Anonymous asked realsocialskills:do you have any tips on personal hygiene/showers for someone with both chronic pain/mobility issues and severe depression? often i shower the very least i can and still get away with it, it’s disgusting how long i’ve gone without showers just spotwashing in the sink and applying deodorant etc. i don’t understand what makes showers appealing to other people. all they do is put me in pain and take an immense amount of energy out of my day. this might be out of the reach of your blog though, sorry.realsocialskills said:I’m posting this mostly because I think many of y’all probably have advice on this.A couple of things I can think of to suggest:Is your soap hurting you?
- For some people, certain kinds of soap and shampoo hurt
- If you find showering painful and you’ve only tried one kind of soap, it might be worth trying another kind.
Is showering exhausting because standing is painful?
- If so, using a shower chair might help
- Or, if you have a tub, maybe sitting in the tub and using one of those flexible shower heads would work?
I don’t really know. Have any of y’all found solutions that make showering work for you, or that allow you to be clean without showering?
Convincing myself to get naked is key. I have to decide that I’m going to take the step beyond sponge baths and sink-washing my hair, and actually get IN the shower.
I convince myself I’m only going to stay in for 5 minutes to rinse off my body and shampoo my hair. It sometimes takes a little internal arguing, but I almost always agree that five minutes is doable.
Once I’ve decided to fully undress, I do prep work ahead of time to a) make the shower more appealing, and b) to make the recovery period after the shower easier.
I set up a mini set of speakers in the bathroom, with a playlist of my current favorite songs. I set out easy to wear, comfortable clothes. I sometimes even prep a snack ahead of time for after.
In the shower:
I use a bench, and sit as much as possible.
I start with shampoo, because that’s usually the thing that helps me feel cleanest, and I can get my body fairly clean without an actual shower.
I use my arms as little as possible. I only apply shampoo to my roots and rub it in at the top, the act of rinsing actually pulls the shampoo through and cleans the rest of my long hair. While rinsing, I just sit there. I let the running water do the work. After two minutes or so I may rub the water through a bit to make sure it has rinsed clean.
Then I continue sitting and use a loofah sponge with a handle (purchased at the dollar store) to apply soap to my body.
I usually stand up to rinse off my body (using attached grab bars I bought at Walgreens), but you could remain seated and use a detachable shower head to rinse.
That’s the end of my quick shower, which is almost always less than five minutes. Often, once I’m in I decide to just stay and shave, deep condition my hair, etc. But if I’m not feeling up to it, this routine works well.
After the shower:
I apply a small amount of coconut oil or conditioner to my hair and leave it in.
I usually lie down and rest in my towel for a while, then I get dressed, eat my snack, and practice some self care to reward myself for completing that difficult task!
A few other things to mention:
You can get a shower chair (to borrow and see if it helps) through your local Independent Living Center. The National Council on Independent Living website (nicl.org) lists locations in the US. I’m not sure of the names internationally, but I know similar organizations exist. There are also often shower benches at thrift stores.
An IL center could also possibly help you get grab bars as well.
If you overheat easily, or have an illness like POTS, it may be helpful to take a cold water bottle into the shower, and/or crack open the shower curtain.
I prefer to have my legs clean-shaven, but sometimes I can’t stay in the shower long enough to complete the task. So I will use a foot-spa (you could even just use a bowl of warm water): I sit on the couch, put a towel on the floor, wet my legs with a wash cloth and warm water, exfoliate with a loofah, then rub on coconut oil, shave, and rinse with a washcloth.
Hope that is helpful! :)