The Surprising Daily Hygiene Habits People Have Ditched in Quarantine

Americans are in desperate need of a bath, according to these numbers.

The good news first: the stay-at-home guidelines put forth over a month ago appear to have been effective in abating the outbreak of the COVID-19 contagion. The less than good news? America is in desperate need of a bath. According to one prominent executive at Unilever, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of soap, shampoo, and deodorant products, personal hygiene has hit an all-time low in quarantine.

As first reported by The Financial Times, "as large numbers of people work from home, they are washing their hair less often, putting off shaving, and even abandoning deodorant."

In a recent investor call led by Unilever, Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly said, "About a quarter of personal care—such as hair washing, hairstyling, and use of skincare products and deodorants—[are] related to people preparing to go to work or school. Homeworking was cutting into demand for products in these areas."

So, basic things that have forever been part of our daily routine—like regularly brushing one's teeth, taking showers, and shaving—are on the decline during lockdown. Yes, hand washing is almost certainly on the rise (as is running one's dishwasher), but people appear to be setting a new record for wearing sweatpants, snacking, and, yes, letting themselves go.

Science, however, has shown that cleanliness and tidiness are important factors in everyday mental health. If you're walking around your house in your pajamas and wearing a scraggly "lockdown beard," know that a shower and a shave could be the perfect pick-me-up.

As psychoanalyst Claudia Luiz, EdM, explained to Mel Magazine: "Cleaning up of any kind, including making your bed, has been revealed to increase happiness. Simply by doing something positive, you set yourself in motion to feel better and do better."

And right now, we need to be doing everything we can to feel better. To that end, be sure to take good care of yourself—and try any of these Genius Happiness Tricks That Are Backed By Science.

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