Like my post about cleaning with depression, this is kind of an embarrassing topic to write about. But I think it’s important because I don’t think people talk about it enough in the depression community! I’ll just come right out and say it – sometimes I don’t shower for a week. I haven’t brushed my hair out fully (just the very top layer, and I have extremely thick hair) for months. I only brush my teeth every few days half the time. But I have been dealing with depression since I was little, and I think I know a thing or two about getting through the day without smelling weird even when I haven’t showered (although, of course, that’s the goal). Here are some tips on accomplishing personal hygiene with depression.
1. Do the least amount you can handle
It’s difficult to get up the courage to take a whole shower or brush your teeth for two full minutes. What you should do instead is half-ass it – yep, I said it. It’s better to wash just your face than not to wash anything at all, and it’s better to brush out the top of your hair than not brush it at all. I only wash my hair once a week so it doesn’t dry out (and also because I hate washing my hair). I usually brush my teeth for about a minute as many days as I can. I really don’t want to hear my results next time I go to the dentist, but I know they’re better than if I didn’t brush them at all.
2. Make it fun
I absolutely love giving myself facials. It’s usually an encouragement to get in the shower even when I don’t want to. I use the St. Ive’s apricot scrub, then this cleanser, and then usually a face mask (just bought this one to try). By the way, the scrub is definitely controlling my acne – I’ve had two tiny pimples since I started showering every other day rather than whenever I got around to it. I do a facial every time I shower. If you can find something fun about showering or brushing your teeth (even if it’s a special reward you get to do whenever you finish it), it makes it a lot easier to get it done. You could even get flavored toothpaste that tastes good (like the kind made to get kids to brush their teeth – who cares if it’s for kids!)
3. Do a little each day
It’s a lot less overwhelming to brush your teeth one day, take a shower another day, and brush your hair a third day instead of trying to do all three at once (although that is the goal in general 😉 ). The best way to accomplish this is just to do the smallest amount possible. I saw on this article about how to create habits (very good read, but VERY long) the idea of doing the smallest thing you can realistically accomplish – like brushing just one tooth every day. It sounds silly, but it can actually work really well. My goal right now is to wash my face every day, and then I can move up to the rest of my face routine, then taking a shower each day. I’m not sure how long it will take before I’m at that stage, but for the time being I’m doing a little bit every day.
Do you guys have any tips on personal hygiene when you have depression?