Cold Showers: How 30 Seconds Can Make You Feel Great All Day

Have you caught any of the videos on Instagram of people stepping into an ice bath? Or jumping into a freezing lake? They’re becoming more and more popular and you might be wondering, have these people lost their minds or do they simply like being cold? Either way, you might think, I won’t be doing any of that.

Listen, I come from a long line of warm-weather lovers. Being cold is not something I intentionally seek out, and yet I’ll admit I’m a total convert when it comes to cold showers and cold therapy. And I’m going to explain exactly why incorporating cold showers in your routine will help you feel better.

The Benefits of Cold Showers

The list of benefits is long. 

Let’s start with your ENERGY AND ALERTNESS. By increasing circulation and stimulating your vascular system, cold water can provide you with an instant boost of energy and mental alertness. This is really great in the morning if you, like me, don’t feel your peppiest first thing in the day. If you’re dealing with chronic stress and burnout, feeling sluggish can be a regular part of your day—so can brain fog, poor memory and difficulty concentrating. Cold showers can help with your brain’s cognitive functions so that you feel more like yourself right away. The effects of a cold showers are faster than coffee.

Cold showers improve your IMMUNE FUNCTION. By increasing your white blood cells, the cold water helps you avoid getting sick during the cold and flu season. So many factors can lower your body’s immune function, including stress (sound familiar?), lack of good sleep, eating sugar and processed foods. A regular habit of cold showers can help you avoid getting that next cold.

Next let’s talk about how cold therapy can help relieve DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY. Cold temperatures provide anti-inflammatory healing (which can also help you recover from your next workout). A cold shower relieves depression by providing anti-inflammatory relief to the brain. You may notice how your mood is lifted after one.

Cold showers can help you to AVOID STRESS. That’s right. Similar to exercise, the controlled stress that the cold temperature provides builds resilience in the body so that you’re better able to handle future stressors. I mean, we can all use that, right? 

Some other added benefits to a cold showers include relief from headaches, improved circulation, softer skin and shinier hair.

Where to Start

The great thing about cold showers is they’re a therapeutic and highly beneficial act of self-care that you can do without changing your current schedule. You already shower regularly (I’m assuming), so why not simply change how you shower? 

You can take the smallest steps to get started; even 30 seconds in cold water at the end of your shower will yield positive results. With time and practice, you can start to build up your endurance to 3 minutes (or more) to start getting the full benefits.

If you have a cold shower 1-3 times per week, you’ll really start to notice their effects regularly.

It might seem daunting to step into cold water. I can totally relate and rarely do I start my shower on cold. This is how I do it: 

  • I start the water on the regular warm temperature I like. I do that for 30-60 seconds, then switch to cold water for 1 minute.
  • I go back and forth like that until I’m finished my shower, always finishing on cold.
  • The longer the shower, the more I get used to and even like the cold water (that was unexpected).
  • To help with the counting (and I know this sounds silly but I want to make this as easy for you as I can), I sing the alphabet song at an even pace twice through before swapping, because I’ve figured out that singing that song once through is about 30 seconds. There. Now you know all my secrets.

Other Important Things to Know

I recommend being comfortably warm before you start your cold shower (it’s the big fluctuation in your body’s temperature that helps with the process). I also suggest having what you need to warm yourself up afterward available. That means your towel, warm clothes and a cozy blanket if you need. I find that after my shower, my body warms up pretty quickly on its own if I’m dressed properly and I end up feeling warmer than I did before the shower.

Mentally prepare yourself for the cold and encourage yourself through it. Breathe instead of tensing up.

If you’re in the middle of fighting a virus, I would wait until you’ve recovered.

If you have any chronic pain issues, be careful and consult your doctor or practitioner. Sometimes cold temperatures can either assist or harm our healing process, so it’s good to be mindful of that. In my case, I suffer from both chronic neck and back pain that are mostly triggered by stress. So as long as I’m mindful not to tense up, the stress relief from the cold shower actually helps me.

Always consult your primary healthcare provider before starting a treatment that may not be suitable for you. And listen to your body.

Give it a try and tell me how it went. How long did you have the cold on for? How did you feel afterwards?

Sleep Hacks: How to Get Your Best Sleep

Photo by Alexandra Gorn

You’re tired. You didn’t sleep well last night, or the night before. You can’t even function before your first cup of coffee in the morning, and might need another 2-3 cups to get you through the day. And while you feel so dang tired all day, when it comes time to actually go to bed you’re wide awake and can’t sleep a wink.

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Get Off the Hamster Wheel of Chronic Stress

Ever find yourself  thinking, gosh, I’m so run down and stressed this week, only to realize that this week is really no different from last week? Or the week before that? You’re feeling particularly overwhelmed and your best friend asks you what’s going on, but your answer is, “just life, you know?”

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6 Natural Cold Remedies that Work Immediately

Have you been feeling it? That sore throat? The runny nose? The incessant cough? And the overall feeling of fatigue that comes with fighting a cold. Cold and flu season is well underway and you may not be feeling your best. Here are 6 easy, whole foods-based solutions for fighting your cold naturally and efficiently and getting you back to feeling your best.

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5 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Weekday Mornings

Breakfast. It’s the first thing you put in your body after a night-long fast and ideally, highly nourishing, filling and full of good stuff to give you energy and keep you going for hours. Yet sometimes starting our day on the right foot (meal-wise) can be a challenge in the morning rush and before we know it, we’re rushing out the door on an empty stomach with only a cup of coffee in hand. Here are 5 ideas for easy, scrumptious breakfasts you can put together for your busy weekday mornings plus one yummy weekend recipe for when you’ve got a little more time.

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How to Overcome New Mom Exhaustion

Being mom is so exhausted

This month’s article has been kindly provided by my friend, Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Pearl Arjomand. Welcome Pearl!

Did you just have a baby and are struggling to stay awake? Having a baby includes a lot of change − to your body, to your family, to every aspect of your life! This change can be particularly challenging if it’s your first time, but whether you’re a first time mama or not, you might still be looking for ways you can feel your best so that you can enjoy this precious time with your little chickpea. Here are a few factors that might be affecting your energy levels.

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Superfoods 101: Easy Ways to Get Your Fill

White bowls of various superfoods on white wooden background

Superfoods are getting a lot of buzz lately. So many items are being called superfoods now and you may have a general sense that this is a good thing (super equals good, right?), but not know what this term really means or how to start incorporating them in your diet. So here’s a crash course to superfoods and some easy ways you can start enjoying them.

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5 Ways to De-Stress

Relaxed young yoga woman in yoga pose near pool. Yoga Concept.

Stress. It’s something that most of us experience yet have a hard time dealing with. You might be thinking, Laila, I would love to be less stressed but I don’t know how to or have the time. Well, this article is for you because I’ve briefly explained why we need to better cope with it and included five ways you can start dealing with stress today. Or, you may be thinking, Laila, I’m not really very stressed, or I think I handle it just fine. To which my answer is: great! – this is still the article for you because stress is a sneaky beast and it likes to hide. Many of us are experiencing stress and aren’t aware of it until it hits us unawares or manifests in other ways. So read on and learn the ways you can start beating stress.

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6 Healthy Snacks That Everyone Can Enjoy

traditional sauce hummus with fresh vegetables and pita bread, top view

Looking for a few go-to snacks? The best ones will nourish you and leave you feeling satisfied. They’ll also have a good combination of carbs, protein and fat to provide you with energy and leave you satiated until your next meal. Here are a few easy ones and tips for getting healthy snacking done.

Veggie Platters

With the warm summer weather, I can’t get enough of delicious crisp veggies, sliced apples, seed crackers and hummus (see my Facebook post). It’s the best time of the year for this so try cucumber, celery, carrots, bell peppers. You can also try pairing sliced apples with almond butter and a dusting of cinnamon. Very nice.

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Beat the 3pm Energy Crash

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Years ago when I worked in an office, without fail by 2-3pm my energy levels would crash and I would consistently turn to something, anything to get me through the rest of the day (which by then felt like it could not come sooner). A friend of mine and I would message each other over whether one had access to any contraband: chocolate? cookies? coffee? Yes please to all three. And since this seemed to be everyone’s story I didn’t think much of it. This is normal, right? Actually, it really isn’t.

 

It’s now rare for me to need any kind of energy pick-me-up at any point of the day. My energy levels are steady from when I wake up to when I get ready for bed and I’m here to share with you some common culprits that cause the energy slumps that many experience mid-afternoon.

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