Someone that has been appearing on a lot of my social media feeds at the moment is a guy called Wim Hof, also know as The Ice Man.
After doing some reading, I decided to try his 20 day cold shower challenge. (FYI, I started this in October/ November).
The theory behind having a daily cold shower is that it can; reduce stress, provide a higher level of alertness, improve the immune system, increase will power and contribute to weight loss. Thats a lot of gains for not a lot of effort, and I figured it was worth a try.
Day 1, Pre-shower: I’m a little nervous. I’ve been in cold water outside before but literally just a handful of times. I’ve also experimented with cold showers in the past to, they say it makes your hair shinier so occasional I’ve given my hair a quick blast of cold water, but I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about 15 seconds, and definitely not how I will feel about 1 whole minute. However I have nothing to lose and am looking forward to giving it a try.
Post- shower, wow! I initially had a problem so I feel I cheated a bit but the shower wouldn’t turn on with the temperature fully set to cold so I got in and it was that nice cool warm and I figured this isn’t so bad, but knew I needed to turn the temp down, which I did. It was a shock at first, it made me gasp and giggle but it was actually ok. It was really reviving and it made me smile. I think the weirdest thing was that I kind of felt like I had achieved something. After weeks of feeling depressed and not feeling like I was coping with life at all, this 15 second burst of cold water made me feel like I could do something. I enjoyed it so much I stayed under the shower for 20 seconds!
End of week 1- something started happening, I was actually looking forward to my 15 seconds, often pushing to 20. It was 15 seconds where I concentrated on me, no distracting thoughts and practiced mindfulness. The cold water sensation was strangely hypnotic and set you up for the day.
Mid point- I’m now half way through and I have to admit, I’m still enjoying the challenge. I’ve just completed a week of 30 seconds and am about to go into 45. Sometimes before I get in the shower I feel a little hesitant, “do I really want that cold water blast?”, but once I turn the tap and get over that initial temperature change, I start to enjoy it and feel so much more alert when I get ready for the day. I’m not sure if I will last a full minute, but I’m pretty sure I’ll carry on with the cold shower.
First 45 seconds- ok, I think with the change in temperature our cold water has suddenly got a lot colder. I turned the tap to cold today and got quite a shock from the icy water, it felt much cooler than the past 10 days. I found once I got past the first 30 seconds I could start to relax, maybe that’s why I’ve found the challenge easy so far. Also a first today, my skin was tingling! I didn’t realise until I was stood in front of the wardrobe wondering what to wear, but from head to toe I felt amazing. Goosebumpy but with no goosebumps, it was very comfortable, I almost didn’t want to get dressed in case I lost the feeling but Matt was keen for us to go and run an errand. Still, even with my jeans on I still felt all zingy, in fact even a couple of hours later it was still there.
Penultimate day of 45 secs- our shower is definitely getting colder, it’s becoming a lot harder. I must have been put into a false sense of security at the beginning with my ‘cold’ showers. However, I persevere. It takes about 30 seconds for me to get over the cold shock and then I’m settling in. I’ve also got that tingly sensation again today which makes it a little bit easier.
End of 1 minute week: I made it!!
Conclusion. When I started this, I wasn’t really expecting any results. I thought at best I might get a bit more energy at the beginning of the day. I have noticed however that I do feel a shift, although it is hard to say if that is due to cold water therapy, or the fact I’ve recently had 3 weeks off work, or perhaps a combination of the two?
Four weeks after completing the challenge and I had stopped with the cold showers, giving myself the excuse of too busy or too cold. I’d noticed however that I kind of missed them, I missed the mindfulness as the cold water ran down my back, and I missed the tingling sensation it gave my skin for the rest of the day. So this morning, I took a deep breath, and I turned that tap back down to cold, I think it’s safe to say this is part of my daily routine now.
Will you give it a go? Join me in the 3%, you can download his app for free in the Apple store now. Let me know how you do!