Poor Hygiene and Mental Health – 10 Tips to Cope

Poor Hygiene

Anyone suffering from any kind of mental health disorder might know that there is an unforgiving cycle linked to poor hygiene.

Someone feels rundown or just plain horrible because of what they’re going through and that makes it hard to function for even simple things – like taking care of yourself. In turn, the decline of our cleanliness can trigger more negative feelings that end up in a nasty downward cycle that can sometimes feel impossible to break free from.

Here are some simple tips that might help someone cope with this side effect of poor hygiene. We’ll start with a few big ideas…

1. Poor Hygiene – Understand Your Situation

The first thing is to know exactly what you’re going through. We will get to the nitty-gritty hacks soon. However, it’s important to understand that if you were in bed with pneumonia or an even more serious illness that it would be understandable that you would have a hard time taking care of yourself. So why not the same understanding with the same lows that comes with mental illnesses?

It can help to imagine the body is in low-battery mode, and you only have enough energy to maybe deal with life’s more demanding things. This can be anything from a job to family etc. By the time all this is done. The battery is drained and there is nothing more you can do.  Even the simplest tasks end up seeming impossible.

2. Practice Forgiveness

First, you are not lazy, and you are not dirty. Period. Society still puts an unfair, heavy stigma on mental illness and there will be people who say “It’s just brushing your teeth. It’s not that hard.”

But, in truth, if you were in bed with cancer, that same person wouldn’t be saying the same thing. Still, what we need to remember the most is that we can’t control the rest of the world. The only thing we can do is control ourselves.

We need to practice self-forgiveness. Things like depression and anxiety are real struggles. It’s easier said than done to “don’t be so hard on yourself” but it’s good to learn how. This can be done with the help of a professional therapist if needs be.

3. Simple “Baths”

These are also known as sink baths or wipe-downs. Essentially, we are just cleaning the “important parts” with a wet cloth. Like starting with the face and working our way down.

Wet/baby wipes are also useful if showering feels like climbing Mt. Everest, but we haven’t bathed, or clothes aren’t handy. And why not? If they’re good enough for the kiddos, then they’re good enough for the big kiddos. Sitting in front of a fan to dry off can also feel refreshing.

4. Use Dry Shampoo

If hair starts to look greasy and the scalp starts to itch, spray on some dry shampoo. That’s what it’s meant for, so make the best of it. It’s not a solution forever (you’ll eventually get intense product build-up) but it will tide you over until you have enough energy for a proper wash.

5. Get A Shower Stool

Speaking of washing. Maybe you do want to slip in the tub but standing is just too much. Someone can literally be that tired when mental health energy-lows strike. You can buy a shower-safe stool and sit down while washing. It can make a huge difference.

6. For The Mouth

Brushing our teeth is important. Bad oral health can lead to a lot of problems. One hack can be to brush our teeth while sitting in the shower. Or get some good mouth wash to rinse in the morning if that’s all the body can handle. Don’t forget breath mints and gum if you have to be around people and you’re self-conscious.

If you can, invest in a good electric toothbrush – it feels like less energy to clean the teeth and for a much better result.

poor hygiene
Get stuff that smells wonderful

7. Wear Easy Clothes

Don’t bother with materials that need extra attention. Have a set rotation of clothes that can all be tossed in the washer at once. And, if possible, use items that can be matched with anything, so you don’t have to think as much. Buy a stain remover too. Just squirt it on and let it rest then toss everything in at once.

However, cleaning clothes can often be at the top of the list of “things that feel impossible to do.” In that case, make sure you own a lot of underwear so you stay hygienic down there. Change out of your good clothes as soon as you get home and wear your “tired” clothes inside.

With bedding, stay away from elaborate setups. Just toss on the fitted sheet and the rest of the layers. And don’t worry about folding. As long as it’s clean when it goes on, that’s the most important part. Who cares if it’s wrinkled. It’s going to get mussed when you sleep in it anyways.

Also, get a bottle of Febreze or similar spray for your fabrics.

8. Have Nice Scents

Things like lavender are great for relaxing. However, buying hygiene products with smells you love can make you want to get clean. It might cost a tad more, but when it comes to the mind, it’s money well spent.

9. Don’t Overload

Manage your expectations. Don’t expect to change your bedding and have a bath all in one day. Try to scatter things out throughout the week. This helps your energy levels. And yes, you might end up not brushing your teeth every day, but it’s better than not at all.

10. Ask for Help

It can be intimidating or embarrassing to ask for help. We feel bad for imposing our problems on others. But, if people really care about us, then having them fill up a bathtub or asking them to brush our hair shouldn’t be a big deal. Or changing the bedding etc. Sometimes having that burst of clean without the drain on our bodies can lead to the desire to try and do someone on our own.

Poor Hygiene – Final Thoughts

Again, it might be tempting to use energy levels to get as much done as possible. If you feel you have extra to spare, give it a try. But as soon as you feel yourself fading, stop. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve accomplished. Even if it’s just washing our hair.

Remember – progress not perfection.

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