Do you feel good about yourself today? It is a broad question many aren’t sure how to answer. Does this inquiry question well-being? Health? Anxiety levels? The answer is all of them. Sadly, for a myriad of people all across the globe, the answer to this not-so-simple question would be a no. But what if we could change that without expensive new items and without completely altering your daily schedule?
Here are three everyday hacks that can change your answer to a yes.
1. Take a cold shower!
Have you ever been in that dreadful position when you are the last person in your house to shower? We all know what it’s like to be greeted by the painfully cold water. It may seem like liquid torture dripping down your body, but, believe it or not, cold showers have a tremendous number of health benefits!
The first benefit being increased alertness and productivity. Though the shock of icy water running down your skin is definitely not the most soothing thing, the deep breathing in response to the cold water increases our heart rate, giving a natural dose of energy for the day (Borreli). This extra energy can help increase productivity, and you will be more alert and ready to take on the day.
But wait! There’s more! Scientific research has proven that this chilly practice can actually refine your hair and skin. Hot water has been known to dry out your skin, whereas its freezing cold counterpart will tighten cuticles and pores, blocking dirt and grime from getting in (Borreli). After a cold shower, hair will appear shinier, stronger, and healthier than before.
Third of all, there are even more benefits for your looks! According to Medical Daily, cold showers can also stimulate weight loss! How? Well, the science behind it is, sadly, not so simple. The basic idea is that you have a kind of “good” fat in your body, called brown fat. Brown fat is activated when exposed to extreme cold. Therefore, frigid showers cause brown fat activity, which stimulates weight loss.
As if that wasn’t fascinating (and complicated) enough, this chilly water relieves stress and depression. The science behind this is zany and confusing, but, in a nutshell, cold showers are a form of hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy, though befuddling in its complexity, can help relieve depression and make you less stressed (Borreli).
I, myself, have been taking cold showers for a few weeks now, and I have some advice. My first suggestion would be to not start off with the water too cold. In my personal experience, if you start off with the water freezing cold, you will not have a pleasant experience. I would suggest starting at a temperature just a little below your comfort zone. Each time you adjust to (get used to) the new temperature, turn it a little colder. At the end of your shower, you will still be comfortable, but you will have reached a colder temperature (without so much of the inevitable pain).
When I used this hack, I saw the benefits firsthand. Unlike after a hot shower, I was not drowsy and relaxed. Instead, I felt more energetic and ready to seize the day.
Last, but certainly not least, I usually experience mild acne. However, after taking cold showers for a few weeks, I noticed new pimples appearing less and less often. In my personal experience, this simple, inexpensive hack actually works!
Crazy as it may seem, cold showers will, whether you decide to believe it, improve your overall health and well being. So far I’ve kept my promise…no extra expenses, no overly time consuming activities. One down, two to go!
2. Try a sport!
What else can improve your well-being and health? That’s right! Good old sports. A common misconception is that doing a sport requires joining an expensive league or team and taking hours out of your day, completely altering your schedule. But that is far, far from the truth.
Being in a sport could just be picking a sport (some teams are free, and the ones that aren’t are usually not overly expensive), and, depending on how seriously you take it, take an hour or so out of your day to practice. If you do want to pursue a sport but are afraid of getting hurt, I may be biased (I am a swimmer), but I would suggest a low impact sport so that you can take care of your joints. Some examples of low impact sports are swim, water aerobics, horseback riding, cross country skiing, ice skating, and many more. But why even do a sport?
First of all, doing a sport is an unparalleled team building experience. The ability to work together with others to meet a common goal is a necessity for a successful future. Cooperation is a crucial part of almost all careers. Developing this skill early in life can boost your potential by astronomical amounts, as well as help you get a job. Also, in my personal experience, working well with other people can reduce stress (no fighting in groups means less anxiety).
Secondly, the most obvious reason to do sports. Yes, that’s right. Exercise! Sports provide the perfect dose of physical activity. The exercise that sports provide helps keep you healthy and strong. Depending on what sport you do, and how often your games and practices occur, you will get different amounts of exercise. But, aside from the obvious, there is a hidden advantage to exercise through sports “…they also encourage healthy decision-making such as not smoking and not drinking” (Benefits).
Lastly, sports can play a role in relieving stress! In my personal experience, I can let out all my stress through swimming (my chosen sport) and exercising just by working really hard at it. Say you’ve had a bad day (we all do sometimes), and you have all this pent up aggression. You could take it out on a person, worsening your relationship with them and feeling unsatisfied afterward. Or you can just train harder, releasing anger in the form of speed and power! See what I mean? Getting your energy out through physical activity and sports is known to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
3. Take care of yourself- the 30 minute challenge!
Take care of yourself! This ridiculously simple hack may seem stupid. However, as dumb and obvious as it may be, I am not a dolt. Actually, this is the most important hack on this list, as it summarizes everything I’ve talked about so far. This well-being and health hack will make an astonishing difference in how life unfolds for the people that use it.
This third (and final) tip includes all of the above. Having a better overall well- being and health basically requires taking care of yourself, and all of the previous hacks can help you do that. But, one part of this is something I call the 30 minute rule.
The 30 minute rule is a hack of my own making, and this is a major part of taking care of yourself. To put things simply, this rule consists of one thing: no matter how busy you are, no matter how much you have to do, take 30 minutes out of your day to do an activity of your choice. Not something that you have to do, or feel pressured to do, just an activity that you want to do.
In my 30 minutes, I usually draw, color, write, work on my blog, or read, but you can do anything that you want. This anti-stress time will help you take care of yourself, and the benefit? The benefit is plain and simply feeling good about yourself and how you use your time.
Do you feel good about yourself today? Those were three easy, cheap, and not overly time consuming hacks. With those in mind now, what is the answer to that question? Those three simple things just make life better, when you think of all the benefits. In using these, people are already on their way to better overall well-being and a healthier, happier life. So, has your answer shifted since the beginning of this piece? Whether it be as simple as taking care of yourself or playing a sport, or as complex as the science behind cold showers, try it out! Life truly is what you make of it, so make yours just a little bit better.