With the complete re-opening of New York happening quicker than I can blink, you would think that I would be excited to create more memorable NYC summer memories. Warm summer nights with my friends on a rooftop, hours spent on the beach under the sun, day trips to Storm King, it all sound good, right? But the truth is that it’s all very daunting and I think a lot of us are feeling some type of way of reintegrating back into socializing with one another again and becoming a functioning person in society.
We spent over a year indoors, becoming accustomed to seeing half of people’s faces, struggling with the reality of possibly losing love ones, and spiraling into mental illness and eating disorders. It’s been a rough ride to say the very least. It’s bold of us to assume that this transition will be easy.
Despite the energy in New York being nothing short of immaculate the past month or so, I’ve found myself frequently slipping in and out of depressive episodes. While I used to struggle a lot with these fleeting (but still upsettingly frustrating) episodes, I’ve learned how to identify patterns and have learned how to manage them a lot better than before. Generally speaking, the main hurdle to overcome is taking care of your hygiene. While it was easier to justify and hide when we were in quarantine, it might be a little more difficult now that we are expected to socialize with people again.
By the way, there’s absolutely no shame in struggling with your hygiene when you are experiencing a depressive episode or when you find yourself in the depths of depression. When you are in those mental trenches, every brain cell and every muscle in your body is fighting like hell to keep you, at the bare minimum, alive. Not alive AND well, literally just alive. So let’s talk about some things to keep you slightly above bare minimum and keep you feeling a little fresher while you are riding out the depression.
1. Floss picks and mouthwash
Floss picks and mouthwash are essential. Among many people struggling with depression, showering and brushing teeth are two of the most mentally exhausting tasks to do. Unfortunately, dental health is extremely important and needs to be met to some degree. Floss picks (not regular floss) helps get all the food from out of the pockets in your gums (honestly, gum health is the key to teeth health). I am specifying floss picks because the picks provide a lot of ease and less effort than traditional floss string. The less effort, the more likely you are to do it on the daily!
As for mouthwash, mouthwash not only provides you with the fluoride you need to protect your teeth but will also freshen your breath, allowing you the satisfaction of that clean feeling without the mental workout of actually having to brush your teeth.
2. Dry shampoo and hair brush
Again, there’s nothing more mentally exhausting than taking a shower when you’re depressed. I get exhausted pretty easily and this one really takes the cake. Dry shampoo and brushing my hair have made all the difference for me, I’m not kidding. The reason that these two need to be paired together is because having dry shampoo in your hair and not distributing it evenly in your hair makes your hair feel so disgusting. I would argue that it makes it feel worse than when it’s oily.
If you are really going through it and find yourself not taking a shower for weeks at a time, I suggest only using dry shampoo 1-2 times a week max. You also want to make sure that if you’re using it that frequently that you find a lighter formula so that you minimize excessive build-up in your hair. Brushing your hair everyday not only evenly distribute your natural scalp oils and dry shampoo through your hair, but it also helps prevent tangles which can accumulate a lot faster than you think, especially when you are in bed all day.
3. A nice room spray
There’s something about my room smelling good that instantly gives me a boost of dopamine. When I am not experiencing a depressive episode and my entire space is freshly cleaned and everything is in order, I always finish off a long day’s work with a few spritzes of my favorite room spray. It just ties everything together and really sets a calming vibe to my room. Maybe I’m conditioned to feel calmer when I spray the room freshener, but nonetheless, I’m always down for happy feels when I am going though my depressive episodes. If you were wondering what my favorite room spray is, it’s Aesop’s Istros.
I suggest keeping all of this (with the exception of the mouthwash) by your bedside for easy access. The easier things are, the more likely we are to do them and keep up with them. Depression is never easy, but it can get easier. I hope these things help you out and I just want to let you know that you’ve got this!