STRENGTH Challenge: Week THREE
This week, we continue to explore the transformational theme of Strength with a new weekly challenge. Over the past couple of weeks, we have explored inner strength through personal mission statements, and physical strength through daily core exercises. This week we are diving (both figuratively and literally) into a new challenge which will involve you stripping down and taking a cold shower every morning.
If you’ve never taken a cold shower (especially first thing in the morning), then this might sound like an undesirable experience. It is not easy to convince yourself to transition from your cozy, warm bed to an icy shower. Actually, the first few times you try it, it will likely be downright difficult – mentally that is. The challenge of facing cold showers every morning will not only sharpen your mental strength, but the overall benefits go even further.
Largely popularized by Wim Hof (checkout the Wim Hof Method, which combines breathing techniques with cold exposure), cold therapy has hit the mainstream as a tool to conquer both physical ailments and build mental strength, and is used daily by people ranging from doctors to celebrities to athletes for a host of benefits.
The challenge this week is to take a cold shower every morning. Cold therapy not only provides mental strength, but it also boosts your energy and mood by increasing endorphins, kick starts your metabolism, and increases your immunity. There are even skin benefits, ranging from tightened pores, to shinier hair and reduced facial and under eye inflammation.
Taking a cold shower will likely be the first “difficult” thing you choose to do each day. This is powerful for a number of reasons. By selecting your first difficult task, you will feel accomplished, in control, and when it is complete, you will feel more ready to take on all of the other difficult tasks that are sure to arise during a day. Additionally, by choosing to do something that is not easy, you will develop mental strength overtime, allowing you to better manage stresses as they arise.
Time Commitment: 5 minutes or less
The actual time spent in the cold shower will likely only range from 10 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on your experience and desire for a challenge. We recommend setting aside 5 minutes to allow enough time to mentally prepare prior to jumping in, and dry off afterwards.
The mood and energy boost you will experience from the cold shower makes the morning a perfect time to do it. If you normally meditate in the morning, feel free to experiment with taking your cold shower immediately before your morning meditation or immediately after.
We recommend easing into this routine, and gradually building your practice over time. If this is your first time using cold therapy, try the following:
- Take a warm shower as you normally would. Prior to getting out of the shower, turn the water to cold and immerse yourself for 10 to 30 seconds. Alternatively, try alternating between cold and warm water throughout your shower.
- Over the course of the week, gradually decrease the time of your warm shower, and increase the amount of time you spend under the cold water.
- Once you begin to feel comfortable with the exercise, feel free to start immediately jumping into the cold shower. The goal is to expose yourself to the cold water for between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
- As you get more comfortable with the cold and start to hone your stress response, you will find your tolerance will increase. At this point, feel free to start challenging yourself with staying longer.
- Over time, you will find you actually look forward to your daily cold shower.
One final piece of advice: Focus on your body’s reaction to the cold. Normally, the initial response will be shock. You will want to tense up, your heart rate will increase, and you may feel the need to suck in a deep breath of air. This response is normal, and is often referred to as the fight or flight response. Make it a focus to monitor your response to the cold, and consciously attempt to calm the fight or flight response. Try breathing normally, consciously relax your muscles, and focus on slowing your heart rate. Over time, this will allow you to develop a more controlled response to stress, both inside the shower, and in regular life.
Pairs Well With: STUNN AM
Adaptogens such as Ashwagandha and Boswellia serrata found in STUNN AM will help develop a stronger stress response over time, which will perfectly complement the stress benefits found from a daily cold shower.
Next week, we will dive into our final strength challenge of using a release meditation to develop psychological strength.
Transformation is journey oriented, where the process is arguably more impactful than any end result. Philosophically speaking, you could say the journey is the desired result… We can’t wait to get started on this journey, and hope you join us!
Not a part of the STUNN Tribe yet? Why not join us in our Facebook Group? We (and hopefully you) will be providing regular updates on these challenges, sharing our personal experiences, and generally diving a whole lot deeper on all things.
STUNN Collective is all about curating transformative routines, and connecting the dots between mental wellbeing and skincare. We all intuitively know that stress, fatigue, and anxiety is often linked to bad skin, and STUNN Collective is changing that with innovative, 100% plant based, vegan supplements, and a community forward approach.