Lukas Šitkus
Mar 16, 2024

Year of Coldness: Embracing Cold Showers for Personal Growth

Stepping into the shower, you pause for a moment. What if...

What if you turn the knob to the other side this time? Towards that blue marker on the knob instead of the red one.

Without much hesitation, you give it a twist.

The water touching your skin swiftly shifts from cozy warmth to an icy chill. Your initial instinct is to retreat to the warm side, but instead, you decide to endure, curious about where this discomfort might lead.

Just a little longer. One more second, one more heartbeat.

Your heartbeat hastens, your breath becomes more intense.

Slowly, as you stand alone in the cold rain, you feel the weight of the world melting away, transforming harsh decisions into simpler ones.

Something shifts. You adapt.

Stepping out of the shower, you feel empowered, euphoric.

As the day progresses, hour by hour, your mood lifts, your energy surges, and that sense of euphoria remains.

Would you pursue this feeling?

I’m giving it a shot

Every challenge begins as a mere notion. Typically, it's followed by some research, a quick Google search or talking with friends if you have them.

I rarely dive into a challenge after just one fleeting thought. It needs to come up in various stages of my life. Then, at some random moment, when the stars align and the moon's phase matches my unknown personality shit, it clicks.

Cold showers.

I want to give it a try, to understand why so many people rave about it. Is it truly that amazing?

Let me spoil it for you. It's fucking amazing, though ridiculously cold.

The approach

I started about a year ago. I embarked on a month-long challenge, just to see how I'd feel. Initially, my cold showers weren’t that cold and I could only endure a lukewarm-cold shower for about a minute.

Then, I stumbled upon a TED Talk by Joel Runyon about cold showers, where the speaker mentioned doing it for 5 minutes daily for God knows how long.

Am I not as resilient as he is? Probably not, but there's no harm in trying.

I adjusted my morning routine to include a solid 2 minutes of ice-cold shower, cranking the knob to the maximum blue. Sometimes, I'd ease up on the water flow initially; with a gentler flow, it's not as bone-chilling, though it definitely gets colder with a stronger flow.

Nonetheless, I stuck to the maximum blue setting for 2 minutes daily, varying the flow at harsh days when I slept poorly or was just not feeling my best.

And so it continued for the rest of the year.

Not a single day went by without my cold shower ritual. I'm certain of this because I haven't fallen ill since I began.

Was my immunity improved by cold showers?

I'm not entirely sure, but I'd like to believe so. It became one of my motivations for sticking to it, especially considering I used to fall ill at least two times a year.

Even while traveling, I kept it up. Whether there was a shower available or just a nearby lake, I found a way. Cold showers became as ingrained in my routine as breathing.

A few weeks ago, I finally fallen to illness (oh yeah, I’ve been waiting for you, little bastard). Naturally, I had to forgo the cold showers; it made no sense to subject myself to the cold while battling illness.

Now, I'm almost fully recovered. I haven't resumed the daily 2-minute cold showers yet, but I'm getting there. Soon enough, I'll be back at it with full force.

The perks

Cold showers come with a bunch of benefits. For a deeper dive, I highly recommend listening to the Huberman Lab podcast about cold exposure. In the podcast Dr. Andrew Huberman explains the benefits of cold exposure, the types of such exposures, and the methods to achieve maximum perks.

Personally, I've noticed several benefits. While they may not last the entire day, I'm guaranteed at least 4-5 hours of:

The journey ahead

I'm not the most cold-tolerant person out there. There are plenty of folks who take ice baths and engage in even crazier cold-related activities, and I salute them.

But, there's no need for comparison. You should do what feels right for you, what brings you joy and happiness, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone just a tad bit.

If simply going outside in shorts during winter brings you a sense of exhilaration, that counts as cold exposure too. Maybe not as extreme as cold showers, let alone ice baths, but exposure nonetheless. As long as it makes you feel better, keep at it.

And I intend to keep going. Before long, I'll be back to where I started. Perhaps I'll even push my comfort zone a bit further, aiming for 2:15, 2:30, 2:45

Sure, 2 minutes might not seem like a lot. But let’s do the math over the course of a year. With 365 days multiplied by 2 minutes, and converting it into hours, we get a little more than 12 hours in total. Twelve hours of staying in cold water - now that's truly mind-bending.

Doesn't it make you wonder where your limit lies?

Listened to:

Thanks for reading. Peace.