Musings from my desk

Eric’s life hacks #1: Take cold showers

2023-06-02 10:25:41 -0500 CDT


Don’t wait for your water to heat up before you hop into your shower. Step in, stare directly into your showerhead, and turn on the water full blast. Cold showers are invigorating, conserve water and energy, and make you feel alive again.

The life hack in a nutshell

About 3-4 months ago, I started taking cold showers after my morning workouts. Now, I take cold showers all the time, regardless of the time of day or my workout status. For me, a “cold shower” means getting into the shower with no water running, staring straight into the showerhead, and turning on the water full blast before any hot water can come out. I have a shower with two handles - one for cold and one for hot - and my current preference is to turn on the cold handle 100% and the hot handle about 25%. This way, the shower gradually becomes more “room temperature” as the hot water starts to flow.

One major caveat: I live in Texas, where it’s reasonably warm most of the year. This practice may require more willpower if you live in a colder climate.


I’ve noticed several benefits to taking cold showers:

  1. More personal energy. As I age, I’m always looking for ways to boost my energy. Cold showers are an easy way to feel energized and invigorated for the day ahead
  2. Less water and electricity. When I’m taking a cold shower, I’m less likely to stay for a long time because my mind is focused and alert, rather than relaxed and placid. This means I take shorter showers on average. Shorter, colder showers directly lead to less energy consumption too: water heaters account for about 20% of most home’s energy use.
  3. Increased sense of accomplishment and willpower. It’s always a nice feeling when you accomplish something difficult. It is even more gratifying when that difficult thing becomes a new habit. Starting to take cold showers requires significant willpower and focus; when it develops into a habit, it feels empowering and boosts my morale.


I found that creating a ritual around the initial discomfort of a cold shower was helpful for me to start this practice. Here’s my ritual:

  1. Mental preparation: When I step into the bathroom, I remind myself that I’m going to take a cold shower.
  2. Repeat a phrase: This helps me justify the cold shower to myself. It reminds me that the discomfort is temporary and the benefits are more persistent.
  3. No hesitation: Minimize friction to starting the shower. Set up a system in which you can act without much thought. This might involve preparing things the night before, so you can hop in without worrying about details like soap, towels, lights, or the bathroom fan.


Cold showers have been a great change for me. Try it out for a week and if you aren’t convinced, you can always go back to your warm spa showers.