So why cold showers?
I started trying cold showers after being introduced to this concept by my brother. There is a lot of literature on this topic so please have a look and learn about the surprising benefits, both for physical and mental health. You can also go onto YouTube and see reaction videos of other people trying cold showers for the first time to find out what you might be in for. I was sceptical at first, with a mingling of sudden attachment to my comfortable hot showers, but in the end I figured, what have I got to lose? For those of us with any kind of mental illness, something as simple as a cold shower to positively affect mood is something to definitely try.
I have found that cold showers definitely give you a boost in mood. Afterwards, I feel energised and I always have a bit of a laugh at myself about the experience, even a year into this experiment. There’s also nothing else quite like a cold shower for forcing you into mindfulness and being present in the moment. That first intake of breath as the cold water hits your spine is always a shock, no matter how many cold showers you’ve had before, no matter how prepared for it you think you are. You can’t help but feel alive and it constantly makes me surprisingly grateful to be so.
It’s also extremely funny if you happen to be in the bathroom and watch your partner go through a cold shower. I highly recommend this. I guess you could call it a “bonding activity”? ^_^” There will be guaranteed laughter on all sides.
I have read that with cold showers, you can start off with standing under the cold water for a full minute and then advance to five minutes or more. I can understand the benefits from a mood perspective, but there’s a part of me that just can’t stop thinking about the water wasted with a five minute shower. So instead, I decided to have navy showers. Essentially, navy showers are simply cold showers with water conservation in mind.
The main benefit with navy showers is that they are well known for their conservation of water and energy, so you’ll be saving money on top of helping the environment and living intentionally and sustainably. The cold shower aspect will also boost your mood, energy, immunity, metabolism along with a multitude of other benefits. Seriously, look it up! It’s seems almost too good to be true.
How I have a navy shower
When I have a navy shower, I blast myself with cold water head first so that I am completely wet and then I turn off the water completely. I then use my fingers to massage my scalp and pull the water through the lengths of my hair, all without shampoo (for why I don’t use shampoo please see my blog post My Water-Only Hair Routine – Giving up shampoo and embracing simplicity).
I then wash my face with soap and use the same soap with a hemp mitt to soap and exfoliate my body. Once I’m all scrubbed up, I turn on the cold water again to quickly rinse off and I’m done! All this action happens in probably under two minutes, though I’ve never strictly timed myself.
Cold water as a treatment for mood disorders
Aside from having a cold shower as a way to get myself clean, I have also just stood under a cold shower for a time when my mood has been especially low. As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder (rapid cycling) a number of years ago. Living with a mental illness can be a struggle even with treatment and I have found that standing under running cold water sometimes has helped me to force my thoughts to stop and forces me to take deep, slow, calming breaths.
When you are standing under cold water, you are forced to become incredibly mindful of the present moment rather than the chaos in your mind. All I can ever think about is how the cold water is and how my body is reacting to it; how my skin has goosebumps, and how my breathing has become deep and shallow all at once. It’s hard to describe just how many sensations and emotions run through my body when I’m standing under that stream of cold water. And then when I turn the water off, the amazing sense of calm I feel. It is a form of self-care that I keep in my back pocket for when I feel the whispers of depression beginning to stir.
Does this mean no more hot showers?
In saying all this, I do still have the occasional warm shower. It just feels nice sometimes and I don’t like to put pressure on myself to follow strict rules or ideals. If I want to have a cold shower, that’s what I’ll do. If I want to have a warm or hot shower, I’ll do that instead. Aim to just do what feels best for your body and mind in that day or that moment. I just want to do what feels right for me. But honestly, I think I’ve been converted. I highly recommend you try doing cold showers for at least a week. You will feel amazing. ^_~”
Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried cold or navy showers and how it made you feel.
Much love, accidentalbirds
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