Hygiene Hacks for When You’re Depressed

by | Jan 18, 2022 | Mental Health

When the symptoms of depression start to take over, one of the main sets of activities that gets pushed to the back burner is your personal hygiene. No, this doesn’t mean you’re lazy or disgusting. You’ve probably tried time and time again to do what was needed. Despite your best efforts, maintaining personal hygiene can be taxing and exhausting when living with depression.

This article will offer some helpful tips and tricks on how you can take care of your personal hygiene, even when you’re feeling down and out.

Maintaining Good Hygiene Can Be Hard

Depression is a mental health disorder that can make it difficult to function normally at work or school. Depression can drain your motivation to carry out even the most basic and brief daily tasks. Taking care of yourself by maintaining good hygiene is an example of a set of activities that often fall by the wayside during bouts of depression.

If you struggle with a depressive disorder, you may also experience these signs and symptoms:

  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
  • Enduring sadness and low mood
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Wanting to die or attempting suicide
  • Experiencing irritability or restlessness
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns

You can overcome these symptoms and take care of your teeth, hair, and skin with the following helpful tips.

What to Do About Your Teeth

As the recommendation goes, you should brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly for at least two minutes twice a day and floss at least once a day to remove dental plaque. This quick and easy task is one of the least enjoyable daily routines of them all making it easier to forget and forego. When you simply cannot muster up the energy to clean properly, try at least one of these tips:

  • floss in bed
  • use mouthwash
  • use a dry toothbrush
  • use an electric toothbrush
  • brush when you feel up to it, even if it’s not a “normal” time like morning or night
  • chew sugar-free mint gum or breath mints

What to Do About Your Hair

Some people wash their hair every day while others only need to do so once or twice per week. Whatever your hair routine is, depression can make you want to throw it out the window. You might go days without washing or combing your hair, especially if it is long or gets easily tangled. The next time you can’t deal with your locks, consider the following:

  • use dry shampoo
  • wash your hair in the sink
  • ask your partner to comb your hair
  • use a deep condition to easily detangle
  • keep long hair in braids/buns to keep tidy

What to Do About Your Skin

It can be extremely embarrassing to have to interact with people if you haven’t bathed in a while. A blow to your self-confidence during a depressive episode can be devastating and cause you to feel even worse. In order to avoid this kind of situation and get yourself fairly clean, you can do a number of things:

  • take a bath instead of a shower
  • set candles around your bathtub
  • get your partner to help clean you
  • use body wash products that smell good
  • use a shower seat to sit while showering
  • use baby wipes or a rag to clean stinky spots
  • apply clean scented deodorant and body spray
  • trick yourself into showering by getting really dirty outside
  • get a comfy robe to wear after a bath/shower and lounge around in it
  • invest in good skincare products so you’ll look forward to washing your face

Other Helpful Tips

Before, during, and after your hygiene routine, there are other things you can do that’ll keep you motivated. For example, if you are prone to being forgetful, set a reminder on your phone. Write reminders on sticky notes and post them on your door or bathroom mirror.

It may be helpful to keep a short and simple list of your tasks so you can check them off, giving you a sense of accomplishment and lifting your mood. You can also combine hygiene chores with things that are positive like playing motivational videos or listening to uplighting music.

On days when you’re barely getting by, cut down on the steps needed to get the job done. For example, keep your toothbrush in the shower or pick out your clothes from the night before. You can compromise with yourself to do smaller versions of the task (i.e. get in the shower, but don’t wash your hair), making the unthinkable totally possible!

At the End of the Day…

Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s important to practice kindness and patience with yourself. You didn’t choose to have depression; depression chose you. By making headway in small but promising steps, you will discover that you really are capable of accomplishing much more than you think.

Depression is a mental health disorder that causes a person to have intense feelings of sadness and fatigue. For some people, this condition can make it impossible to pull oneself out of bed and take a shower or complete other daily hygiene tasks. Finding ways to get at least some of them done is important for a person’s health and self-esteem. At Sober Life, our approach is to provide a strong clinical program that uses evidence-based strategies to heal our clients in individual and group settings. We treat many mental health disorders including major depressive disorder. Our mental health programs offer outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization services. If you are looking for mental health services in the San Diego area, we’re here to help. You don’t need to suffer in isolation. Reach out as soon as possible to get the support you need and deserve. Call Sober Life today: (619) 542-9542.

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