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New year, new you? With the festive season behind us many of us are left reflecting on the year that was - with a focus on where we thrived and an acute emphasis on where we flailed. While many are setting new, bold resolutions, the rest of us are focusing on small sustainable changes with big impact; enter here, the morning cold shower.
There was a time the new years resolution was focused on grand, bold proclamations akin to launching a financially thriving business, competing in an ultra marathon and the like, but in 2023 we’re more aware of the reality of our goals and our ability to bring them to fruition. New year resolution benchmarking is now about implementing small incremental habits we can integrate to feel our best day-to-day, habits as simple as a morning cold shower even.. But, why?
First and foremost, new year’s resolutions were essentially born to help us hold ourselves accountable and strive towards living out our optimal reality. Albeit, history shows the annual activity often leaves us feeling left worse for wear with grossly unrealistic targets in mind and commitments dropping off soon in the year leaving us feeling emotionally worse about ourselves – sounds counterproductive right?
Recent years have seen a newfound focus on health and wellbeing come to rise, and no – we’re not talking about dropping 20kg on a juice cleanse or committing to a daily Les Mills bodypump sweat session. The real health and wellbeing movement focuses on a sustainable and balanced approach proven to increase markers of health and are maintainable for an entire lifetime. Think; daily nervous system regulation with morning cold showers, ice plunges, meditation, breathwork, walks in nature and food choices in support of your unique biology with blood sugar, hormone friendly meals, natural herbs and remedies.
It goes without saying, the last few years have been unprecedented and overwhelmingly stressful for many, intensifying the need to implement nervous system regulation practices in our day-to-day. Nervous system regulation teaches our minds and bodies to cope and better respond in a fight-or-flight scenario – a confrontation with your boss, an accident on your commute or an inundation of endless tasks drowning you each day.
Research suggests that a morning cold shower kicks the body into gear activating the sympathetic nervous system, increasing endorphins and even hosts an anti-depressive effect¹. Pressed for time? The study revealed participants only needed to endure the cold shower temperatures for 30 or more seconds to reap the desired benefits, potentially positioning this wellbeing practice as the quickest, most impactful proven natural strategy out there today.
Cold showers have been said to increase feelings of gratitude, mindfulness, calm, happiness and sustained energy throughout the day making it the quintessential new years reset to redefine your inner world and overall daily experience.
Not convinced you need a reset? Unfortunately the modern realities of our world – pressuresome emails upon rising, constant negative news on our social media feed or the inability to be in true solitude with mobile technology influencing a societal expectation of needing to be contactable at all times creating an unrealistic inner pressure on ourselves – are simple, frequent moments in our day which signal a fight-or-flight response within ourselves, a response which increases cortisol (stress), feelings of irritability, low mood, anxiety, discontent and can contribute to poor physical health outcomes too.
Akin to the Scandinavian practice of ice water plunges, cold showers are a great practice to implement regularly, or every day, and are a simple, maintainable resolution proven to positively increase physical and emotional wellbeing. The year 2023, is about maintainable health practices, balance and science backed strategies proven to support feelings of vitality – Don’t let a little cold water scare you away.