When you think about preparing for an internship, I'm sure your first thought is to go shopping for professional outfits or to brush up on technical skills. While that's all important, there's so much more for you to think about.
Even the smallest of habits can have a major impact on your performance. In fact, there's one secret all interns should know if they want to boost their productivity and alertness at work: To be as ready for work as possible, start your day with a cold shower.
Why does this simple trick have such a big impact? Well, the choices you make before you head to work in the morning have a major impact on the entirety of your day. Performing well is impacted not just by your intelligence and work-ethic, but by the steps you take to function at the highest level you can. So, if you want to start your day off right, forcing yourself out of bed and immediately taking a cold — and I mean cold — shower is the only way to go. It's a tried and true remedy for your morning fatigue, and it could actually result in beneficial — and unexpected — changes.
Taking a cold shower right when you wake up is the perfect way to break out of your lethargic morning haze. Although it may seem obvious why you're more awake after getting doused in freezing water, the physiological changes resulting from a cold shower are actually really surprising. In response to the shock of getting sprayed with cold water, we begin breathing more deeply, increasing our oxygen intake. Your heart rate subsequently rises, thus increasing blood flow throughout your body and boosting your energy. So basically, cold showers don't increase your alertness just because of their chilly temperature, but due to the changes they cause in your body.
Moreover, cold showers don't just change how you feel; they change how you look. Drenching yourself in chilly water supposedly combats frizzy hair by smoothing ruffled cuticles and locking in moisture. Although it's still debated whether this trick works, I've been doing it for years to keep my curls under control in even the most humid environments. It's a lifesaver for when you want to avoid frizz but don't have your favorite serums or gels on hand. Beyond helping your hair, cold showers have major skin care benefits. Once the chilly water makes contact with your skin, your blood vessels constrict, thus tightening your pores and reducing redness in your skin. If you're running late and don't have time to shower, an easy hack is just washing your face with cold water to get similar results.
Compared to the expensive creams and topical gels you could buy for this same effect, taking a cold shower is an easy, cost-effective solution.
Moving on from the more well-known benefits of cold showers, they also make you more daring. Seriously. According to a New York Times article, overcoming your body's resistance to taking an unpleasant, chilly shower actually provides you with major behavioral benefits. It starts your day off with the completion of a difficult challenge. This then leads you to continue this behavior, facing issues head-on throughout your day. Imagine feeling so emboldened by your morning shower that you speak up in meetings and pitch your ideas to the head honchos! This small change could do wonders for your success at your internship.
So how long should your cold showers last? Dr. Clifford Stark of Sports Medicine at Chelsea shared with WonderHowTo that no one knows for sure, but even just a blast of chilly water will do your body good.
Some have suggested a 2-3 minute cold shower each day to derive benefit, while others have suggested that people can significantly benefit from as little as a 10-second cold blast at the end of a shower, or even simply lowering the temperature of the shower to cool or lukewarm ... I certainly suggest one of these options for those looking to feel refreshed and energized, perhaps as an eye opener instead of that morning cup of coffee...
Listen, I know the idea of waking up early to shower isn't that appealing. After months of going to bed late and waking up way, way later, getting up to make it to your 9-to-5 on time is a real pain. Despite this, it must be done. Making time for a cold shower in the morning will set you up for a successful day, helping you impress your boss and potentially land that job you're trying to get at the end of all of this. So even though staying consistently productive — let alone awake — is a major struggle, incorporating this tip into your morning routine should help you have the energy you need to be an alert and engaged intern.