The cloud's silver liningThis is the fourth and final article in my series on cleanliness.  In this piece, I’ll be focusing on the severe effects depression can have on a one’s personal hygiene and how to overcome them.

19 million people in America alone suffer from depression in America alone.  My theory is the phrase, “My get up and go got up and went.” was first spoken by a depressed person trying their hardest to make light of their situation. Depression is a medical condition.  Nothing in this article is meant to nor can it be used to diagnose or treat the condition.  This is simply a blog post from my own life experiences with techniques that have worked for me.

Well, first thing’s first.  The worst part, I’ve noticed about depression is the bone-deep fatigue.  The best way I could describe to people was that it felt like my soul was tired. I know that with this sort of marrow-deep fatigue, getting out of bed feels pointless and impossible.  Just taking a shower can feel like a heavy-duty chore. I remember being so tired that I’d get so tired and get out of the shower only to realize that I only shaved one leg.  That was quite a bother.  In my depression, I felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day and not enough energy to do the daily tasks of taking care of myself AND my home AND my job.  It was a fight just to accomplish going to work and performing well and still taking care of myself.  It wasn’t until I was on my own with no one to lean on but myself, that I began to contemplate how I could fight through the depression to accomplish those small tasks. And these are some of the techniques I’ve come up with and still use to this day:

  1. Break up your “shower tasks”
    Take two short showers a day rather than one long one.  For example: if you wash your hair in the morning, shave your legs at night or vise versa.  If you shave your legs in the morning, shave your underarms at night or vise versa.  This way, you can finish your shower before reaching the exhaustion point.

2.  Cool it down.  If you find yourself having to dig deep for the strength to get out of bed in the morning, turn shower on cold and stand under it until you wake up.  Then warm it up and proceed with your morning shower.  Then to rinse off, cool it back down.  This is not only good for waking you up by shocking your system, it’s also very good for the skin and hair.

3.  Brush your teeth in the shower.  I know it sounds odd, but I remember feeling so tired bending over the sink and rinsing my mouth cupping my hands under the faucet.  I also found myself rushed in the mornings from hitting the snooze button too many times.  That’s why I started doing this in the mornings.  Something about leaning my head back and taking in the water to rinse from above rather than below, was uplifting.  It puts me in mind of every movie I’ve ever seen where it would start raining on the character and they’re automatic reaction was always to lift their faces and let the rain just wash over them.  And the look of pure joy on their faces was
enough to make me want to imitate it.  Seriously, try it and think of this video.

4.  Don’t forget to brush your teeth.  In my experience, I’ve never felt clean if my mouth wasn’t.  And that just added to my depression because being clean was one of the main things that helped lift my spirits.  And that just comes down to what I discussed in an earlier post, that we as humans automatically, feel better and more at peace when our bodies and surroundings are clean.  So, don’t neglect your insides, including your mouth.

These are just the smallest simple things that can help you keep yourself clean and win the cleanliness battle against depression.  I hope you found these tips helpful and I would love to hear your thoughts.  If you have any techniques of your own, I’d love to hear them, maybe if there are enough responses, I’ll use some of them in a later post.