The Mental Health-Hygiene Connection

The Mental Health-Hygiene Connection

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A review article by

Dr Sunil Kumar  Feel Free to Connet on Linkedin 

When grappling with mental health issues such as depression or bipolar disorder, maintaining proper hygiene can be an uphill battle. For some, depression can erode daily routines, making even simple tasks like showering and brushing teeth seem daunting. On the other hand, anxiety and OCD might lead to an obsessive focus on cleanliness. But what does hygiene truly signify in the realm of mental health? How crucial is it to establish regular physical hygiene check-ups with ourselves? And most importantly, how can we strike a harmonious balance with hygiene in our lives? Let’s delve into this intricate interplay.

The significance of hygiene varies for each individual. Depression can disrupt daily rituals, whereas OCD might heighten sensitivity to feeling “dirty.” Engaging in regular hygiene practices not only fosters a sense of normalcy and motivation but also acts as a defense against the physical ailments and setbacks often associated with mental health struggles.

Consider this: specific medications can lead to dry mouth, increasing the risk of dental problems like oral infections. Thus, maintaining physical health is as vital as adhering to medication schedules or attending therapy sessions. However, excessive brushing can also harm tooth enamel, exacerbating similar issues.

Moreover, there exists a stigma surrounding hygiene and its connection to mental health. Many individuals find it difficult to admit their struggles with daily tasks like showering due to embarrassment. Yet, rest assured, there are countless others facing the same predicament.

Here are some innovative strategies to motivate yourself to embrace daily hygiene practices, whether it’s taking a shower or brushing your teeth:

  1. Set up a reward system: Establish a goal to brush your teeth twice daily. Reward yourself with a small indulgence, like reading your favorite book or playing a video game, for every successful day.
  2. Create a shower playlist: Compile a playlist of your favorite upbeat songs that inspire you to face the day. The prospect of enjoying your favorite tunes might be the motivation needed to step into the shower.
  3. Plan your outfit in advance: Select an outfit you’re excited to wear the night before and lay it out in your room. This simple act of organization can make the morning routine easier and boost your mood as you wear your favorite clothes.
  4. Opt for a relaxing bath: If standing in the shower feels overwhelming, unwind with a bath instead. Not only do you get clean, but you can also enjoy aromatherapy by adding essential oils or soaps.
  5. Invest in “luxury” products: Treat yourself to high-quality hygiene products from upscale stores. The allure of using your favorite scents and scrubs can be a powerful motivator. Splurging occasionally on these indulgences can help you maintain your hygiene routine.

Maintaining proper hygiene while dealing with mental illness is undeniably challenging. Disorders like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression can turn simple tasks into daunting endeavors. If you find yourself struggling with daily activities due to a mental health issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to your therapist. Remember, there are countless ways to motivate yourself; you just need to discover the right approach tailored to your unique needs and preferences.

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