The following is an excerpt from Oddball: Building Resilience with Self-Care Guide
Mindfulness is essential in self-awareness and you can read more on that in my other posts. However, we can now begin to discuss issues related to self-care without judgment and less resistance. Let me ask as you? Do you think your looks don’t matter? Think again. Your appearance says a lot about your health and well-being. Physical, emotional, and spiritual presence (speak, say, tell, demonstrate, express) on your behalf. We are not speaking about vanity. We are speaking of basic health.
If someone is unkempt it could indicate a lot of information. They may be ill physically, going through something in their lives, mentally suffering, or spiritually struggling. With your senses you can see, smell, physically feel, or hear (as in someone’s voice) that something is not healthy with a person. What if that person is you?
You may not know your lifestyle is making you and your pain worse. Even if your dis-ease, illness, or distress is due to an outside source, like an accident, violent incident, congenital condition, or environmental influence, you can via mindful actions bring powerful relief upon yourself.
An evaluation of different areas of your life can bring incredible insight. This is not only about finding things that are wrong, but this is also about things which are working and how to adjust what is not. Food and diet is a huge factor. But so many voices are screaming at us about it via media, medical and health industries, social conformity, etc., it’s easier to just drown it all out.
Until what, you ask? Until we have to. Life forces us to pay attention. Your body is the only thing that will indicate what you really need for optimal health. Not a fad diet or trendy supplement suggestions. There are known, and proven foods that work to provide solid nutrition. I am not a nutritionist, but doing some research and seeing what are the common healthiest food sources can give you a huge insight. Fresh, clean water is number one and barring any specific food allergies, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and sprouts are the number way towards health. The next is dependent on ethical, moral, financial, and geographical considerations.
When life gets rushed and stressful, we may put the food needs on a lower priority. That’s a big mistake. Your “self” will let you know soon enough. Below you’ll see how food affects you, your sleep and stress levels. What you consume matters. Making and taking the time to be aware of what foods you eat is true self-care. If you make a delicious, healthy meal for your family or pets, make sure you do it for yourself too or you won’t be well enough to keep supplying the good things for others.
Hygiene and Grooming
As an empath who suffers from chronic pain and fatigue, I can say that hygiene is of utmost importance. It is difficult to explain to someone who does not have this kind of pain how challenging it can be to do the basics of everyday life at times. Hygiene is essential for health and wellness. As I woman and person in a modern and crowded city, I know how important cleanliness and appearance is for physical, mental, and spiritual health.
I stopped assuming any given person understands what basic and necessary hygiene is. One of my many jobs was to work in a hospital since I wanted to study nursing back in high school. I also worked in an animal hospital and in college took tons of courses because I considered going into medicine. You get to learn a whole lot about health and hygiene. But not everyone understands why it is so crucial for their health and the health of others. As I say over and over we are in an environment and we are the environment for others.
Years of observation of human behavior got me thinking about hygiene. Whether in New York or when I moved to San Francisco, I was struck how humans living and working in close proximity displayed poor hygiene. When you know what happens due to poor hygiene and you observe it in people around you, it can make you a bit obsessive about cleanliness. I wanted to scream from the rooftops of what to do or not to do for health and hygiene.
You would think speaking of the basics of hygiene and grooming is not necessary. But sadly it is. Think about this: Is it me or is it always cold and flu season? No, it is always infection season. This is why the use of basic and maybe a little extra hygiene is more important than ever.
It sucks to be sick, it is expensive and when a seemingly ordinary illness turns serious, it is tragic. One extremely effective way to avoid getting sick is to practice proper hygiene behavior. Some people have no idea how easily we can prevent colds, and/or spread other contagious conditions by doing such simple things. By sneezing into their elbow or washing hands they can avoid germs from spreading. Sadly, these simple acts are done far less than you would think.
This means a higher chance of getting sick if we are not careful with our hygiene. It is up to each and every one of us to do our own precaution but also to share with others in any way we can that we don’t want their germs on us. I implore you, do a quick online check one “the BEST way to prevent colds and flus” and you will see for yourself the number one way is to wash hands properly.
Cleaning and cleansing One’s Self
Just as we ought to consider clean eating for general health, we need to clean our bodies. It not only maintains health but it also prevents illness. This sounds so simple but it is too easy to forget unless we begin to see illness and death around us and getting closer. Through basic self-care in the form of hygiene, we can take steps to reduce and ideally prevent anything from a common cold to a world pandemic.
(Note: I wrote this before the Covid-19 pandemic)
I’m all for freedom of choice but let’s be clear, it is not healthy for the person or those around them when they don’t care for themselves by using cleansing and cleaning by way of bathing, oral care, and grooming via bathing. There usually is mental or physical illness behind the lack of hygiene. For the rest of those who don’t care to clean themselves, there may be some defiant refusal anti-social behavior or simple ignorance associates about what it is to clean and groomed.
Hygiene is highly personal. We all have different skin types, conditions and requirements. Again, cleanser and water are the very basic requirements. I would guess most of us in a modern society with reasonable means do have a bit more resources to work with to ensure we do our best to clean, dirt, dust, bacteria, viruses, parasites, mold, stains, sweat, etc. Our skin is this amazing barrier against the outside world. What a wonderful protective mechanism. At times it requires more than basic cleansing techniques. We may need tools, and products to make bathing/cleansing more effective.
Different parts of our bodies have specific needs. Our face may require different cleanser due to more or less natural oils or degree of stuff to clean off, like lotions, make-up, dust and so on. Our bodies may need more special needs like feminine or masculine hygiene, or robust exfoliation, like our feet which may get rough due to the pounding it takes for those who are fortunate enough to enjoy walking, running, dancing, and jumping.
Many of our hygiene habits are learned from our upbringing. Something that was missed by our family tradition can be filled in by another source. For instance, a specific way of cleaning our ears or scalp we may not have been learned at home.
The great news is that hygiene doesn’t have to be a boring or annoying task. We have so many options for making cleansing an enjoyable self-care routine. Household, health, and beauty industries have taken advantage of our unique needs to create whole lines of products and services to accommodate individual needs. Tasks like nail clipping, shaving, and hair washing can even be luxurious if done at spas or even home spa-like environments.
You don’t have to be a dentist to know how important dental hygiene is. There is a huge body of evidence connecting poor oral hygiene to other very serious illnesses. These include heart disease and chronic inflammation. Bad breath is just one of the issues. What you eat and how you clean your mouth determines how you smell. Eating tons of garlic and onions is delicious but be on the lookout vampire-repellant breath until you clean and it is out of your system. But if you have bad breath all the time, it is a sign of unhealthy amounts of bacteria, gum, or other kinds of disease in your system.
I personally know how expensive it is to go to the dentist. It is a huge reason people don’t go, other than the fear of pain. I am not sure what the answer is for the lack of funds but somehow, some way oral hygiene has to be an important part of self-care. When I went to the dentist recently I knew it was going to be a pricey visit. But after decades of wishing I was able to fix my front teeth I finally went for it. What I knew was confirmed, regular cleanings are essential.
Your daily routine should include brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing, scrapping your tongue and rising with an anti-bacterial oral rinse. The specific way in which to do all this can be discussed with a professional or a good ol’ Google search. There is no substitute for the feeling of a clean and healthy mouth.
No one wants to lose their natural teeth but that’s part of aging. However, the better we take care of our gums and teeth, the longer we keep what we have. Thanks to advances in medicine, there are more choices for when we do lose our chompers, though, yes it is expensive and no insurance covers it as of this writing.
Aside from general physical health, cleansing and grooming are necessary for mental and spiritual health. Cleansing rituals not only clean the dust off our skin but also the rogue energies that may have attached to us from people and places that are no good for us. How many times have you had a really rough day or situation, gone and taken a wonderfully warm shower or bath with some great scented soap/gel and felt like a million bucks afterward? There is a whole field dedicated to mental and spiritual cleansing. You can use it on your body, your home, workplace or anywhere you need to clear the energy into a healthy, high vibrational state.
When it comes to physical hygiene we sometimes judge others. No matter how unpleasant judging others is, we are all guilty of doing it at one point or another. There is no way for us to know what the reason is for someone not having proper hygiene and being unkempt. We often assume something is wrong with them, they may be homeless, ill, careless or unaware, as discussed above.
Regardless of the reason, when we are around an unkempt person on a regular basis it can be miserable. Our senses can tell us even if subconsciously that this person is dangerous somehow. For instance, our sense of smell can detect an odor that can be very unpleasant to the point of sensitivity in on one end of the spectrum to repulsion on the other. Or they may appear inappropriately dressed, or not dressed at all in a public.
If it’s someone we don’t know, there isn’t much we can do about it unless it is a public health issue, in which case we can contact the appropriate service to intervene. For someone whom we have regular contact with, it can be a very difficult and sensitive situation. In modern society, we have the norms of dress, appearance, etc. But how we agree to those norms depend on the particular cultural milieu.
Hygienic self-care provides us with powerful advantages. The first is general health and well-being. Second, it gives us intelligent information about our own specific hygiene and grooming needs. Third, it provides us with the ability to create an enjoyable process that lifts our spirits in general and in particular alleviates pain and distress.
Our Hygiene Connection to Others
Because most of us don’t live in an isolated island or farmland, we are constantly interacting physically with many other people, animals, places, and things. Just like basic self-hygiene can’t be taken for granted, neither can other’s hygiene routines. I talked about the example sneezing in public and how a simple move like sneezing into our elbow or tissue can stop the spread of millions of droplets of mucus, bacteria, virus and other objects. Since we can’t go around telling people what their cleanliness habits ought to be, we can only practice our own and as in the case of my work, try to educate those who need it by spreading the word (not the germs).
Grooming, Style, and Presence
Chances are if you are taking good care of your hygiene you are naturally stepping in the arena of grooming, preening, and primping. Grooming is personal. What works for you won’t work for someone else even if they look just like you. Because it’s about your style and presence—your unique energy signature.
Grooming incorporates all the principles of hygiene and add the element of style and beauty—yours. Grooming can range from simple minimalist to a fashionista’s flare. Style is the unique way you express yourself. Clothing, walking, speaking all add to your personal style. I was always aware of this just because of my mother’s irrational insistence I be polite at the cost of my ability to express myself fully. I observed and learned about social norms.
Culture and geography also has a huge impact on what grooming and style are. As a woman born and raised in the Unites States I have acquired my own style and taste based on the cultural and social norms I was exposed to. When I speak of this I understand that not every person has the freedom to express themselves fully on various parts of the world. I truly pray we become evolved enough to see that change, the sooner the better.
In the meantime, if you can express yourself and your style that reflects your unique signature, there are infinite ways of doing so that bring joy to yourself and others. How we walk, talk, sit, stand, and move our body speaks volumes about us. Being aware of what the meanings of any specific body posture, movement, habit, or style are will give you more power to express yourself the way you want to, not be at the mercy of lack of information or bad habits.
Beauty and Style—Fashion Hacks to Help You Look Like Your Absolute Best
Everyone wants to be fashionable but it can be difficult to do it if you don’t have a lot of money or knowhow—or so you may think. If you follow these tips you can be fashion-forward without going broke. Plus, you’ll have a lot of fun knowing you look the best for you while only spending a few hundred dollars.
- Know Your Colors – You want most of your clothing to be two basic colors, with occasional punches of color that pick up the mood of the piece.
- Mix and Match – Ensure that every piece you buy fits with another piece that you already own. Don’t buy anything unless you know exactly how it will work with the items you have, to avoid having to buy more to go with the new piece.
- Jazz It Up – Replace buttons on a thrift store find or a discount store pick to make it look more expensive. In addition, you can swap out belts on clothing that included cheap belts and ties with more expensive choices for an immediate upscale look.
- Keep It Simple – Pieces with less embellishment are often a lot more timeless than those with a lot of extras. Choose simple, sleek designs, especially when it comes to belts, purses and accessories.
- Faux All the Way – There are now faux leather, suede, and other fabrics that look real but cost a lot less. Plus, you don’t even have to pretend they’re “real” these days. Faux is in and better for the environment and the animals.
- Steam Out Wrinkles – Buy an inexpensive steamer to get wrinkles out for items that aren’t iron safe. Always get out the wrinkles so that you’ll look chicer.
- Remember the Undergarments – Many less expensive clothes come without liners, which is how they sell them cheaper. But, they don’t often look good. Therefore you need to supply the liner in the form of slips and other well-made undergarments.
- Natural Fabrics Look Richer – Tweet, cotton and linen are natural fibers that look rich but don’t cost a lot of money. Look for clothing made from these fibers to look more stylish.
- Shave Pilling Fabrics – Some less expensive clothing will sometimes get little pills on them after wearing them. You can get a fabric shaver to get them off, which will make them wearable longer.
- Alter Your Clothing – This is especially important for business clothing that you purchase, but you can do it with anything. It costs some money to get things altered but it is the main tip to making your entire wardrobe look richer and more fashionable.
- Black Is Where It’s At – When in doubt, buy black. Even if most of your clothing is black, with a few pops of color you’ll look great. Less expensive clothing looks better in black since the imperfections won’t show up as much. Plus, black just looks better in general.
“Style is a reflection of your attitude and your personality.’ —Shawn Ashmore