It was cold, the water was dripping all over me, and I couldn’t understand how I got here. Even worst, I’ve put myself into this horrible situation on purpose. What has gone into my mind to push to endure this? But I want to take a cold shower, don’t I?
I am out of breath, I can barely even speak, I am shivering, and it’s only been a few seconds.
The good thing is that my body starts to adjust, and quickly I begin to feel more comfortable. I finish tacking my shower, which has been one of the fastest showers I’ve even taken.
I step out of the shower and I feel exhilarating. What was that?! It was crazy! But it wasn’t so bad, was it?
I am still shivering as I dry myself up. In the mirror, I see my skin all red from the cold shock it just endured.
I step out of the bathroom, it’s a beautiful and warm summer day, and I think to myself “I should do this more often”.
The birth of a new challenge
With the objective to keep taking cold showers, I find a few people crazy enough to join me for a 30-day cold shower challenge. Well its summer after all, why wouldn’t they want to refresh themselves? And so, on August 1st, I turned off my water heater. Something in me isn’t feeling right by doing this. My whole being is telling me “Are you insane?” But it’s done.
We hear a lot about the benefits of cold showers and cold therapy. More and more research is being done on the subject and it seems to have significant long term benefits. From reducing your recovery time after a workout or an injury, to getting better sleep and extending your lifespan, it seems to be a wide subject.
But how feasible is it? Can you take cold showers all the time? Sure in hot summer days it’s doable. But how long can it last?
It’s actually feels pretty good!
Anyways, with a group of about 10 people, we started taking cold showers and would share it in a chat group so we could all motivate and encourage ourselves to sticking to the cold shower.
The first few showers were fairly similar: exhilarating, with a big adrenaline pump. The feeling of getting out of a cold shower is quite amazing. But after a few weeks, your body and mind start to adjust, and it kind of becomes normal. To be fair, at that time, the water was warmer than the air, so that could’ve played a role in it.
So at the end of the 30 days, I felt like keeping it up. Even more, could I go through the winter while sticking to the cold showers? My water heater is already turned off after all…
So I asked who wanted to go for an extra 30 days of cold shower. Not everyone continued, but most of them joined for 30 more days.
A change of season
That month things started getting a bit more complicated. The weather was getting colder, some rain fell, and little by little the temperature of the cold water was getting lower. After starting at a comfortable 25 degrees, it went to 24, 23… 22. At this point, it started to feel more like decent cold showers. But at this point, the initial motivation and rush from starting a new challenge were gone.
The cold showers started getting pretty difficult, but I didn’t get the rush of exhilaration I had at the beginning. It had become kind of mechanical, but I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.
And the water temperature kept on dropping, 21, 20… 19 degrees. At this point, I wasn’t looking forwards to take any shower at all. The summer was over, the weather started to get gloomy. Each time I wanted to get a shower I would start getting reacting in fear just by thinking about it. It was taking me more and more time to motivate myself to take the shower. My body and mind knew what was coming up each time, and they were starting to build a defense mechanism.
The breaking point
All that until one day, the weather was cold, we just had several days of rain. I had no desire to take that shower, but I was going to meet someone and I was stinking, so I took the shower. When I met my friend 30 minutes after the shower, he noticed something was off. I was still cold from that shower. It took me a couple of hours to recover from it.
When I got home I turned on the heater in my apartment, but not the water heater. I realized the change of season was occurring fast, and that I was losing my body heat before even taking a shower. So once I took a shower, I couldn’t warm up anymore.
Turning on my living room heater made a decent change and I felt better. But the next shower was dreadful. Every part of me was telling me not to do it, and I succumbed. I turned on the water heater waited a few hours and took a warm shower. I’m not happy about it, but I had to. When I got out of the shower, I turned off the water heater again. I wasn’t done just yet.
And so arrived at the end of the second 30 day period. Took one more cold shower before it ended. Having warm air before and after taking the shower made it much better. And I even started getting that exhilaration a bit back.
It’s not over yet
So I went for another 30 day cold shower challenge, in October.
A lot fewer people joined the challenge this time. I guess I wasn’t the only one struggling with the cold.
After having mentally fought and feared cold showers. I now start to understand better the body’s reaction to temperature changes. Weather and seasons change, and the body reacts to it, but it takes time. Taking cold showers actually helps to adapt even though it can be a bit difficult.
The water is now at 17 degrees and I am back to enjoying the cold showers. The first 30 seconds are still uncomfortable, but it gets better afterward.
Will I be able to continue during the full winter? I don’t know, but I’d like to think there is a decent chance for it, as long as I keep adjusting and learning from this challenge.
I also need to point out how encouraging it is to do such a challenge with other people and not being alone. Try to find people to join you in your endeavors so you can support each other along the way, it helps a lot. Thank you to those joining me along with these challenges.
To be continued…