If I asked you about your routine when it comes to showering, would you be able to run me through it? Our daily showers are a habit so ingrained that we usually go on autopilot. You flick on the light switch, undress, maybe look in the mirror, check a towel is present, and then switch on the shower.
But let’s take it back to that first step, where you turn on the lights. Because maybe that small habit, that obvious choice to shower in the light, is where you’re going wrong.
A viral Tiktok by Amber Eros (@erosembodied) recommends showering in the dark. Amber explains that showering in the dark increases your sensitivity, and with them your pleasure receptors. This will allow the warm water and touch of your own skin to feel even better. She goes on to say that a shower can be your opportunity to get in touch with yourself and release all of your tension.
Commenters seem to either completely agree with Amber, claiming that “dark showers are ELITE” (@jalogna), or mention that they're too scared of ghosts/spiders/demons...
So let’s see whether showering in the dark is the best thing we can do for ourselves, or a chance for Freddy Kruger to catch us out.
The advantages of a shower in the dark essentially revolve around deprivation. You’re depriving your body of seeing, and the result is that your other sense work overtime. You may notice the eucalyptus scent of your shower gel or the softness of your skin as you scrub it.
But this deprivation not only makes the experience more enjoyable, but also more beneficial. You’ll find it easier to calm your body and mind, as you have less stimulus surrounding you. You might find it a place to work through your thoughts or simply to switch them off after a long day. It can have the same impact as meditation or yoga if done correctly.
If you’re showering in the dark before bed, research shows you’ll sleep better as you’re reducing the amount of artificial light and slowing winding down your system. While not as damaging as blue light before bed, any bright light can confuse your system and keep you alert longer.
However, it’s important to note that showering in the dark can be risky. Not only because of the threat of spiders, but because you may be more accident prone. You can’t waltz into your shower like you usually would. So make sure to take things a little slower and really feel your way around. And is that such a bad thing? We lead such busy lives that maybe this push to slow down is exactly the nudge we need.
I had to try it for myself. I’ll be honest, I was a little daunted at first. Not just because the potential spider or demon lurking near me, but also because I am a ridiculously clumsy person. If there is something to bump into, I will find it. And while I get by in my daily life, showers are a whole new playing field. Slipping in a shower can be super dangerous. But my commitment to the written word meant that I had to try showering in the dark for a week.
The first shower in the dark was spent in utter fear. I was so focused on where everything was and trying to commit it to memory. I was super aware of any noises, which is difficult when you live in an old creaky house. But I also felt like my shower was warmer than usual, and I left with my skin feeling toasty.
For my second shower in the dark, I instinctively turned on the lights before realising. I had to go back and switch them off, and I couldn’t even remember having turned them on in the first place. I was a little less afraid for this shower, and I soon realised that I knew exactly where everything is. I could find my shower gel amongst the clutter of bottles with no issue. I knew exactly where to reach for my fluffy white towel. I think showering in the dark involves a lot of trust in yourself. I didn’t feel as on display as I usually would in a shower, it felt like I really relaxed my body and could focus on the warm water. It felt more like a private moment for myself.
By my fourth shower in the dark, I had reached peak comfort. I was singing songs to myself without an ounce of self-consciousness and I was thoroughly enjoying the feeling of using a scrub on my skin. And this shower was even more exciting as it was time to wash my hair. I had been a little concerned about doing my three-step haircare routine in the dark, but I was willing to give it a go. Washing my hair had always been about getting clean hair, but while showering in the dark, it became about the sensation of it. The feeling of kneading my fingers against my scalp was indescribable. I never wanted to stop lathering my hair. Washing my hair had been a bit of a chore before, a frustrating task to deal with, and now it was a treat for myself.
By the end of my week of dark showers, I was sold. Amber had it right, this is the best gift that you could give yourself. It transformed a simple task like showering or washing my hair into a moment of self-care. It granted a sense of privacy that I had never realised I was missing.
Sometimes I played music, but other times I relished the silence. I thought that showering in the dark would make it difficult to switch off my mind, but I was surprisingly calm and able to empty my thoughts. It felt like a great way to round off my day and prepare for bed. Additionally, I’m pretty sure that my hair is looking better from the extra TLC and scalp massage. And to this date, no creepy clown has emerged from the sewers to claim me, so I think even demons and spiders respect the sanctity of a shower in the dark.
Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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