Stylist’s beauty editor muses on the unexpected joy that a middle-of-the-day shower brings. Seriously.
I don’t know about anyone else but having a full shower – you know, the ones that are more than a quick body shower, where you have to wash your hair because you can’t get away with it for another day – are the bane of my life. I hate them. They take too long, mostly because my hair, which has a natural curl to it, can’t be left to air dry.
Instead, I have to manually dry it (I know, right?) and because I’ve never bothered to learn how to blow dry my hair smooth, I then have to straighten it. Which, yes, is as annoying and as time-consuming as it sounds.
I’m also not one of those people who can get away with washing their hair once a week. I used to be an everyday kinda girl, but now I can get away with every other, or every third, day. But that doesn’t make things any easier.
Anyway, enough of my hair washing habits. Now I want to talk about coronavirus and the impact it’s had on the majority of us. If, like me, you’ve been working from home, you’ve probably gone from having a strict weekday routine to, ironically, having more at-home flexibility in terms of not having to commute. That means there’s suddenly way more time in the day which probably turns into more time than ever at your desk with a severe lack of breaks.
Although lockdown measures are slowly starting to lift, it’s likely the working from home aspect of life will stay the same for a while yet. And that, my friends, is where the lunchtime shower comes in.
Maybe you’re like me and you prefer to shower in an evening before bed, or perhaps you’re an early bird who relies on a jolt of water to wake you up, I urge you to try switching things up. I first discovered the sheer joy of a lunchtime shower back in March and I was so passionate that I tweeted about it.
Why? Because not only does it come with a strict time limit – an hour means there’s no room to faff around, a military operation is wholly necessary – but it also makes me feel more alert. It means I have to stand up for at least 15 minutes which gives my numb bum a chance to recover and prepare for an afternoon of sitting down. And most importantly, it enables me to actually take some time away from my screen, which I’m sure we can all agree is something none of us do enough.
I won’t lie, though. It’s not all plain sailing and there are a few compromises. A lunchtime shower means I have to eat something quick and easy, and chances are I’ll have to tuck in at my desk (unless I shower in double quick time, obviously) and it requires multiple pairs of clean pants which equals more weekend washing. But the fact that a middle-of-the-day shower not only gives me more time in an evening, but it also allows me to either get up early to go for a walk, or have a bit of a lay in before starting work, is more than worth it. What! A! Life!
It’s not just me who’s a fully-fledged convert, either. A few of the Stylist
Kayleigh Dray, digital editor-at-large
“I have fallen hard and fast for the lunchtime shower during lockdown: it gives me a chance to think, forces me to take a screen break, and helps me feel more on top of things. The few times I’ve treated myself to one, I’ve bounced back to my desk energised and ready for anything.”
Lucy Robson, SEO executive
“My favourite habit to emerge out of lockdown is hands down taking a lunchtime bath. Not every single day – I’m not a total diva – but I do have a few a week, more often than not.
I won’t lie, at first it was bit disorientating because it’s something I usualy do in the evenings to wind down before bed, but for practical reasons it just makes way more sense. Rather than cutting into my evenings (I’m not somebody who gets up early enough to shower in the morning, let alone running and taking a bath).
When I first mentioned my lunchtime bathing habit I was surprised by the bemused reaction of my team. The general perception seems to be that a shower is more functional, time efficient method of washing yourself. But a bath is so much more than that: not only does it tick off the cleansing part, but it also feels like a real treat. I’d say it’s definitely more of an event, too, especially during a time when, like the rest of the world, I haven’t been doing anything fun or noteworthy.
A lunchtime bath means I can listen to a podcast or music, or watch Netflix. Truly, it’s the highlight of my working day and I know I will miss having them when we return to the office.”
Fliss Thistlethwaite, executive digital editor
“As has been pointed out by Stylist’s beauty editor Lucy, I’m a late adopter to the lunchtime shower. And I have good reason. I have created my life around a streamlined routine.
Everything I do, I tactically list in my head and see if I can fit two jobs into one, rather than faffing around wasting time doing things separately. For example: if I go and see a friend, I’ll try to fit in a shop/posting that letter/swinging by to see another friend on the way back - two birds one stone (I’m really making myself sound fun here, aren’t I?). So the idea of getting up in the morning, getting dressed, sitting down to do my job and then undressing again at lunch seemed absolutely preposterous to me.
But, last Friday, I had a painfully-early PT session before work and didn’t have time to jump in the shower before I needed to log on at 8.30am. So I found myself itching to jump in the shower and wash my hair at lunchtime. And what a joy it was.
At 12.25 I flicked on the radio and belted out a few tunes as I did a full hair wash/body scrub routine. And, guys, I was back at my desk smelling clean, glowing from the exfoliation and in clean clothes by 12.45. Nope, I didn’t blow dry my hair but it was a Friday afternoon in lockdown - who needs a blow dry?
I am a convert for many reasons, but I think the main benefit for me was physically being separated from my desk and all the technology that follows me around for a full 15 minutes in the middle of a hectic day. It gave me much-needed headspace.
Being honest, I still have huge issues with using two pairs of pants in one day (because no-one’s putting on their 4-hour-worn knickers again, right??) but I can get over that for a special lunchtime shower every now and then.”
Main image: Getty