To shower, or not to shower, that is the question. It is the question I ask myself every day in gauging my energy levels and physical capabilities. Out of everything on my daily to-do list, showering is the most physical, most energy demanding task on the list. I envy the average person who doesn’t even have to think twice about it, just hops in and gets it done automatically every day. For me, showering has consequences.
The most minimal consequence is one that everyone has, whether they realize it or not: expending energy on showering means that I can’t expend energy on something else (or several something elses) of equal energy value. This is a good day for me. I may choose not to shower in order to be able to take care of a critical task that I might not have the energy for in addition to showering. I may also choose to shower and be okay if low priority items don’t get done, because I know that showering makes me feel better. I don’t mind this situation as much because it feels like a fair trade. I’m just more aware than the average person that an energy trade is taking place.
The middle range consequence is having to rest for an hour or a few hours after showering until my energy recovers. This is an average day for me. The energy trade-off is greater and has a bigger impact. I will choose to shower in this situation if it’s been a day or two since I showered last. If I showered yesterday, I spend my energy on my to-do list instead. I hate feeling grungy, dirty, and it has a negative impact on my emotional state. For this reason I do my best to shower at least every other day. My skin may not always be happy about this (yay adult acne), but it is the best compromise.
The most extreme consequence is when I’m unable to do anything else. Luckily, this is a rare day for me lately. It was my every day life a few years ago, but now it is what happens whenever I am sick or extremely fatigued. On a day like this I’m choosing between showering or doing a load of laundry or paying bills or shipping out an order or some other critical task. The rest of the day I am spent of energy, killing time until the day is over (usually with Netflix because I’m too tired to even play a video game). I feel a lot of shame and embarrassment on days like this. I feel the most shame when I have to ask my husband to help me take a bath, because I haven’t been able to shower for a few days and I can’t stand the gross that is me anymore.
My ability to shower and my consistency in showering are a good gauge of my current health situation. My goal is always to shower every day. After recovering from being sick it is the first thing I work on. A stretch of a week or more of showering every day means that my energy levels have been good, which usually means my health has been good too. The reverse is true as well. A period of showering less frequently is a reflection of poorer health. It is one of the key reference points I use in gauging my health.
Every day I evaluate my energy levels, the potential consequences, and what’s on my to-do list to determine whether or not to shower. Today I have a massage therapy appointment, so it is automatically a shower day. The same goes for any day with a doctor appointment or anything else that involves leaving the apartment. I can’t stand myself when I feel dirty, so I definitely can’t stand being around others feeling that way. If I didn’t have an appointment today, I wouldn’t be showering. My fatigue was worse last week, and it put me behind. There are several critical things on my list for today and I showered yesterday, so I would have made the trade off. Since I don’t have that option today, I’ll get done what I can before my appointment and the rest will just have to wait until tomorrow.
Do you have to choose between showering and getting other stuff done too? Is there a daily task that’s a greater energy drain than showering for you? Do you find yourself trading off between it and other items on your to-do list? Please share in the comments or send me an email.