Showers, love them or hate them, we need them. Especially you. Phew! You smell like you’ve been training positive!

We know we need to take showers to clean ourselves, but did you know showering can help with weight loss goals, stress relief, and yes, even our physical health? Talk about a power shower!

Hot showers are particularly good for relieving tension and sore muscles. In essence, after a hard workout, showering off all your sweat is not the only purpose of a nice hot shower. Providing muscle relaxation, it’s easy to understand warm and hot showers are recommended for stress relief. Hot showers also helps with cold symptoms, acting as a natural decongestant.

Cold showers have great health benefits. Studies show cooler showers are better for our skin and hair, since they hydrate rather than dry out with hot showers. It has also been shown cool showers help stave off symptoms of depression (provided you have checked with your doctor first). Cold showers are great first thing in the morning to wake you up and get you completely alert.

So there are benefits to both a hot and cold shower. But it’s more than just us, remember. The earth is affected by our showering habits? So how can we make our showering better for us and for the planet?

While hot showers are probably preferred by most people, cold showers are better for the environment. Hot water needs to warm up and uses a lot of energy to do so. It’s also easier to take longer hot showers. Conserving water reduces pollution and saves the energy to treat our potable water sources.

But hot showers are nice. If taking a cold shower is not a sustainable habit for you, try to take fewer showers, or conserve water in other ways. I promise I’m not over-sharing here, but one of the best ways I save water is by showering with my husband. We’ve been doing it since we got married. Maybe at the very beginning it was a romantic thing we did, but it quickly morphed into “less showers = less water”.

Taking fewer showers may not be an option for everyone. Although, I heard a recent survey showed most Americans shower twice a day. Honestly, I’d love to meet people who have time to take two different showers everyday. If you take two showers a day but complain you don’t have time to workout or fix an at-home dinner, then I know where you can start in finding time.

Right now, I am only taking a shower after I’ve done heavy cardio. I feel better and refreshed when I take a shower right after a workout. But to be honest, on my strength training days, I don’t break a sweat nearly as much, and I don’t feel compelled to shower.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wash myself. But I don’t need to waste water to get clean.

Another way to clean up your act in the shower is with your bathing products- shampoo, conditioner, and soap. This year, 2018, Chris and I really focused our energy on cutting out plastic from our bathroom. We greened our oral hygiene quite a bit, but first we greened our shower.

Again, LUSH has its major flaws, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hard not to support them. For me, they are more local than any other beauty company with similar environmental ethics. Out of British Columbia, LUSH has several stores nearby. They don’t test any of their products on animals. They use all natural ingredients and never use palm oil. And many of their products come in waste free containers. We started getting their shampoo and conditioner bars. Instead of in a bottle, these look like bars of soap- but they’re for your hair.

I’ve also gotten shaving cream, exfoliant body wash, and bubble baths from LUSH and in waste free containers. Sometimes they work fantastically. Sometimes they aren’t my favorite. Turning in your lotion and cream containers earns you a free face mask (or something). I really like the idea of LUSH. But they are a little extreme in their views and it’s a frustrating aspect.

But there are plenty of other products out there to reduce your impact. A nearby store recently started selling shampoo, lotion, and soap in bulk. Bring your own container and reduce your footprint. The products are supposedly locally made, which is a win win for me.

If you are like me, you may need to find an exfoliant to wash off dead skin. Exfoliating your skin regularly can help your skin stay soft and fresh. A big action to take for your skin and for the planet is to make sure your exfoliant does not use plastic beads. I can’t emphasize this enough. Plastic is BAD! Use exfoliants with sand, salt, or other natural exfoliant.

Some companies will ship their natural, waste-free products to you. I’m a little cautious of getting too much shopping done online, but there are occasions I’ll try something new from a company. On rare occasions, I order from Thrive Market. They often have many health and beauty products which use sustainable ingredients and minimal waste.

So, get clean and make a difference with your health and hygiene. And make a big difference with the planet.