When it comes to having a healthy work/life balance, there are a number of hacks you can incorporate seamlessly into your routine that may surprise you. One such hack is the cold shower!
You’ve likely heard of ice plunges where people across the globe dive into icy waters. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that extreme in your daily life.
According to experts, switching from a comfy warm shower to a cold shower in the morning aids our mental and physical health. Specifically, a cold shower is shown to:
- Increase alertness
- Improve immune system
- Improve mood
- Improve physical recovery from fatigue
- Reduce pain
Furthermore, an article in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences reported that cold water resulted in “significant physiological and biochemical changes in the body such as increase in [heart rate], [blood pressure], metabolism…” and another study found that cold showers resulted in less sickness and increased productivity.
How To Start
Believe it or not, a cold shower is beneficial whether in the morning or at night. In fact, experts report that a cold shower before bed:
- Stimulates Immune System
- Promotes Alertness
- Prevents colds
- Stimulates Anti-Depression Hormones
- Accelerates Metabolism
- Frees the Mind
- Tightens the Skin
- Reduces Hair Loss
Plus it just feels good to climb into bed feeling fresh and relaxed.
But that doesn’t mean you have to take a cold shower every morning and night. The point of hacking the burnout epidemic of today is to find ways to calm the mind and body and give yourself the care and attention needed to be your best self.
This means you should determine which method is best for you – whether a cold shower in the morning or before bed, or both – and work your way up to it.
Work Up To It
If starting with a cold shower, cold-turkey seems impossible to you, you may be able to acclimate yourself to the idea by gradually decreasing the hot water while you shower.
Take the Plunge
Alternatively, you can opt to just step into the cold water, using mindfulness to regulate your response to the (sometimes) shocking effects of it. As moments pass, your body will become more used to it.
Splash A Little
If you don’t want to step directly into the cold water, try collecting some of the water in your hands and splashing it in small amounts on your body. This is an effective way of easing into the water without shocking yourself.
Mind Your Breathing
Expert in ice bathing, Wim Hof uses specialized breathing techniques to assist in regulating his body when participating in cold (and hot) activities. This makes sense given that research has found different types of mindful breathing affect different parts of our brains. Experiment with your breathing and see which techniques work best for you.
The most important thing is to not pressure yourself. Take your time and develop a way that works for you and your schedule and I am sure adopting a cold shower in your daily routine will help you stay sharp, focused, and exhilarated.