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The simple self-care practice Covid-19 has taught me

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By Holly O'Neill
13th Jun 2020
Sponsored By
The simple self-care practice Covid-19 has taught me

In the era of Covid-19, hand-washing is more important than ever. Washing our hands thoroughly and frequently with soap, or using sanitiser where soap and water are not available, is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of infection. #WashToCare is Dove’s simple call to action for people to show love and compassion for themselves, their families, and communities by taking the time to wash their hands, in line with the World Health Organization’s guidance.


I’ve learned a lot since the world changed. First, you can change the world and save a life by doing nothing more than staying home and washing your hands. Second, that I love to touch my face more than pretty much anything else in life and nearly three months in, trying to stop it is still a daily struggle. 

I can’t remember the last time I did anything as regularly as I now wash my hands. After coming back from the supermarket. Unpacking after coming back from the supermarket. After touching money. After being outside. After opening the post. Frankly, now that my every action includes a hand wash, I’m pretty disgusted at how little the importance of hand-washing was in my life pre-pandemic. 

I haven’t been this committed to anything since the Spice Girls were making music. 

Being an over-anxious unimaginative millennial means I pretty much live in fear all day about something terrible happening to my parents. That is naturally heightened in the midst of a global health pandemic, meaning I’m zipping to the shop for them on their every whim and enforcing a pretty strict timetable of regular hand-washing.

Being a millennial also means I am among the many to still live at home with my parents. After this much time spent together in one space, we are very sick of each other, but they have glumly accepted the militant hand-washing schedule.

One great trick for the mind-numbingly boring parts of life is to try to make it fun wherever you can. I hang eucalyptus in my shower so every wash feels like a spa day. I lay the table for every meal as if I’m throwing a dinner party, with a tablecloth and candles and flowers and the fancy plates, even if we’re eating chipper, so that every meal feels like staying at the Ritz and not another mindless chore of life at home.

I swapped the door handle in my bedroom for one that looks like a revolver after I saw the one in Netflix’s Russian Doll and tracked it down, because why would you have an ordinary door handle when you could have a revolver? Now every time I open the door, eat a sandwich or accept that I can’t get another day out of my dirty hair, a task that weighs me down with ennui feels a little more exciting.

Self-care

So for taking the colossal snore out of the essential, important act of washing my hands 100 times a day, I’ve tried to make that fun too. If you’re in a busy house, it’s a bite-sized moment of refuge and privacy. I’ve bought a pretty, psychedelic gold soap dispenser that brings absolute joy into my life every time I go into the bathroom. There is nothing boring about hand-washing when you’ve bought a fancy scented soap that isn’t destined to only appear when guests are over.

For sanitiser-stripped hands, there is very little that can uplift the senses while soothing hands and mind like a luxury scented hand cream fragranced with your favourite perfume.

It makes it less like a chore and more like a little moment of luxury and self-care. It’s a chance to take a deep breath and tune out the world — even if just for a few seconds.


Dove knows there are a million things we do with our hands that are reasons to wash, but it’s so easy to forget. It’s more important now than ever to #WashToCare. Dove is helping to spread the message about the importance of washing hands properly and frequently, in line with the World Health Organization’s guidance.