Hygiene. Since indoor plumbing, basic hygiene practices have been a part of our everyday lives. Hectic schedules and busy lifestyles can make it easy to justify rushing out the door without taking time to take care of yourself, but many are more likely to miss a meal than to skip their hygiene routine. We have come a long way in terms of personal hygiene. Stop and think about the times when hygiene was not very...well...hygienic. If you have the need to add or improve a hygiene routine, let's put it into perspective by first looking at just how bad it was.
Prior to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it would be easy to say that humans were gross. We did not take cleanliness, or hygiene, to be all that important. We didn't even know what it was. Given that we did not learn about germs and how they affect the body until the late nineteenth century, it is astonishing that there were any practices at all that were meant to keep people and their living conditions clean.
Most people change their clothes daily. Prior to the eighteenth century and the use of the loom, there had been a time when people did not change their clothes regularly. They often had maybe a change of clothes per season. This coupled with the absence of deodorant most likely meant body odor was a common scent.. Night time bathroom visits were simplified by use of bedpans kept under the bed, which were later emptied onto the street. Not only was it used to clean faces, but urine was the most common antiseptic, aside from wine.
Even though it would take a catastrophe to return us to practices such as those mentioned above, if you are wanting to establish a new or better hygiene regimen, it is possible.
Such habits as brushing teeth, washing hands, drinking water, shaving, bathing, and using deodorant are easy to keep up with if you have stuck with a regimen during your adult life. If you wish to improve upon your hygiene habits, set goals for yourself. If you want to drink more water, make it a point to drink one glass a day and slowly progress to drinking the required amount for a healthy diet. If you have difficulty fitting bath or shower time into your schedule, make a point to increase the number of showers or baths a week by a day and work toward adding more to reach your ideal amount. An easy excuse for not keeping up with your regimen is that you ran out of supplies. Make toiletries, healthy food, etc. a priority when shopping. Many even purchase a razor and/or a toothbrush subscription as reminders to change implements regularly.
At the very least, be satisfied that you are not living in your own filth and practice a modicum of discipline, or at least enough to care to learn about your hygiene. Giving yourself a reward, such as a trip to the movies or dessert could even make striving toward such an important change in your life slightly entertaining and a bit more worth it.
We have not always been the cleanest of species. Aside from a great deal of information at our disposal, we have the benefit of decades of technological advances that have made many of our hygienic habits possible. Due to their limited knowledge and resources, it was downright disgusting. Thanks to the aforementioned advances in plumbing, it is possible to adopt and improve habits that are more conducive to a cleaner and more hygienic life.