Mental illness, including depression, can be overwhelming. It can work its way into many parts of one’s life. It can even affect seemingly simple tasks, like brushing your teeth or showering. And personal hygiene is often a difficult topic to discuss to begin with, compounding the struggle.

To be specific, the definition of hygiene, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a science of the establishment and maintenance of health” or “conditions or practices (as of cleanliness) conducive to health.”

Depression often causes hopelessness, apathy, lack of motivation and low energy, which can really make it hard to take care of everyday tasks, including maintaining personal hygiene.

This is by no means a rare occurrence, although staying clean and groomed is not often incorporated into lists of symptom or treatment guidelines.

But there are things you can do to make staying clean and hygienic less of a challenge. And keep in mind that it can often help take small steps or do what you can as opposed to trying to do it all.  Such small steps for staying clean include:

  • keeping the shower or bath short,
  • not necessarily shampooing your hair each time you shower or bathe,
  • preparing your clothing for after the shower to make the process simpler,
  • asking someone to help you in the showering process, or just be around for support. For example, they could run the bath or even brush your hair for you,
  • and giving yourself a reward when you’re done, like a call with someone who makes you laugh or watching a segment of your favorite show.

And, of course, people who are experiencing feelings of depression should always consult their physician to make sure they’re getting the best care possible.

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