Pandemic Hygiene Habits We Could All Stand to Change
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have adopted a very different approach to personal hygiene. This is particularly true for those of us who have made the transition to remote work. While spending time away from the office and limiting the amount of time we spend in crowded spaces are conducive to relaxed hygiene, this doesn’t mean that personal upkeep should be regarded as a complete afterthought. So, if you’ve picked up any of the following hygiene habits over the last couple years, now would be a good time to start correcting them.
Rarely Changing Clothes
If you’re stuck at home for days on end, it’s easy to see why you might be tempted to simply keep wearing the same clothes. After all, even if they get a bit rank, it’s not as if you’re going anywhere. However, aside from cartoon characters, wearing the same clothing all day every day isn’t recommended for anyone.
For one thing, not changing clothes is often synonymous with not bathing – another unfortunate habit, which we’ll get to below. Secondly, the longer you keep the same clothes on, the more bacteria, body odor, sebum, sweat and dead skin cells are going to build up on your clothing. In addition to being incredibly unsanitary, this can prove rather uncomfortable, as the aforementioned buildup tends to cause extreme itchiness. This also leaves you susceptible to rashes, irritated skin and bacterial infections. So, even if you don’t bathe every day (and frankly, you should), make a point of changing your clothes at least once every 24 hours. You can provide yourself with an extra layer of protection against bacterial infections by investing in dependable antimicrobial underwear.
As stated above, infrequent bathing and refusal to change clothes often go hand-in-hand. Of course, since both tend to stem from not venturing out into public, this is hardly surprising. However, regardless of how long you intend to remain at home, daily bathing is a good idea for a number of reasons.
First off, it’s essential to clearing away sweat, sebum, dead skin cells and fallen hair. The longer these things are allowed to accumulate on your body, the more likely you are to develop itchiness, skin problems and bacterial infections. Then there’s the body odor issue. Keeping body odor at bay is one of the main reasons people bathe every day, and if you’ve recently sworn off daily bathing, odds are the people around you have been able to ascertain this. And if this continues long enough, you’ll soon be able to smell yourself. Even if you’re no longer going to the office or heading out into public on a daily basis, you should think of the people in your immediate orbit the next time you consider skipping a bath or shower. Just imagine sharing a bed with someone who hasn’t bathed (or possibly even changed their clothes) in days.
Neglecting Sleep Hygiene
Of course, proper hygiene isn’t limited to bathing and changing clothes, and over the last couple years, many of us have come to neglect sleep hygiene. (As the name suggests, “sleep hygiene” refers to practices that help facilitate proper slumber.) For instance, if you’ve been making your own work hours for a while, you may have come to adopt unconventional sleep habits – i.e., going to bed at inconsistent times and consistently failing to get enough sleep.
To get a handle on this, assign yourself a bedtime that allows for eight solid hours of sleep and make a point of sticking to it. For maximum effectiveness, try to maintain the same sleep schedule throughout the workweek and during vacation periods.
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has facilitated big changes in countless lives would be an understatement. Because of the threat presented by the novel coronavirus, many of us have come to reevaluate certain areas of our lives and alter our routines accordingly. While changing things up isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this doesn’t mean that every change we’ve embraced represents something positive. For example, throughout the course of the pandemic, those of us who work remotely have developed grooming habits that can generously be described as unconventional. So, if any of the behaviors discussed above sound familiar, don’t hesitate to start making the necessary changes.