Taking on the heat of cold showers

October 1, 2020 — by Jason Cheng

I’m not gonna lie, I probably spend my whole day looking forward to my nightly shower, and trust me when I say that I savor every second I spend under that stream of 100-degree water. A hot shower isn’t a choice — it’s a lifestyle. 

With that said, standing in practically boiling water for half an hour isn’t the healthiest choice ever. So in an attempt to “seek discomfort” (thank you, Yes Theory), I decided to try out cold showers for a week.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I hate the cold, but the thought of substituting my favorite time of day for five minutes of suffering wasn’t exactly going to get my hopes up. 

After a typical Saturday flew by, it was time for my first cold shower trial. I stepped into the shower and waited for the water to heat up for a good five minutes. Freezing cold water kept pouring onto my feet, and unfortunately, it wasn’t getting much warmer. 

Instead of waiting any longer, I just went for it.

Safe to say, I smashed my previous shower record, setting a personal best of two minutes. As I scrambled for the shampoo bottle, all I could think about was getting the heck out of there. The towel was my saving grace at the end, and I huddled inside of its warmth, shivering as ice-cold water dripped down my skin.

To say the least, my “experiment” didn’t go so well. Yes, I saved 28 minutes of my time. Was it worth it? No. 

The next day, I tried a different approach. After a nice session of mask-protected, socially distant football with the boys, I entered the shower, hot and sweaty from the exercise.

I desperately needed a refreshing cooldown. And this time, the cold water actually felt … good. All the muck and heat that had built up throughout the day was washed away in a matter of minutes. 

This satisfaction didn’t last very long. The very next day was a repetition of Saturday: suffering and agony. Something needed to be done. 

What if, I thought, I showered in the morning? I definitely wouldn’t mind a wake-up call for my lifeless corpse for second period, and it couldn’t get much worse than Saturday.

To my surprise, it worked. I felt a shock as the first droplet of water plopped onto my back, and it was as if I’d been revitalized. I finished my cold shower feeling better than ever, and I was wide awake and ready for what Tuesday had to offer. 

And so it went: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I was slowly adapting to this cycle of discomfort to satisfaction, and every time I went in anticipating regret, I came out feeling the opposite way.

As much as I want to, I’m not going to sugarcoat the ending of this near-perfect transformation. As soon as I realized that the week was over, I went straight back to my classic 30-minute hot shower, and I gotta tell you, that was the most satisfying shower experience ever. 

That isn’t to say my cold shower experiment was a complete failure. It certainly did bring some change of scenery to my bland quarantine lifestyle, and it was such a great way to kickstart my early weekday mornings. 

Would I recommend cold showers to anyone? Sure, go ahead — maybe your experience will be different from mine. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a hot shower with my name on it waiting for me, so if you’re looking to talk about it, I’ll see you in 30 minutes. 

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