Pre pandemic, hand washing was an act that most of us did in a rush. We may have even been guilty of the ‘splash and dash’. However, there is now a lot more emphasis on how we wash our hands and for how long. It can suddenly feel like a chore, creating a sense of anxiety among many, in fear they are not doing it correctly. However, rather than being a source of stress, performing proper hand hygiene can be a chance to indulge in self-care. You may already have some rituals while washing your hands such as counting to 20 or singing Happy Birthday twice, but if you want something different, you might like to try some mindful options.
While washing your hands, connect with the sensations it brings with it. Listen to the sound of the water and how it feels as it touches your hands. Be aware of the temperature of the water. Notice the feeling of the soap on your hands and its texture. Be mindful to not let your mind wander off and try to bring as much present moment awareness to all the sensations involved.
Incorporate a hand massage into hand hygiene
Why not use this time to give yourself a deep hand massage? The World Health Organization (WHO) hand hygiene technique incorporates the perfect hand motions to make it feel like a massage through interlacing fingers and rotational rubbing. Take your time, enjoy the experience, notice where the tension may be in your hands.
Wash with gratitude
We are in the middle of a global pandemic and this can sometimes make us forget how lucky we are. While performing the 6- step hand hygiene protocol, take this opportunity to think of 5 things that you are grateful for in your life. Take this opportunity to reflect and appreciate your family, friends, and anything else that brings you joy.
Mindful breathing exercises
Take the 20 seconds of handwashing to practice some breathing exercises to help relax the body and mind. Breath control can be a great stress relieving technique. Try breathing in through your nose for 5 seconds and exhaling for another 5 seconds. Complete this twice and your 20 second handwashing routine with be complete. Make sure to focus on breathing in positive energy and exhaling the negative.
Next time you are performing hand hygiene with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand-rub, why not give one of these mindful activities a try. It is important to remember during your hand washing routine that you are participating in an act of self-care and helping to prevent infection.
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