When you start to think it’s easier to endure “swamp ass” than take a shower, there’s clearly a problem. This was my problem and to be honest, I sometimes still find myself trading cleanliness for convenience. I do have a few motivating tricks to encourage myself to get into the shower even when I feel like it’s this big annoying chore.
When I was younger I would shower every morning, no matter what. Even though dirt had replaced the grout in our shower, once the water was on it was immediate relaxation and warmth. I never wanted to get out. Thankfully I started to turn on the metal wall heater on before I got in so I wouldn’t have to freeze when I got out. Overall, showering was a great feeling — and still is.
But as time progressed showering got more difficult for me. The place I was living in had a bathtub and lifting my legs over the sides of the tub got really difficult. Had I known about it at the time I would have gotten one of those tub cuts. But I was renting, so the best I thought I could do was grab bars. When my dad was out visiting I put him to work and he installed grab bars and an industrial strength shower curtain rod that was literally bolted into the walls. Then I could grab onto it for balance even while I was standing in the shower. (DO NOT DO THIS WITH A REGULAR SHOWER CURTAIN ROD!!!)
This solution lasted for pretty much until I started using a wheelchair, but I was already having difficulty even wanting to shower because it seemed like so much work. Despite the fact that I actually liked being in the shower and how it made me feel afterwards, showering every day turned into showering every other day.
Showering once I was using a wheelchair turned into another experience all together. Getting undressed took longer, transferring onto the shower chair took longer, transferring back took longer, getting dressed again took longer. It just got to be such a pain. Showering every other day turned into showering every three days.
Then I started traveling for tennis and wasn’t staying in places that always had an accessible bathroom. So I discovered baby wipes and could actually go for a week without showering. Really. Eventually I got to the point where I would have to start to feel extremely uncomfortable in order to force myself to shower. I mean sweaty ass, itchy skin, grossness in too many places. Sometimes this would take three days but other times it would take a week. It shouldn’t have taken this amount of mental and physical torture to get me into the shower.
So I made it a goal to shower more often, deciding that every other day was an acceptable goal. Eventually some psychological tricks came into play and if one of them didn’t work then I would try another one. It seems to have helped me create a more shower-filled pattern so I wanted to share them.
Make it easy.
If you take a step back and look at your showering situation, is it as easy as it could be? Is your shower chair easy to transfer to? Is the shower head maneuverable or always pointed properly at you so that you don’t have to mess with it? Do you have grab bars in places you need them? Making the process as easy as possible is going to make it easier to convince yourself to do it.
Imagine how you’ll feel after the shower.
Whether you haven’t showered in a week or you just showered yesterday, a shower adds an almost instant mental boost. You feel clean, you feel some energy. You might feel more relaxed. If I am having trouble motivating I put myself into the future and think about how it will feel to be done. This usually makes me feel even more dirty than I felt prior to imagining it and gets me in the shower.
Make plans with people.
The times when I wasn’t showering very often I wasn’t necessarily around other people often enough to feel self conscious that I might smell gross. But I noticed a pattern that when I would make plans with people to go to dinner or a movie or something that involved being in close proximity, I was more likely to want to get in the shower.
On occasion I have found it effective to tell myself, “Okay if you get in the shower right now you can go eat ice cream. It sounds childish and silly but it has worked on occasion.
Make it comfortable.
I have started using my phone’s music player and external speaker to take music with me into the bathroom. It’s now part of my routine. I also like to make sure I have some good smelling soap or body gel. The most important thing to me is a good shower head. I have a two-headed shower head that actually ends up showering me in more places at the same time. It’s great.
You might be able to come up with some of your own motivators as well as the above. I have a really good success rate now with getting myself in the shower. I feel better, happier, and of course cleaner.