2019 has been the year of the Cold shower. Every day I have started off by getting into the coldest running water available. If this sounds awful, you would be correct. I am blessed to have a wonderfully warm bed with a perfect view of the lake which I could appreciate for hours on end. The last thing that I want to do is get my ass up and get into a cold shower. So why do it? I find it important to start my day with a mental win vs an always game opponent in the cold.
My conscious mind thinks I am an idiot and creates many excuses as to why I can skip just one day and today is as good as any. When I turn the water on my mind races a mile a minute with thoughts like: “I hate this,” “This is stupid,” “go back to the warm bed,” to bigger things like “I don’t feel good,” “I am late already,” “I am on vacation.” These thoughts do not cease or subside. Every morning for 31 straight my mind has made an excuse as to why I shouldn’t be getting into the cold shower.
Subsequently, I have had 31 straight victories where I beat my conscious mind, and taken the step into the tub where the little ice cubes attack my internal comfort. The cold initially puts me in a frantic state. I feel like I want to shrivel up to secure heat, or jump right the fuck back out. I regulate this with deep, Wim Hoff style breathing. Once I get my breathing down my body and mind follow suit. I start to appreciate the cold as there really is no room to think about anything else. Cold showers are a bit different than ice baths as new cold water is constantly moving on your skin. Your skin can not make its little heat barrier it does in a stagnant bath.
I make sure to take at least 30 deep breaths while the cold water beats my skin. The first ten are much faster than the last 20. By the end I barely feel the cold and the positive flow starts. If I was tired, I am now awake. If I was lackadaisical, I am now energized. I am exuberant, alert, and ready to start my day. I feel the best on the days it was especially difficult to get in. Cold showers cleanse my mental palate, creating a soft reset allowing me to examine the day ahead with fresh perspective.
There are scientific benefits to putting your body into the cold shower like improved circulation, immunity, alertness, even anti aging benefits. All these are great, but not why I have decided to do this. I take these showers to start my day with a win vs a formidable opponent. Pitting myself against the cold day in and day out sharpens my mental sword to be able to defeat other hearty opponents that may pop up during the day. Things like stress or sadness don’t have a chance because I already train with the best, my friend, the cold.