Since you’re here reading this, I want you to know that I too have been there – wondering how to get motivated to shower when depressed.
So first I want to say how happy I am you’re here, taking a first step to doing something good for yourself. After all, the simple act of showering or bathing is about looking after your basic needs.
When you’re going through depression, the act of showering and taking care of basic hygiene can seem like so much work. These simple tasks are difficult due to a lack of energy and interest.
So, today I want to share some ways to make getting in the shower easier.
Note: I am not a mental health professional, but someone who’s experienced depression on and off for years. I share strategies I have used which include advice and recommendations from therapists and social workers.
Why Does Depression Make It Hard To Shower?
“When someone is depressed, their energy is so depleted that it is easy to feel overwhelmed by things that are usually a part of everyday life. It might take all of a person’s energy just to stay awake and fend off negative thoughts. As a result, things like routine hygiene often fall by the wayside.”
Here’s the thing – once you finally get the energy up to shower it makes you feel good, especially afterwards.
When I was going through severe depression I would also feel ashamed and guilty when I wasn’t showering enough.
It’s one of these scenarios that we know it’s good for us, but we just don’t do it.
If you’re living with mental illness keeping up with personal hygiene, especially showering can feel really hard, so here are some strategies I’ve used that can be truly helpful.
15 Ways To Get Motivated To Shower When You Have Depression
So, let’s talk about some ways to get you motivated to shower on a more regular basis.
1. Find An Accountability Partner
Ask a loved one to help you prepare for a shower. This is especially helpful when you’re in a prolonged period of depression.
They can grab your towel, get the shower running and even sit in the bathroom with you while showering. If it’s someone you feel comfortable with, they can even help you wash.
If you don’t live with someone who can help ask a friend or family member to check in with you a couple times a week and ask when you last showered.
Now keep in mind, you’ll only want to ask someone you intrinsically trust and feel comfortable with.
2. Make Showering Easier
If you want to shower first thing in the morning, but you know mornings can be hard, get everything set up the night before.
Place a fresh towel and your bathrobe or comfortable clothes beside the shower, so all you have to do is get in and turn the water on.
3. Do the Basics
Just because you’re getting in the shower you do not need to shave, use shampoo, conditioner and soap. Think about the basics instead. This would be soap.
Lather up and let the warm water run over you. Take a moment to enjoy the feeling of the water.
And if you don’t want to wash your hair, fine. You can always use dry shampoo later.
Or if you do wash your hair, don’t worry about using conditioner if this feels like too much. You can use spray leave-in conditioner after you get out of the shower.
4. Run A Bath
It might feel more motivating to run a warm, cozy bath that you can sink into. Add some bubble bath and use this time to relax.
You can also let your spouse know that them running a bath for you would also be so helpful.
5. Set A Reminder
Set a reminder/alarm on your phone to take a shower, plus include why it will feel good.
You might remind yourself that…
- You’ll feel refreshed
- Being clean feels good
- The warm water feels good on your skin
- You’ll feel accomplished and proud of yourself
- You’ll smell good
6. Add Something You Love To Your Shower Routine
If there are other things you enjoy, add these to shower time. Here are some ideas:
- Play upbeat music
- Diffuse essential oils while you shower
- Try some new shower gel or shampoo
- Light a candle
- Use shower bombs to release an invigorating scent
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast episode
You can do something a little different every time you shower to motivate yourself.
7. Try A Different Time of Day
There is no rule on what time you take a shower. If the morning seems like too much, try a shower after work or before bed.
The key is to take a shower when you’re doing other productive things. Because you are already being productive, taking a quick 5-minute shower could be a little easier.
8. Make Plans
If you make plans to leave the house there’s a much more likely chance you’ll want to shower, not to mention making plans to see people or take care of personal business is also good for your mental well-being.
9. Commit To A Shower Before You Do Something Else
Think of it as combining your shower with making your morning coffee.
You’ll put a coffee on to brew and while it’s brewing you have a quick shower.
Promise yourself that you won’t drink your coffee until you’re fresh and clean.
I used to do something similar when I was trying to get outside for a walk each morning. When I took my morning walk I was rewarded afterward with my morning cup of tea.
10. Clean Your Bathroom
A shower is not enjoyable if your bathroom is dirty. It’s way less appealing to even get started. So, make a point of giving your bathroom a clean every week.
If you have trouble keeping on top of cleaning, ask someone else in your household to help, or hire a cleaner if you’re able to.
11. Just Turn On The Shower
Once you have done this you can decide whether to get in or not.
When we think about taking a shower and have low energy it just seems like too much work. However, if you turn the shower on when you are already in the bathroom, you can then decide to just take off your clothes and get in.
This makes the whole shower task seem just a little bit more doable.
12. Give Yourself a Pep Talk With Affirmations
I talk a lot about positive affirmations on this blog – and you can use them for every part of your life.
Affirmations are little statements you say to yourself to give you motivation.
Positive affirmations to help you shower could include…
- I deserve to be clean and feel good about myself.
- I can do this. Taking a shower is good for me.
- A warm shower helps me feel relaxed. All I have to do is get in.
- I know personal hygiene is good for me – for my body and my mind.
- Taking a shower is part of the healthy habits I’m focusing on.
- Adding a quick shower to my daily routine is good for me.
- I will take good care of myself with daily showers.
- I only need to spend a couple of minutes in the shower today. I can do this.
13. Leave a Note On Your Bathroom Mirror
Simply get a Post-it note and write… “Have a shower before you go back to bed”. Or “Turn the shower on and get in”.
This little reminder might be all you need since you are already in the bathroom.
14. Practice Making It A Daily Habit
Remember, practice makes perfect. When you do something over and over again it becomes easier and before you know it, it becomes a habit.
Sure, at first having a daily shower is going to feel exceptionally hard.
Do what you can to force yourself – or use one of these other tactics. I find having someone tell you it’s shower time (and putting on the shower) is really helpful here.
Once you begin to do this good habit every single day, it will become something that is automatic over time. And I promise, it will become easier.
Note: As mentioned in point #3 on this list, every shower doesn’t have to be the full process. You can just simply wash your body, or just stand under the hot shower focusing on how good it feels. The key here is making the act of getting into the shower a habit.
15. Contact Your Doctor Or Therapist
If you’re dealing with depression, hopefully, you’ve already discussed this with your doctor and/or therapist, but if not, reach out.
Professional help is there to enable you to navigate the complex waters of depression, as well as give you tools to make life easier.
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If all else fails and you can’t get in the shower, consider the following…
Use Wet Wipes
Or you can try a stand-up bath with a face cloth and soap.
Refresh your hair with dry shampoo
This will still enable you to look more presentable and therefore feel a little better about yourself.
Put on clean clothes
Whether you have showered or not, clean clothes are so important. Usually, when we think we have body odor, it’s actually unclean clothes.
Final Thoughts & Next Steps
Let’s face it, depression can be debilitating and the last thing you might feel like doing is showering. It just feels like so much effort.
Also, taking care of personal hygiene is tough when you have depression. So don’t be hard on yourself – this is one of the symptoms of depression and it happens to so many people.
Give one or two ideas a try to see if they help. If they don’t – try something else. Not every tactic works for everyone, so try different strategies and do what’s best for you.
Also, know this:
With some effort, you can get out of this dark cloud. Yes, it’s a lot of work and is hard – but you can do it.
Seek out professional help and look for resources that resonate well with you.
I have personally found this workbook – Mind Over Mood extremely helpful. In fact, it’s the workbook I used when I was in group therapy for depression.
You can check it out here…
Are There Any Other Ways You’ve Motivated Yourself To Shower?
Please share in the comments below to inspire others.