Shhhh. I know it’s embarrassing. You don’t understand it. You pray no one else notices. You know? The smell; the stink of not showering. Of course you know keeping yourself clean and well groomed is healthy and socially acceptable. Anything less, is…well…not.
What the heck is going on then? Maybe you’re at one of those ages when a lot of people have a hard time with personal hygiene. Yes, there are times in our lives when it is harder for us and for lots of different reasons.
Surprise, you’re a tween. You’ve always showered but Mom is always nagging you about it now. Why are you resisting? It was never a big deal before.
Maybe you’re a new Mom. Oh boy. I remember those days. I felt so accomplished if I actually showered and put on a t-shirt that wasn’t covered in baby spit-up. New Mom’s have a great excuse. But, it doesn’t make you feel any better. In fact, you feel kind of gross.
You could be in your “golden years” and gosh darn it, you’re tired! You have every right to be. After all, you’ve spent years taking care of everyone else.
Or, you have a physical condition that makes it hard to shower. Maybe you struggle with fine motor skills.
Maybe you have ADHD and that makes it even harder.
I get it. You’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? Just shower.” Showering is a common self-care act. But common does not mean easy for those who struggle in other parts of their life with time, organization, motivation, memory, activation, and action.
So don’t beat yourself up or anyone else. Instead, you can coach yourself or someone else to figuring out what’s getting in the way of showering and what to do about it.
6 Reasons You Avoid Showering
1. Sensory Issues
Temperature – too hot or cold. You all know the dreaded moment when you have to turn off the water and all you want to do is collapse in a ball on the floor, wrapped in your towel. The second you open your shower door/curtain and that first gust of air hits your face, it’s HORRIBLE.
Shower Curtain – That icky sticky plastic that sticks to you at various times during your shower. This is my sensory issue. So no shower curtain in my house.
Water – You simply don’t like to be wet. The force of or lack of force, of water bouncing off you, into your eyes, clogging your ears is enough to make you mad. You can’t stand the feel of your long wet hair on your bareback.
Soap – It feels greasy to you. It smells not bad, but not like what you want to smell like.
2. Negative Body Image:
Getting undressed you don’t ever look down at your naked self. Showering just reminds you how much you don’t like your body.
Getting dressed is the biggest physical and mental challenge of all. You want to figure out the best way to maneuver dressing yourself while never taking your towel off. The key here is to remain as covered as possible for however long you can. You avoid all mirrors because you can’t even think about seeing yourself naked.
3. Too many steps.
Showering is only one part of your personal hygiene. You do all this and you still haven’t brushed your teeth or hair, clipped your nails or plucked whatever needs plucking. This is shower overwhelm; wash hair, condition hair, wash body, shave, dry hair, dry body, get dressed.
You have to figure out when to shower. This is hard when showering gets in the way of everything, from our gym routines, to our weekend activities.
Hurry Up! Don’t you love when you finally can’t stand yourself anymore and you get in the shower someone is pounding on the door telling you to hurry up? Sheesh.
You think you are procrastinating about showering. But what if, by not showering it is allowing you to put off something else…like starting your day at all?
6. You don’t feel safe or confident.
This can be sparked by having difficulty with fine motor skills. You could have an injury or condition that makes it hard for you to reach, scrub, even stay balanced.
Here are some coaching questions you can ask someone you care about or ask yourself to uncover what is getting in the way of showering.
- What is important about showering?
- What are the risks of not showering?
- What are things you like about showering?
- What are things you don’t like about showering?
- What annoys you when you shower?
- What are you avoiding?
- What do you think you’re secretly afraid of, that’s getting in your way of showering?
- Describe what it feels like when you are showering. Talk about temperature, soap and tools, lighting, sounds.
- List the steps you take when showering.
- Which of these steps can you do at another time without showering?(washing your hair, shaving).
- Describe YOUR perfect shower. What do you do in the shower? How long is your shower? What sounds do you hear? What do you feel on your skin? What is your state of mind – relaxed?
Then ask problem-solving questions like:
- What could you do differently to make showering more enjoyable? (Listening to music)
- When is your best time to shower?
- What ideas do you have to solve the problems you identified above? (get rid of shower curtain, wear shower cap to keep hair dry, buy fragrant free soap, get a new shower head to change the water pressure, install safety bars, tell someone nearby when you’re showering in case you need help.)
- What do want to feel like after you shower?
Put your ideas into action.
Need help? Ask someone! You’re self-care is the most important thing you can do for youself and those who care about you!