Surviving Makhanda: a cold shower survival guide

By Naomi Grewan

Most residents of Makhanda are aware of the ongoing water crisis.

Recently, among UCKAR residences the problem hasn’t been a complete lack of water, but rather a lack of hot water.

Braving a cold shower at any time of the day is a daunting task.

Besides the obvious - that a cold shower might force you to take a shorter shower and therefore save water - there are many benefits to starting or ending your day with a refreshing, cold shower.

[Photo by kevin Baquerizo on Unsplash]

When attempting to make the best of a bad situation, it is sometimes a lot easier when there is science to back up your optimism.

It turns out that there are multiple ways cold showers help your skin, hair, body and overall well-being. Even more so than a regular warm shower.

So, to bring comfort to those who don’t have a choice and to inspire those who do, here are five reasons to put on a brave face and embrace the cold:

1. According to Medical News Today, cold showers improve blood circulation. This improves one’s overall cardiovascular health through healthy blood flow. This, in turn, stimulates the metabolic speed rate and production of white blood cells, strengthening the immune system.

2. A study showed that cold showers can aid in developing a nervous system that is stress-resistant. By lessening the levels of uric acid, this aids in lowering stress levels in the body and brain.

3. When the cold water hits the body it triggers “the blue spot” of the brain which releases the chemical nor-adrenaline, which plays a role in reducing the effects of depression. However, medical professionals do not suggest replacing any antidepressants with cold showers but cold showers can be used in conjunction with any prescribed medication.

4. Hot water is incredibly damaging and drying to hair and skin cells. Cold water encourages cells to lock in moisture which enhances skin and hair while reducing the risk of losing natural oils during a hot shower.

5. The human body sleeps better when at a lower temperature. Taking a cold shower before bed will ensure a better night’s rest by lowering the body’s overall temperature.

[Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash]

Unfortunately, it is not as easy to jump into a cold shower as it is to jump into a gloriously scolding hot shower.

Luckily, there is a guide to get you started. It’s quite a thing to try and get into a cold shower, regardless of the benefits. Here are the five best tips to getting into (and staying in) a cold shower:

1. Remind yourself that this is for your own benefit and give yourself a way out. For example, if you tell yourself it’s only going to be three minutes, it will motivate you to push through.

2. If you ask anyone who’s ever taken a cold shower before they’ll tell you that the last minute is always better than the first. Remember that the cold becomes less of a shock as your body loses all feeling.

3. It’s best not to go in at full force. Without opening the tap fully, start with your face and neck. Then, once those parts of your body have adjusted, increase the water pressure.

4. Sometimes, the only way to get things done is with a reward. Try rewarding yourself with a warm cup of coffee afterward.

5. If rewards as motivation don’t work for you, replay the benefits of a cold shower in your head during your shower. Reminding yourself of the benefits is also a powerful motivational tool.

[Photo by yip vick on Unsplash]

If you’re still not convinced, give it a try just to prove yourself wrong. The benefits of taking cold showers go beyond merely the environmental factors.

Cold showers have been shown to have a positive effect on both medical and physical health.

Throughout human history cold water therapy has been used as a way to improve and enhance overall well-being. For those who don’t always have a choice in taking cold showers, this is your silver lining. As for those who take a cold shower as a choice; keep going, you brave souls!

Whether it be out of curiosity or the absence of an alternative, self-care doesn’t have to consist of spa treatments and expensive products. Cold showers are free, sustainable, simple and will wake you up better than a cup of coffee ever could.

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