October 25, 2021 3 min read
As you may already know, Wise swears by the intimate relationship between mental health and self care as being the foundation to a balanced lifestyle. This has been tapped into here (Healthy Body, Healthy Mind) and there (The Power of Gratitude) as well as a few other articles in our blog section, although it remains so embedded in our brand’s philosophy that we insist on continuing to advocate for its importance. In fact, there is this misconception still lingering around in people’s mentalities in which they don’t intuitively connect physical and mental hygiene, leading all too often to stigmatization and judgement. Personal care/grooming routines (or lack thereof) can actually be symptomatic of a mental illness such as clinical depression, but can on the flip side be one of the tools to backpedal in your favor the sequels of such mental illness.
It is important first to understand the basic physiological events happening in our brain that may lead to poor hygiene when struggling with depression. This has all to do with the changes in production of neurotransmitters responsible for energy level management such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These changes can be triggered by, amongst other causes, a prolonged higher stress level for at least 2 weeks or more, and will directly impact your brain chemistry and the way you handle your daily life. Some basic tasks that are taken for granted for some people can be considered a colossal amount of effort to deploy for others because of the newly acquired fatigue. That’s when you risk entering a never ending loop. Disturbed brain chemistry is settled and depression fatigue blurs the lines of self worth, motivation and willpower for even the simplest things. Depression can be exponentially cumulative, and every second that you don’t put a stop to the loop is a second of more blur and confusion seeping through the mess. What is interesting now is how to make the first step into “putting a stop” to everything, and how to reverse engineer the negative pattern.
Have you ever heard of the saying that goes along the lines of “turning weaknesses into strengths?” Well, a simple approach to make the first step towards healing can be something that your depression made you struggle with, such as hygiene. For instance, setting easy “one-step” goals like making your bed in the morning, or helping yourself to a glass of water first thing’s first can send the message to your brain that you started your day with a 'win'. Like many aspects of life, the concept of a MVP (minimum viable practice) is very useful., i.e. what are the essential steps that one can accomplish with confidence, versus a whole list of practices we often can't manage when unwell. Remember: depression can be cumulative, so reversing the system has to imply gradually accumulating these little wins over time. These MVPs develop into routines when you add slowly but steadily other steps into them. The sensation of accomplishment when fulfilling those tasks comes from the fact that you are “showing up for yourself” which then reverses fixedly the aching low self worth you were experiencing. Because you are worth showing up for! Naturally, we are aware that there is a wide spectrum of mental health issues, causes, and intensity levels. Hygiene is but one of many signs related to mental health, and constitutes only one of the many tools we have to help balance out our psychological state. A healthy lifestyle, psychotherapy, and medication when warranted are also essential pillars of getting better mentally.
All things considered, the process still remains the total opposite of a smooth ride, and of course is easier said than done. But as a personal care brand, Wise understands quite specifically the benefits versus effort our hygiene routine has on our psyche. Knowing that we can possibly provide even the smallest missing piece of the puzzle towards self worth definitely gives us the drive to keep showing up for ourselves, and for the Wise family.
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