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Why have a cold shower as part of your self-care routine?? 

Its sounds a bit crazy right? Why would one choose to have a cold shower when you can have a nice warm one?? Believe it or not but there is very good reason to take a cold shower at the end of your regular shower. By all means go all in and have a cold one firstly but it may be an idea to build up to a full on cold shower by starting warm. 

So what is happening when we take a cold shower? When we take a cold shower it shocks our nervous system into sympathetic activation. This is the flight or fight response in the body. We are technically stepping into a stressful environment and our knee jerk reaction is to jump out of the shower or frantically turn on the hot water. In order to remain calm in this environment, the invitation is to breathe deeply. Taking in deep diaphragmatic breaths down into our belly will help to calm and soothe the nervous system and bring us into that relaxed state where we can find ease in this potentially stressful environment. After about a minute you start to notice that you are calm and actually relaxed. This does take practice. Another tip is to hum while in the cold shower. Humming slows down our exhale and longer exhales are directly linked to our parasympathetic nervous system, therefore, bringing us into that state of peace and ease in a potentially stressful environment. Start with 10 seconds and try to build up to 2 minutes. 

Cold-water immersion is a brilliant workout for the cardiovascular system. The initial shock of the cold sends blood to our extremities to protect them from potential hypothermia and to mobilize us from danger. Once we are out of the cold our hands and feet start to warm up again signaling to us that we are safe. It’s also a mindfulness practice. The cold water jolts us into the present moment and we become acutely aware of our breathing. It’s a sensory-rich experience so we can FEEL every inch of our body’s reaction to the cold. Hello body sensations!! The greatest benefit is there a natural high after dipping yourself in the cold. You could say you’re “Buzzin” afterwards. 

Once we learn how to handle the cold immersions then we can take on any external stressful environment and calm ourselves down and carry on. This is the practice.  

  

Author: Kathryn Sheehan

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