Celebrate cleanliness

Cleanliness of mind, body, and home, is next to godliness

BathingIn a world where appearances matter a great deal, personal hygiene that extends to mind, body, and home, is a crucial aspect of overall wellbeing. It is also a part of your essential survival skill, because managing your personal affairs today is an art by itself.

Identify hidden problem areas

Sometimes, and surprisingly so, we may not be aware of the most niggling problems that could pose a threat to impeccable grooming. For instance, bad breath, body odour, dandruff and split ends may need immediate attention, but they could easily escape our notice. One of the first steps of personal hygiene would be for you to analyse your own problem areas and set about taking steps to resolve them. Maintaining personal hygiene enhances one's physical and emotional wellbeing.

Here are some essential body care tips:

Oral hygiene is one of the most neglected areas of good health. Schedule an appointment with your dentist at least once in two months. Even if your pearly whites are in prime condition, getting them cleaned professionally will add that sparkle to your smile. Also, it is essential to regularly check for gum disease and cavities that could lead to tooth decay. Even if brushing after meals is not possible if you work, at least brushing twice a day [especially, at night] is a ritual that you should cultivate. For sweet breath, avoid chewing bubble gum that could be detrimental due to excess sugar. Take a few mints or a sprig of clove instead.

If you are prone to dandruff, explore gentle home remedies such as massaging a handful of aloe vera gel on to the scalp before rinsing with a cleansing shampoo. Use lemon juice for the final rinse. Avoid leaving oil in your hair as it can clog pores, leading to lack of circulation and eventually hair loss. Ensure that you wash your hair regularly and allow it to dry out the natural way. Try out different creative ways to keep your hair problem-free, and for that fresh, revitalising feel.

Exfoliate. Remove dead skin cells with a gentle exfoliating brush. Ensure that the bristles are made from natural fibre so that it doesn't inflame the skin. Scrub "hard" to reach areas such as between the toes, the heel of the foot, and the area behind the neck. Today, exfoliating brushes with longer handles are available for that hard-to-reach skin on the back.

Moisturise. Keep yourself well hydrated, but don't go overboard by drinking too much water, which could actually be detrimental for the kidneys. 8-10 glasses a day should be enough. Down plenty of fruits and vegetables [4-6 servings a day] for that inner glow and meet your fibre needs. Pay special attention to areas of the skin that are prone to dryness, such as the elbows and inner sides of the legs. Treat calluses on chapped feet with a deep hydrating foot lotion that is guaranteed to soften and heal the broken skin.

Home-made pedicures and manicures. If you're prone to bite your nails, ensure that you at least clip each nail neatly with a square edge. There's nothing that's more unattractive than nails of varying length on your hands. Give yourself a pedicure and manicure at least once a week.

Stay sweetly-scented. Body odour can plague men and women alike, especially when the weather causes you to perspire a great deal. Always ensure that you use a deodorant the minute you step out of the shower. De-fuzz underarm hair and be sure to sprinkle body talc during summer. A bath twice a day could prevent the build-up of bacteria that cause bad body odour. Also, always ensure that the clothes you wear have been pressed neatly.

Following these tips will ensure that every detail of your own personal grooming is taken care of. But, for a truly holistic effect, focus on your home as well:

Check for dust-mites. Ensure that every corner of your home is dust-free. Dust mite can cause unnecessary allergies in young and old people alike. In order to free a section of your home from dust, first swipe with a damp towel and follow-up with a dry one. You can also use air purifiers. These machines circulate fresh air and prevent clogging of excessive dust. Use a special broom with a long, thin handle to prevent the accumulation of cobwebs in remote nooks and corners.

Check your home for unclean drains, or open pipes. This not only causes bad odour, it can also become the breeding ground for disease-causing mosquitoes and other germs.

Clean your cupboards regularly and maintain stock-lists. This will tell you exactly how many bedsheets and pillow covers are in use as well as the kind of crockery that's in your kitchen. Throw away old, ill-fitting clothes in order to make space for your new ones.

Stack ties neatly in a tie-rack and ensure that all business suits are hung from a wardrobe in order to prevent creasing, or loss of shape.

Build a walk-in wardrobe, if possible, for each member of the family. The clothes, neatly pressed, can be hung up on hangers in the closet space. Shoes, scarves and accessories can be colour co-ordinated and placed directly underneath each set. This will allow you to get ready in a jiffy.

Store clothes with sufficient moth balls in order to prevent insects from eating away at the inner lining. However, ensure that these are nowhere near the reach of children.

Never store food items in any other room with the exception of the refrigerator, or the kitchen. Food crumbs in the bedroom can cause an uncomfortable ant attack!

Don't spray the air with artificial aerosols, or sprays, which can cause allergic reactions. Instead, mount a sweet-smelling incense stick, or candle, on a stand for a fresher feel.

Check crockery for cracks and chips. Eating off cracked chipped crockery could prove unhealthy and even dangerous in the long-run. Check each piece that you own carefully to avoid flaking corners and chipped designs. Don't buy crockery that cannot hold up against excessive heat. Microwavable and oven-safe dishes make a far better investment.

Ensure that you have clean linen on hand at all times. Place only freshly-laundered towels in the bathroom and by the sink for use after washing hands. Replace these regularly. Bedsheets and quilts should be laundered at least twice a week.

Make sure that everything in your home has a place and is kept in that place. A well-defined workstation, bookshelves, closets and bedrooms can save you a great deal of time and energy. If boundaries blur, things tend to get disorganised.

Keep healthy snacks in easily-accessible nooks, such as a slab of fruits on the dining table, carrot sticks in the fridge, and assorted nuts in covered platters on the settee. This way, your family won't have a chance to snack on junk-food!

A refreshingly clean mind, body, and home, are all very relevant to the process of celebrating optimal and long-lasting health and wellbeing.

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Kamala Thiagarajan
Kamala Thiagarajan is a Madurai-based journalist. Her writing interests encompass a host of genres including travel, health, entertainment and lifestyle. She is a full-time freelance journalist who works from her home in Madurai, South India. With ten years of experience in journalism, she has over four hundred articles in print in leading magazines across the globe. Her writing spans a variety of travel, health, entertainment and lifestyle features read by a diverse audience in over seven count