Hygiene and sanitation were terms that used to be only relevant in businesses. Before the pandemic, we’ve always associated them with restaurants, fast foods, factories, and hospitals. But now that there’s a virus on the loose that can infect anyone, hygiene and sanitation became applicable to personal wellness too, and they’re now the major focus of self-care.
Hence, commercial and manufacturing facilities aren’t the only places where you’ll find sanitary equipment. Nowadays, every home also has them, from innovative fluid dispenser nozzles to UV disinfectant lamps. Your personal hygiene kit has most likely changed as well, containing more anti-bacterial wipes, face masks, and hand sanitizers.
That said, here’s how the pandemic has redefined self-care for each individual:
Hand-washing Became Essential in Every Situation
Before COVID-19, most of us only washed our hands before eating, or after handling something dirty. But now, it’s as if we’re washing our hands almost every hour, or multiple times in an hour.
Hand-washing has always been a recommended part of one’s daily routine even before the pandemic, but we weren’t taking it seriously because there was no threat of disease. Doctors actually advise washing our hands after coughing or sneezing, a habit that most of us only learned to adopt during the pandemic. And because we’re so used to doing it now, it may become second-nature to us after the pandemic ends.
Spas and Travels Lost Popularity
Social distancing protocols forced spas to temporarily shut down, and travels to be limited. Though many of us have missed them, we were still grateful for the lockdowns, because it has reduced the spread of the virus.
Besides, the prohibition of spas and traveling has led to healthy eating to become the ultimate form of self-care. Indeed, a healthy diet boosts our immune system, reduces our stress, and gives us a chance to bond with our family over meal times, because healthy food is usually home-cooked. Furthermore, making our meals made us discover the benefits of fresh ingredients, leading us away from fast-food and processed food. It made grocery shopping more fun and relaxing because we’re now in higher control of what we consume. Cooking can also help us manage our weight better, which is important for staying disease-free.
Cleaning Technology Has Advanced
We only used basic cleaning methods in our home before the pandemic. Our supplies closet most probably just consisted of a broom, a mop, some rags, and a vacuum cleaner. But now that we don’t just need to clean, but sanitize, we started using specialized cleaning tools and products to ensure that every surface in our abodes is virus-free.
Likewise, hotels, restaurants, airlines, and shops have observed more sophisticated cleaning methods. And we won’t likely stop cleaning meticulously next year, because according to virologist Byron Martina from the Artemis One Health Research Foundation in the Netherlands, the virus is here to stay. It will just become less-aggressive the longer it lingers in a population, but that may take years.
Hence, people and businesses also started looking for products that can make surfaces clean themselves. It prompted a Danish company called ATC Global to sell a transparent coating that can be sprayed on surfaces and break down microbes. UV radiation, disinfectant drones, and professional cleaning services also rose in demand.
Regular Bathing Has Increased in Importance
Some people were able to last weeks without having a full-body bath, but that can heighten the risk of diseases, which became more terrifying during the pandemic. As such, doctors emphasized that regular bathing is crucial because our bodies shed skin constantly, and we need to wash off that skin, or else it can cake up and cause illnesses.
Though the pandemic has discouraged close contact and traveling, it didn’t thwart self-care at all. In fact, it just reminded us of the basics, which is that hygiene and sanitation should always come first. Self-care, at its core, is all about keeping ourselves clean and healthy after all.