When Taking Care of Hygiene Seems Impossible

self-care

If the acts of having a shower, brushing your teeth or washing your face seem extra daunting, draining or just outright impossible sometimes, you are not alone.

There are no magic fixes, but here are some tips that might be useful to you. 

Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth may seem like it will take far more energy than you can even imagine having in the moment! And that’s so valid. The thing to remember is that it is usually better to ditch the regular “rules” and do what is manageable than to just do nothing. Some things that help me:

  • Keeping a toothbrush and toothpaste in the shower. I find it so much easier to brush my teeth while I’m already in the shower with the water running. 
  • Brushing for 30 seconds is better than for no time at all! You don’t have to do the entire two minutes. When I’m not able to brush for two minutes, I just start by brushing at all and seeing how long I can manage. 
  • If you can afford it, an electric toothbrush can help. 
  • You can brush your teeth with water! No, really. It does more for your teeth than not brushing at all. Dampen your toothbrush with a bit of water and brush your teeth if you think you can do that!
  • For those who don’t like flossing, the disposable floss sticks might help! You don’t need to measure out the floss and twist it like you do the regular floss. 
  • If you have someone at home willing to help you, you can get their assistance! For some people, the act of getting the toothbrush ready is the exhausting part, maybe there's someone that will do all the before steps for you and then just put the toothbrush into your hand so you can just focus on brushing. 

Having a Shower

I don’t know about you, but having a shower is the most daunting task there is for me. It is so exhausting to even think about. Here are some ideas to make it easier. 

Prepare for the After

For me, it’s what happens after the shower that is draining. It makes it a bit easier for me to get my clothes ready, have my towel laid out, and anything else I need. 

Have Products you Love 

There are so many different scented soaps, body washes, shampoos and other products for the bath and shower these days. I have found that my favourite smelling body wash is so nice, and there’s a part of me that wants to shower just to use it. 

Don’t Focus on Washing Yourself. 

This sounds weird, but hear me out a bit. Focusing on it as a task we have to do may make it more exhausting. It might sound silly, but for me, I imagine the shower is a waterfall or rain that is “washing away” some of my bad thoughts, feelings and helping me lighten the load. I focus on turning it into a calm experience. 

You can also just focus on standing in the water, and not actually washing yourself. It will clean you more than not showering at all, and is likely to help you feel more clean!

If Showering is Made More Difficult By Physical Issues

Some of us find chronic pain, issues with flexibility or other physical limitations can make showering difficult. This might be because it is hard to stay standing long enough for a full shower or because you have a hard time reaching certain parts of your body, just to name two of the many possible issues you might have. 

If this is the case, there are a lot of potential aids and tools that might help you. For instance, shower stools are a really great tool. Sitting may seem less painful and less draining than standing.  Long-handled shower brushes also exist and can help if you struggle with flexibility. A detachable shower head may be more accessible for you to use if you don’t have one already. 

Washing your Face

Some of us have a detailed facial care routine. These sorts of routines may include several products specifically made for cleaning the face or a whole process for moisturising. We may believe these routines are absolutely necessary to keep our faces healthy. These can seem even more necessary and become even more intense if we regularly wear makeup.

While these routines may be very good for our skin, they also may seem draining and daunting, especially on mornings when we feel like we barely have the energy to get out of bed or nights when we aren’t sure how we’re still awake.

If you don’t have the energy for your full facial care routine, that’s okay. If you can figure out a few steps that are the most important and seem more doable for you, try limiting yourself to those on your low-energy days. If even that seems like too much, it’s okay to drop the process completely and just wash your face with a cleanser and a cloth, or even just water. There are also pre-done facial wipes that you can quickly use to cleanse your face. 

Doing something is better than doing nothing, and you might be surprised by how it helps you feel cleaner and better to just splash water on your face, even without doing anything more.

(Also, it's completely valid to just take a damp cloth to wipe your face. You'd be amazed at how much that can help!) 

Tips for All of the Above

Seek Support

For me, sometimes I call a friend and stay on the phone with them until I actually get in the shower. This can help in the “pre shower” ritual and make it seem less intimidating. I have also kept a friend on the phone while I brushed my teeth and washed my face. 

An alternative is that sometimes I find a friend who also finds the act of showering or brushing their teeth super draining, and we make a pact to do it at the same time and then we text each other when it’s time and both go do what we need to do. We then come back and text each other and tell each other “good job!” This works like an accountability buddy and it makes me feel more motivated and less lonely. 

Play Some Music

I find that playing music helps, especially if it’s music that makes me feel a bit pumped up. Something with a good beat might work well to time with brushing of your teeth or wiping of your face. There are bluetooth speakers and headphones that are shower friendly as well!

Focus on One Step at a Time

I find the whole idea of showering and/or brushing my teeth exhausting. There are so many steps to showering, such as getting undressed, getting the water on, washing my hair, and so on... I find that sometimes it can help to just focus on one step at a time and not the whole picture. What do I need to do first? For me, I need to turn the water on because it takes a few minutes to heat up. So I’ll focus on one thing at that moment, just turning the water on. That’s all I have to do. And then I go from there and see if I can work my way through the steps without looking at the “big” picture.

Alternatives to Help Feel Clean

Some days, we just can’t do it. And that’s okay! Here are some alternatives to help you feel clean:

  • Wash your face
  • Brush your hair
  • Use dry shampoo
  • Use body lotion
  • Change your clothes
  • Get some baby wipes or other wipes to use
  • Have a bath! (You can use a bath bomb, bubble bath, or something similar to make it feel pampering instead of like a task. When taking a bath it is much easier to put on an audio book, or even a show to keep you occupied).
  • Use some mouth wash 

Remember that not being able to take care of your hygiene does not affect your worth! You are still worthy, even when you aren’t able to do the things you need/want to do. 

If you have any tips, please feel free to share in the comments!


  • Stardust on

    For me, I always find it much easier to get started with these things if someone tells me to do it. Not alarms – it has to be a real person. Unfortunately, I’m a bit to stubborn for my own good and rarely ask for the help I need, but I hope this can help others.


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