Hi! I’m Jad Abukasm, News Editor at The Concordian, and in this segment, Kayla runs my life!
When it comes to being comfortable, I am the pinnacle of sassy. Some might say I resemble Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man. In other words, I am a lazy bean that is fully satisfied with all the superficial stuff I own. Laying on the sofa with hot tea and a warm blanket all day? YES PLEASE! So, when I heard Kayla tell me the next challenge is ice cold showers for a week, my first instinct was “EFF THAT!”
Results from thorough online research showed me the benefits of bathing in freezing water. Apparently, cold showers promote blood circulation, better focus, better immune response and increased alertness, to name a few.
As a lazy person with the attention span of a goldfish, this sounded like a crazy good solution for me. But were the costs that beneficial? Let’s find out.
Day 1 and 2:
The first two days were horrible. I jumped into the challenge by starting under the lowest water temperature which resulted in my skin turning red and hurting for the next few hours. Other editors told me to stop the challenge, but my ego took over. I couldn’t stand this challenge. I was kind of pissed all the time. I kept counting the days remaining, already looking forward to the challenge being over.
Day 3 onwards:
After my first two failed attempts, I took a new approach. I started under a slightly uncomfortable temperature and slowly reduced the heat every 10 or so seconds with the last minute at the coldest setting. This changed my whole perspective on ice cold showers. Just like that, I felt well awake, ready to tackle the day full of energy and, as weird as it might sound, I felt empowered.
I think the fact that humans created their habitat with comfort as their bedrock made us rationalize comfort and despise everything else. Forcing me to put myself in a situation of discomfort made me appreciate my surroundings. I kept repeating to myself, it’s just cold water. It’s not like I’m being chased by an enraged mammoth, under a snowstorm with splinters all over my feet. After all, this was what our bodies were originally meant to do.
I immediately called Kayla and said: “Change of plans, I’m doing ice cold showers for two weeks!” I wanted to push myself to find out how I was suddenly loving something that I hated only a day before.
A lot of things changed. The most noticeable was my relationship to the cold. Prior to the challenge, I couldn’t stand it one bit. However, I quickly realized that I was now enjoying the feeling of cold air breezing on my shaved head and little tingles in my fingers. I wasn’t as cold as before, and I hardly felt uncomfortable outside, even for long periods of time. My runny nose and sore throat went away for good. I started feeling way more focused and mindful of my surroundings. Finally, my recovery time from training reduced quite a bit.
My takeaways from this challenge are that, as much as we like our everyday comfort, regularly inducing slight discomfort can go a long way. We learn to appreciate the little things that have become second nature.
I highly recommend taking ice cold showers to anyone who wants to give it a shot. Go at your own rhythm and find your groove and get informed before starting the challenge. Many people quit after their first attempt because they do not proceed properly and get discouraged—like my first two attempts. Who knows? You might add it to your daily routine like I’ve started doing!
Graphic by @sundaeghost