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energy-saving hygiene habits (or lack thereof)

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Dainty, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    Since I vary between mostly bedridden/roombound every little bit of energy spent on hygiene is precious and not to be wasted. Over the years I have learned, and am continuing to learn, which is and isn't necessary, and how to reduce expenditure. I'm curious to see what others do, too.

    Here are a few of mine:

    - Electric toothbrush, much less back-and forth motion.

    - No shaving. I keep legs and armpits covered anyway, so it isn't really noticeable, and it means I get to spend that energy on other things. And there's nothing dirty about having hair where it's naturally supposed to be. :)

    - No makeup. Most of this is due to my MCS, but even when I bought mineral makeup that should be okay I found it took too much energy. Not only putting it on, but also having to take it off before putting my face on my pillow, which just wasn't happening.

    - I do not lather my entire body with soap. There's no need to, and again, wasted energy. A few years ago my MCS became so extremely severe that I could not tolerate any soap at all, not even organic single ingredient soaps. I really tried it all. So I lived completely without soap for a few years, and I learned what actually needs soap and what doesn't. Now that I have soap again, I use it only on what's dirty; the vast majority of my skin surface cleans just fine with plain old water. :) As a bonus this means I don't need lotion, as the natural oils seem to take care of skin dryness all on their own.

    - After years of experimentation I now don't wash my hair. At all. I don't even get it wet. This saves me the energy of trying to dry my hair and the exhaustion of washing, rinsing, conditioning, etc.​

    My journey as far as my hair goes started about 5 years ago when my MCS became severe and overnight I was completely without shampoo or conditioner of any kind. Having curly, dry hair, I tried the baking soda/vinegar rinse method and had to oil my hair to make it anywhere close to manageable, resulting in something halfway presentable. Then I found a place that could make custom conditioner for me and I really loved that, but began reacting and had to stop.

    Then my focus was on ignoring my hair, it was a little depressing. Short hair for me was more work than long hair because it'd be all afro-like and in the way. :lol: But my long hair was terribly difficult to manage without hair products because of the frizziness (what curls do when they aren't happy). After ignoring it for a few months, rinsing it occasionally, I started to notice it was getting straight and soft and shiny--that is, it was manageable! And it looks better than it did with any other alternative method I've tried. I've done some research and the sebum from the scalp can act as a natural hair conditioner just like lanolin conditions wool, if you don't strip it away. And it looks like that's what's happening with my hair.

    It actually doesn't seem dirty at all. The only time it ever starts to smell is if I go several days without taking my hair down, massaging my scalp and brushing/combing/running my fingers through my hair to redistribute the sebum. But as long as I do that once a day or every other day or so it doesn't smell bad at all, and it feels soft and looks presentable. I hope to have my curls back someday, but in the meantime this will do just fine. :)

    Okay, now I want to hear what everyone else does!
  2. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Senior Member

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    Dainty - this is a great thread topic!

    shaving - I use an electric shaver and I sit down while using it so it's quite easy.

    make-up - I'm with you, it gets too cumbersome to put on and take off, trying to enjoy life without it - it's something new

    hair is huge issue - I have the opposite problem, too oily if I don't wash it every day, although I have heard that if you don't wash it daily it will stop producing as much sebum, I just can't seem to live with it as long as it takes to get over that hump.

    I'm not connected to this product in any way but has anyone tried Wen shampoo? It is pricey, but I have heard from another PWC that it doesn't strip the hair of the natural oils, which then stops the over-production of sebum over time. She uses it and can go 3 weeks without washing her hair and it still looks good - i have seen it! I'm thinking about trying it, just need to digest the price first - I guess it would be worth it though, if you only shampoo a fraction of the time.
  3. TheMoonIsBlue

    TheMoonIsBlue Senior Member

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    Showering/Washing my hair takes every ounce of energy I have- once I am finished, I collapse into bed within 45 minutes and can't move for about 2 hours. I mean, it takes EVERYTHING out of me to wash my hair. Unfortunately, like you SpecialK82, I have Oily hair and if I don't wash it every day, it is unbearable, and for some reason the oil in my hair aggrevates my nasal allergies, and I get itchy all over! I once had to go 3 days without washing my hair due to a heart-halter test and it looked soaking wet it was so oily (Ewww!!!)
    I am going to try Carrigon's suggestions on another thread about only taking Lukewarm/Cool showers. I know for a fact that even warm (not hot- gee I used to LOVE my hot showers before I got ill!) showers are energy-sucking. I've noticed after even washing my hair for only 30 seconds, my heart is POUNDING FAST. If I had a heart rate monitor that was waterproof I would see how fast my heart rate is going after showering, I am sure it is very fast.

    SpecialK, I tried WEN products, they were awful for my OILY type hair. I think people with dry scalp/hair may do well with Wen, but it just made my hair more Oily and it felt dirty and greasy. On another note, a great natural shampoo I have fallen in Love with is called Shikai Natural Everyday Shampoo. You can find it on lots of websites and it is less than $6.00. I can't use those chemical store bought shampoos and Shikai is the best Natural one I have found and seems to make my hair slightly less oily.
  4. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    For those with hair that goes greasy without shampoo, have you looked into dry shampoos? I hear you can use those without getting into the shower at all, you don't even wet your hair. The powder absorbs the sebum and then you brush it out.

    I also remember reading about a shampoo that's like regular shampoo except you don't have to rinse out. It's called no-rinse, here's a brief article on it with links. I haven't tried it myself. Apparently it was developed for NASA for use in space, but has found a market among the infirm who have difficulty with showers. Apparently you just work it through your hair and leave it. They also have a no-rinse conditioner.

    Oh and I forgot to mention my shower chair....it's actually a shower bench, and I sit on it with my knees up and just let the water run over me that way. Lening forward lets water go down my back. Due to POTS standing for a shower is out of the question, but with my bench I can take a hot shower and then turn off the water and wait to cool off before standing again. That bench saves a lot of energy.

    ANother edit: Special K if you want to avoid the expense of the wen shampoo you might try soapnuts first, they are very gentle cleansing, unlike the stuff that's in most shampoos. Also works as natural laundry/diswashing detergent...
  5. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

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    I just got lightheaded brushing my teeth. Usually, I will floss everyday, but toothbrushing is harder. I don't like admitting that I have rarely been able to use a toothbrush anymore over the years because of the energy. So it's usually flossing and a mouthwash and light cleaning. And on rare occasions I will brush them fully.

    Showering, I used to be a twice a day shower person because I was an athlete. Now, it's like, every few days when I have the energy and alcohol sponge when I don't. And I use a spray cologne. Don't want to stink :D If I have to be somewhere, I will make an effort to get in the shower first.

    Shaving, the legs don't get shaved much anymore. I always do under my arms, but the legs have to wait for when I have more energy. It's usually about once a week that I shave them.

    Makeup, I used to always have the latest colors and everything. I was very into makeup. Now, it's like, if i have to be someplace very important I have made the effort this year to try to put some on. But the rest of the time it's usually none or just lipstick and concealer if needed.

    My hair color I do whenever I get the energy. It usually ends up growing out to where I hate it and then I'll force myself to do it. It's probably every three to four months. I'm blonde and I use a frosting kit. I actually did it last night and had to sit the whole time. And just the act of doing it has set me back badly today. But it looks just how I wanted it to and I feel more like a person with the color now.

    Clothing, I've been wearing the same shirt and pants for awhile now. I have other stuff in the closet somewhere, but I usually don't have the energy to hunt it down. So I'll wear like one of three shirts and one of two pants. And when the season changes, then I find other stuff. I have a nice collection of summer clothes, and a few nice winter sweaters, but Fall clothes I could use more of. I'm mostly housebound, so I wear my night clothes all day when I'm home.

    Basic body care is very hard when you're sick. People just don't realize that we have to ration our energy. If I want to go out somewhere, there are many times where I have to give up taking the shower just so I can go out. I have to keep an easy wash and wear haircut so I don't have to do anything beyond a quick hair brushing. I haven't actually styled my hair in a million years. I just brush it fast and usually will put a hair comb in it to keep some of it off my face and that's it. Or shove sunglasses on my head to keep the hair back :)

    There are days when I just hate not being able to look good or look how I want to look. I look at magazines or tv shows and I see how I used to look and it just kills me. Being a slob or unkempt is just not who I am. It's just awful. But that is what this disease has done to me. When the energy is not there, it's not there. I do what I can.
  6. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    Similar story here. There was a time when showering was the one thing I could do in a day. I'd plan ahead for a day I could dedicate my energy to showering and washing my hair -- maybe one or two days a week.
    My hygiene energy saving techniques:
    -electric toothbrush
    -lukewarm, not hot showers
    -shower bench (BIG help)
    -shampoo upside down so arms aren't over my head. I sit and bend over so my head is upside down and wash that way. Not elegant, but saves energy.
    -shave only rarely -- when I'm feeling better than usual
    -sit down to towel dry -- no waving arms about, especially over heart height
    -no makeup
    -minimal hairstyling -- I let it grow (too much energy to go to the hairdresser) and yanked it up into an ugly ponytail
    -lie flat for at least an hour after shower

    Now that I'm feeling a lot better, I shower/shampoo more often (every other day or so), and sometimes wash my hair right way up. If I'm feeling particularly good, I'll do a little makeup or extra hair styling. And I don't have to go back to bed after a shower anymore. I got a haircut and now wear my hair down because it's not such a mess anymore.

    Why anyone would think we want to live like this is beyond me.
  7. sleepy237

    sleepy237 Senior Member

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    :thumbsup:I also remember reading about a shampoo that's like regular shampoo except you don't have to rinse out.

    Dainty, Thank you!:hug:
  8. glenp

    glenp "and this too shall pass"

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    glenp

    1. have toilet seat up - having your bum lower in the toilet seems to help some dysautonomia - can brush your teeth or do a few things at the same time

    2. Keep a terry robe by your tub. Put it on when coming out of the tub - it saves on
    having to dry yourself

    3. Keep cornstarch available for using under your arms and also in your hair if it is greasy

    4. Line your refrigerator shelves with hand towels - you never have to clean the shelves
  9. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

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    I lowered the frequency of bathing/ shampooing. I sit down and have a handheld showerhead. I also sit down out of the shower.

    Don't use it but my dad did in the hospital -- there are pre-packaged sheets with soap that doesn't need rinsing. An example of a solution you can use:

    http://www.drugstore.com/no-rinse-body-bath/qxp14491

    For regular products but cheap yet organic, try Trader Joe's - Amazon carries some products to ship. Rumor had it at one point ?Aveda was supplying their products under TJ's brand.
  10. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Hi,
    The patient group I belonged to once held a survey among its members - on precisely this point - the difficulty of keeping up hygene standards when you're knackered. The survey was to see how long you could go -without washing your bedsheets!
    The winning response was - six months.
  11. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Great thread! Here's what I do:

    Had hair cut short so easier to wash & dry. After washing, keep hair wrapped in a towel (and then a fresh towel) for 20 minutes or so until it is just a little damp. Then let it air-dry or a quick blast with a hair dryer (not to style, just roughly dry). Lean forward to dry it so arms not raised so high.

    Use a shower bench! Huge help. Sit on the bench to dry off as well.

    Electric toothbrush. Interdental brushes (little brushes that you push between the teeth) rather than floss.

    Have shower/wash hair in the evening rather than the morning. I've got more energy then.

    Flannel wash of the "important bits" if I don't have energy for a shower.

    No make up.

    No shaving of anything unless anyone is going to see it (medical exam, basically!).

    Clothes: have nothing that requires hand-washing or ironing. I wear just t-shirts or sweaters rather than anything with woven cloth because they don't need ironing (just wear them for a while and the creases drop out).

    Changing the bedding: beyond me. I tried to make it easier by using a top and bottom sheet instead of a bottom sheet and a duvet cover (they are very hard work indeed). Then I started getting a home help in for just an hour a week and now she does this job for me! Just that hour a week makes all the difference between living in squalor and living in a nice, clean flat with fresh sheets. I know not everyone is able to afford it and realise I am very fortunate. But if you can afford it, it's well worth considering - even someone coming in for half an hour a fortnight to change your bedding and whiz round with a hoover and a cloth can make a big difference.

    I'm grateful for the shampoo info on this thread. My hair, always oily, has become lank and limp and the expensive shampoos that my hairdresser has recommended have been useless. I don't want to have to wash my hair so often so I will try some of the suggested ones.
  12. sleepy237

    sleepy237 Senior Member

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    Hell
    Take to the couch till enough energy comes to change sheets.

    Have all bits and bobs close by, medications, supplements in a box close by.

    Always keep a full bottle of water nearby. Snacks in drawer.

    I wear crinkled clothes:cheeky grin
  13. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Thou im a lot better then I used to be, Im so used to energy conserving after being very sick for so long that I still energy conserve with everything (which is good as that usually means if i do need to do something at home, I have then got enough energy to do it... except my gardening).

    Embarrassing to say.. I still shower only when needed eg if I smell or if im going to go out or have someone visit. I do like to shave every time I shower thou sometimes do leave my legs. I always shower sitting on the floor and do my teeth while sitting.

    I dont change my sheets unless they look dirty (sheets on my bed now that Im not bedbound, can last up to 4 mths).

    I only bother to dress half the time (another energy saving thing) ... occassionally sleeping in my clothes (I tend to do that when very tired as I just fall asleep anywhere anyway). I only brush my hair if ive had a shower or if im going out.

    I try to limit walking about my house and will often go without something I want as I dont want to make myself walk more to go and get it (constantly thinking not to waste energy).

    Im lucky as my parents only ever allowed me to wash hair once a week as a child. I was always told the more one washes it, the more oil one produces. This seems to be true as my hair can go 1-2 weeks with it still being nice without being washed.
    ..........

    If one is extremely ill.. have all the things you need each day always along side you by the bed so you dont need to get up at all, big bottle of water, food snacky things for meals etc. Use disposible utensiles and bowls etc so you dont have to do dishes. If real sick, it is easy to live off of snacky things without ever having to cook eg dried fruit, nuts, dried crackers, carrots, fresh fruit etc (I went 9 mths unable to stand to cook).
  14. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    "The winning response was - six months." Ah, yuck, that sounds way to long! I understand when you don't have a choice!! What we have to deal with!

    GG
  15. Emmanuelle

    Emmanuelle

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    Great post-- thanks! Really needed it this week-- I've been feeling so "scuzzy" lately.

    I used to shower and wash my hair EVERY DAY ... I wouldn't leave the house without clean hair. Hah! Now it's every 4-7 days-- only do it when I can't stand it anymore. I have log, fine, oily, blonde hair ... as someone else said, it looks wet when it's dirty, no body ... I look like a wet rat.

    Anyway, showering daily is out-- but I take a short bath every night before bed. I get clean and it relaxes my muscles.

    And I really like those wet "personal hygiene" wipes ... keep me fresh as a daisy :) Ha ha ...
  16. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    If I ever get over this illness I'm not going back to shampoo! ;)

    Dainty, great thread :)

    Make up. None here since 2002. Pretty much non existent 10 years before that too...mainly due to MCS.

    I don't shave. Waxing 6 weekly works best for me. Hurts like :eek: ...but at least I get to lie down. And sometimes I miss an appointment because I'm not up to it.

    Hair. Always an issue with me because it's long. My husband brushes it when I run out of steam. At my worst, I couldn't lift my arms to brush it at all.

    The biggest secret with haircare (I think) is that it's true we train it to need more washing simply by washing it as often as we do. More oil is produced in response to us stripping the natural oil. I grew up washing it once a week, and only ever washed it more when I lived in central London and the air was dirty and my hair collected black pollution-gunk. Horrible.
    I haven't used actual shampoo in several years...just conditioner which doesn't strip the oils but still cleans enough if you've weaned from the detergent effect of shampoo. It takes about 3 - 4 weeks of putting up with oil over-production and you're done. - That's that "hump" SpecialK. :Retro smile:
    ...My children are 8 and 6 and they have never used shampoo, only chamomile tea. They absolutely don't have greasy or dirty hair because they don't have that conditioned oil response we're conned into by the "care" advice from haircare companies.
    ...OK I'm getting on a rant here so I'll get off the subject of hair. But, I AM an expert....;) Oh, I see Tania is too! :D

    Washing sheets: happens *generally* weekly - at the worst maybe 3 weeks, but what I did dispense with permanently was 1/ perfectionism (pretty early on) and 2/ a reluctance to ask for help. I have my family to look after too. When things are tough, not asking for help isn't an option.

    I tend to keep as many things as possible, things I use daily, in easy reach and at waist height - which means clutter in some areas while high shelves and low cupboards gather cobwebs. Schmobwebs!

    No matter what doesn't get done - hair, fridge, sheets, or all of the above, I treat myself as gently about it as I would one of my small children.

    I'm trying to think what other shortcuts I take. I think there might be some I've been taking so long I don't even register them as shortcuts anymore. Haha! More power to me! ;) Ironing springs to mind.....what's that again?
  17. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

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    I cut my own hair now. I haven't been to a salon in probably about fifteen years now. I give myself a shoulder length cut with some layering on the front sides, a very wash n wear cut that requires nothing but a light brushing. I used to like going to the salon. Did it half my life. But I started to get sick at salons, probably the MCS, but at the time I didn't know why. And eventually I stopped going altogether when I got too sick.

    I only cut my hair about once every four to five months. Whenever it feels too long. And then I have to wait till I'm feeling up to doing it.

    Everything has to wait. Nail polish for me is like over. Maybe once every few years I'll put it on, and then it chips and it's too much of a pain to take it off.

    Toenail clipping is hard. I do that when I have no other choice, but it's getting hard to do.
  18. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    Oh, the washing of sheets and clothing....event hough I have a caretaker manage it, it still costs me a lot of energy to have laundry done and is stressful. Since everything I have has to be homemade, I don't have a whole lot of it and laundry days are hard. So...it generally only happens when the smell becomes noticeable.

    I only change into "street clothes" on the rare occasions that I'm leaving the house....and even them sometimes do not, because if it's going to use up so much of my energy as to make it impossible to see the doctor then that ruins the whole point.

    Another note on tooth brushing: sometimes when I couldn't brush my teeth I'd just do a mouth rinse with ground cloves, jsut put some in my mouth, take a drink of water and swish around. I don't know how much good it does but at least it makes me feel a little better.

    Nails...I find that it saves a lot of energy to forget trying to get htem perfect or tryign to do it over a garbage can. I clip my nails in bed. Yes, I have had one time when an old dried nail shard started poking me, which was uncomfortable, but other than that one time it hasn't been a problem and saves me a lot of energy.

    Cutting hair....hehe. I do cut my own (actually never beent o a salon in my life). Before I became ill I carefully planned the cut and did it very well, if I do say so myself. Nowadays I have neither the mental nor the physical energy to do that, I just start cutting however I can manage to when the length begins to interfere with things. Lately I can't even seem to cut it all at once, and forget trying to get it even....I just trim a few sections whenever I get the chance.

    (Btw, a few of you gals sound like you spend time on the LHC forums, and if you don't you should head over there pronto. :) )

    And, just for the record, I do not enjoy having to be like this. I know none of us do, but just for the sake of others reading, others who perhaps think that we've chosen to live this way--it isn't fun.
  19. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the great shampoo advice ladies. Love all the natural shampoo ideas and the no water shampoo (never heard of that before!). TheMoonisBlue - lol, that's what I was worried about with the WEN - big grease ball, thanks for the heads up.

    anne_likes_red - so the hump is 3 -4 weeks, interesting. So are we saying no washing at all with anything (like even vinegar)? You can still rinse it though, correct? It's very intriguing - I would like to request a hat for that month :headache: and maybe dark sunglasses for the hubby :cool:

    You may have just encouraged me to try and get over the hump, it's actually not as long as I had anticipated it would be.

    As far as other matters, I keep everything at waist height also, anything that falls on the floor may stay there for awhile. I keep paper towels in the bathroom and occasionally when I use the sink, I'll just wet one and do a quick wipe of the vanity, greatly increases the time between full cleanings.

    for teeth - I use a water pick which was recommended by my dentist when I had the beginning of gum problems related to dry mouth from this illness. It is difficult sometimes because you have to bend over the sink, but the minute I use on it is so well worth it. It really cleans between teeth better than anything that I have tried and my gums are so healthy and feel good now.

    I try to alternate mental work and physical work, so I may type on the computer for a little while, then do 5 minutes of straightening up, dishes, and then sit again for awhile.

    clothing - dress in layers, I wear soft thin cotten tee shirts under my clothes so that many times I can just wash the inside layer and wear sweaters and outer layers over and over. It's also cozy comfortable and warm.

    - take extra care not to spill food on clothes, use a couple napkins or a towel as a bib so that no additional effort is needed for laundry.

    Definitely miss the days of dressing up in a brand new outfit, fixing the hair and make-up just right and going out for a special evening. I think the dressing up part was half the fun.
  20. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    LOL, you can wash it - just phase out the shampoo (use a fraction the first time) and lengthen out the time between washes. I used apple cider vinegar to rub into my scalp, then my usual conditioner. The first week was a bit icky but really your scalp reprogrammes it's oil production pretty quickly! It's a supply and demand kinda thing.

    :D

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