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Personal Appearance and Hygiene

Strategies for depression, anxiety, stress or anger

When your depressed, hygiene and your personal appearance are the last things you think about.

This is the last article in an eleven article series I wrote laying out a plan for those suffering from depression, anxiety, anger or stress.  To see the first article, please click HERE

When you’re in the middle of a struggle with depression, anxiety, stress or anger the last thing you care about is how you look.  Personal hygiene also tends to take a back seat when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  It’s often that we take for granted the little things we used to do in our lives like brushing our teeth, bathing, putting on deodorant, shaving, dressing well, etc.  Remembering to keep up with your grooming can help play a positive role in your symptoms.

As we have learned in previous articles, the importance of taking care of your body is paramount.  Just like a car, years of neglect can shorten its lifespan and make driving stressful.  Maintaining your vehicle and its appearance by proper washing and waxing can give you many more years of stress-free use.  So to, do we need to take care of our bodies.

Maybe you don’t bath as often as you used to.  It’s easy to do when you just don’t feel like doing anything.  Maybe you stopped brushing your teeth and, if you’re a guy, shaving.  You then notice that your co-workers treat you different than normal and maybe your boss sees your appearance and thinks you’re a slacker, causing him to jump on your case and increase your stress even more.  Obviously, this isn’t going to help your battle with anxiety, depression, anger or stress.  Remembering to take care of your appearance can help boost they way you feel about yourself as well.  If you dress well, you’ll feel well.

Here are some suggestions I recommend:

1.       Set aside time each day to do your grooming and hygiene.  Make sure that it’s enough time so you don’t feel rushed or forced into skipping some things.

2.       Have time to pick out what you’re going to wear that is appropriate, and professional, if you’re in a business environment.

3.       Try to have some fun with it and learn to spoil yourself a little.  If you’re a guy, try out some nice cologne or deodorant.  Splurge a little and get a nice electric toothbrush.  Guys usually like gadgets.  Gadgets can make doing a previously boring, or negative, activity a more enjoyable one.  Look into buying a safety razor and using a badger hair brush with a mug of soap or shaving cream.  If you’re a woman, splurge a little and try out the high end skin treatments, conditioners, shampoos, or other products.  Learn how to make, or just buy, some bath salts, or bubble bath and take a regular dip in the bath.  Place some candles around the bath and bring your favorite beverage to sip on while you relax.

4.       Don’t stress about not having the perfect dress or not knowing “how” to dress.  Just do your best and let common sense be the rule here.  Meaning, “should I really wear shorts and flip-flops to work?” or, “Is wearing a T-shirt and jeans to a Wedding a good idea?” or, “Is wearing that pair of pants, or shirt, that I haven’t washed in weeks a smart thing to do?”

5.       Create a routine and stick to it.  If you set aside an hour each morning before work, make sure to keep it around the same time each day.  Your body loves getting into routines and your depression, anxiety, stress or anger will reflect that.  Lack of routine, and constant change, can create stress.  When you’re already in a vulnerable state, you do not need additional stress.  Creating a routine, and knowing what to expect, can help you relax more.

In the end, just make sure you’re hitting all the basics: brush your teeth, use deodorant, wash your clothes regularly, get a haircut, shave, dress appropriately.  If you want to go a little further, learn to pamper or spoil yourself: buy a new grooming gadget, use bath salts, create a relaxing atmosphere with music and lighting.  This might seem overly simplistic, but one of the best indicators of depression, anxiety, stress or anger is in your physical appearance and whether you’re taking care of your body or not.  Learning to take care of yourself is especially important when we start tying together my previous articles.  It’s just another piece of the puzzle towards learning to manage your symptoms and maybe finding a little hope or happiness along the way.

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5 comments

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  1. Rita Berry

    Depression can spiral out of control and lead to the neglect of personal care and hygiene. I like the suggestion of creating a daily routine for personal care. Great article!

  2. Eraine

    Taking care of your teeth at home can help you maintain your dental health and prevent periodontal, or gum, disease from developing. My advice is to brush thoroughly, at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before going to bed.Be sure to floss at least once a day. I do it after every meal when I can.

  3. Georgina

    Great article. It’s funny how such seemingly small actions can really give your self esteem a boost. It feels good to take care of yourself and to rack up these small accomplishments day by day. If you can begin to take action and see progress with these things, soon you may be able to take action on other suggestions too and voila: the uphill climb has begun.

  4. Amadi blessing

    Waoo what an article , is interesting , honestly some people don’t like taking care of themselves , just like they say , dress well and feel well.

  5. Amanda

    I’m dealing with this right now. Am trying to get a brush through my neglected hair….looks like scissors are gonna be needed.

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