Post 30: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

We’re friends and family from around the world, sharing our experiences and thoughts during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 30. WE DON’T ALWAYS AGREE – nor do we have to! We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship.

Today’s blog is about personal hygiene during the Coronavirus lockdowns.

I Still Go to the Spa

RJD, Beirut, Lebanon

As I mentioned yesterday, I change clothes for each event that I embark on at home. Sometimes I carry my handbag when heading out to the balcony. I also go to the “spa” during the Lebanese lockdown. 

My bathroom, which I luckily do not share with my husband , has been turned into a spa. I always took care of myself on Sundays with my weekly ritual of a long shower, oils and moisturizers, etc. And I always used to go to the spa for body scrubs, facials, massage, nail care, and haircuts. Now my small bathroom is my spa.

Two weeks ago, I recalled how the hairdresser uses his scissors to create a perfect haircut. I decided that after so many years, I can attempt to trim my hair and diminish the volume. It worked – more or less. 

Every other day, I wear my spa robe and slippers and I give myself a full facial treatment: I start with a facial wash, scrub, mask and complete with a serum and moisturizer. I tend to do that in the evening so I sleep with clean, nourished pores. 

Twice a week, I give myself a body scrub, alternating with a Himalayan salt scrub and a coffee scrub. I scrub and I scrub. Not because of worrying about germs only, but also to get out all of my pent-up energies! Then I use a body oil followed by a moisturizer. 

On the other twice weekly days, I use coconut oil along with some Shea butter balm to moisturize my hands (after so many 20-second hand washes and gel use, we all need to do this) and feet. I rub the Shea butter on my nails and then the coconut oil on my hands and feet and cover with gloves (hands) and a ziploc bag (feet) for an hour. 

Finally, I am giving myself a manicure and pedicure once a week (and if I am really bored), I change color twice a week. 

This all happens after my daily exercise session (a combo of dance, yoga, and barre exercises that I developed) and after taking care of all my daily chores. I created a playlist that matches a spa mood for these rituals and am enjoying the time thoroughly! 

I really miss the massages though! 

To Groom Or Not to Groom

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

That is the question.

I don’t think personal hygiene is instinctive. We learn all about personal grooming and hygiene from our parents. As babies and young children, we are bathed and dressed in clean clothes. We are taught to brush our teeth for a full 2 minutes. Taken to the barbers and hairdressers to keep out hair tamed.

As we get older, our parents stepped back, expecting us to continue to accomplish our daily routines. But they were still there to nag us if we forget. Have you showered? Did you brushed your teeth? Are you wearing clean underwear? Isn’t is time for a haircut? Did you use deodorant? You cannot go out looking disheveled!!

When we are old enough to be on our own, most of us achieve this task like pros. Notice I say “most of us” because I remember going to class in college with people who had decided to forgo the daily hygiene regimen. Their clothes were wrinkled, as though they had slept in them, and their hair was still matted to their heads from the night before. But most of us go out of our way to be clean and coiffed and NOT disheveled, especially in public.

So what happens when we don’t have to go out to work or even be seen in public? I know that on some weekends we take hygiene days off too.

Now with the #Coronavirus, we are home 24/7, not going out except for a short walk. We spend most of our days watching TV and playing games online. So who cares? No one, it seems, because everyone is in the same boat. Whenever I FaceTime my friends, we laugh and compare notes on how we have let ourselves go.

I can say that in my household we all try to keep a routine. Every day we get up at precisely whenever o’clock and by 3pm-ish we have showered and dressed.

My son decided he doesn’t want to shave his beard, which he thinks looks good despite the fact that it is growing in patches. His hair, which had been cut in a very stylish way (shaved on the sides and longer on top) has now grown to a perfect length so it cascades down to look like a bad bowl cut. I tried to use hair ties on his hair, but he thought that was weird-looking …. as compared to what, the bowl cut?

My husband tries to keep his beard trimmed. But his hair is in desperate need of a cut. It is starting to curl up in the back like babies’ hair and he is tucking the sides behind his ears….

As for me, I’m not too worried. My grey is showing but I can use a box color if I want. I have curly hair that likes to be free, but I pull my hair back in a ponytail when I get tired of it. I never wear makeup (hardly did before corona anyway) and I’m living in comfy sweatpants.

The other day my husband points out that my lips are really chapped and that I should take care of them and not let them go. Umm, are you serious?? You are willing to overlook the fact that I have gained weight, have bad hair, sporting grandma sweat pants, and the only thing you notice are my chapped lips? Wow !! I should kiss him! But I don’t because I haven’t brushed my teeth yet.

I smile. I’m so lucky!

So today I decide that I’m using Chapstick. I saturate my lips with it and then I jump back into bed. I have decided I’m spending the day in bed and in my PJs just to see how that goes. If you don’t get dressed then you cannot be accused of being disheveled because you are in your PJs – DUH!

If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Bathtime

RafifJ, Malaga, Spain

I typically work from home, so the new all-remote model is not so strange to me. BC (before Corona) I had near-daily conference calls and video chats, and my routine was to get up, shower, and commute to my dining table to start my workday. Armed with my big mug full of hot coffee, I would get started on the day’s deliverables. When I needed a break, I would head to the beach and take in a little sun – that was always a sure way for me to relax and re-energize.

Enter COVID-19. Now, DC (during Corona), I can do all of my routine…EXCEPT go out. In this DC state, I feel completely trapped by fear, anxiety, and #lockdown mandates. My exciting outings are limited to going to the grocery store (oh, what will I wear!) and taking out the trash (should I put on some makeup??). I’m not supposed to do these every day, and if I’m caught violating the guidelines I can be fined or even arrested. #StayHomeStaySafe and #QuedateEnTuCasa are the only way to go, and even a single step outside the apartment, or interaction with the Amazon Delivery Hero, means I need to do the 20-second scrub-scrub-scrub song. Now my weapon is soap, not coffee, and my hands have never been cleaner or more in need of moisturizer.

Because I’m home-bound, my routines have changed. We’ve thrown out regular bedtimes, staying up until the wee hours of the morning and sleeping in. We play ping-pong on a tiled dining table, for heaven’s sake. On days when I don’t have deadlines, I’m perfectly happy to hang out in my fuzzy purple robe all afternoon. And I do that until…

…until I realize, again, that we have lost all normalcy that we may have had BC. And as my house-bound sister in Montreal (is she reading this??) reminds me, we have also lost many of our rights. Here in Spain, as in other parts of the world, we no longer have the right to go out for a walk, visit friends, or host an in-person party. We can’t shop where we want (closed or too far), and going to a restaurant is out of the question. There is nothing normal about the sad, empty Malaga streets that long for joggers, shoppers, and yes, even tourists. If we go so far as to abandon other “normal” BC activities, we will give in completely to the virus.

So I say: Trim your nails and brush your teeth! Bathe, and wash your hair! Exercise your right to shower! Wash up for your country! #StayClean for democracy!

Your neighbors and housemates – if you have any – will eventually thank you.

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