, I think there were two main benefits:
- I used a lot less water because I was 1) taking markedly shorter showers and 2) turning off the water while shampooing and conditioning.
- My hair has become softer and glossier. Someone even commented on it at work, asking if I had to do anything to make my hair look so nice all the time.
I guess the third benefit was that now I don’t fear cold showers and actually kind of prefer them after running. In the event that our hot water gets used up, I’ll be totally fine. (If I haven’t run or if I’ve let enough time elapse and my body has cooled back down though, it totally sucks.)
[Some people said this makes you lose weight. I didn’t lose any weight.]
The main issue I encountered was that my expedited showers did not leave any time for shaving. However, that’s not a huge deal because I wear pants almost exclusively and also because I’m Asian and am not very hirsute.
On the 22nd day of the shower, I actually turned the water to warm (but not scalding, like my previous showers), and it felt really gross. I immediately turned the faucet to cold and kept the now-finished challenge going. Cooling down in the car on the way back from a long run, however, meant that I was going to relish every minute of my warm (but not scalding!) shower.In conclusion, cold showers are actually pretty nice, a good jumpstart to my morning and a time- and water-saver, so I’ll keep them going for now. Except on non-exercise days. There’s no need to suffer that much.