Take a moment to look around you and count how many objects in your surrounding environment have been designed for the hands. Most of them? All of them? Truthfully, it’s difficult to imagine a task where the hands aren’t somewhat involved, and this means that they are not only immeasurably useful appendages but also continuously exposed to contaminants and injury.
The very least you could do is take care of your hands by clearing bacteria away from them, protecting them from life’s many hazards, and pampering them with love. To help, here are 10 handy habits to integrate into your daily routine.
1. Wash Your Hands Properly
When it comes to hygiene, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Get into the routine of cleaning your hands before and after every meal and bathroom use, as well as following the interaction with animals or the sickly. Be careful of hot water as this can steal your natural oils, and note that antibacterial soap can actually assist the development of more resistant germs. Rather look out for variations which lock in the body’s organic moisture, such as olive oil, aloe vera, or oatmeal soaps.
2. Exfoliate Your Hands
Just like your face, it’s a good idea to exfoliate your hands as this will scrub away any dead skin and leave that soft healthy glow beneath. However, the exfoliation process should only be performed every week or so, otherwise, you may strip your natural oils away.
3. Eat With Your Hands in Mind
There are plenty of dietary choices which are known to enhance the hands’ overall health and appearance. To clear the skin, eat avocados for vitamin E, walnuts for omega-3, and broccoli for zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C. To strengthen the nails, stock up on those leafy greens and beans for their protein content. And to care for your bones, you need the calcium from nuts, tofu, milk, or soya drinks with the nutrient added. Finally, look out for supplements to relieve pain and inflammation if you’re suffering from arthritis in your hands or repetitive stress syndrome.
4. Use Sunscreen
People often overlook their hands when it comes to UV rays, which is ridiculous when you consider how exposed these specific body parts often are. Skin cancer is the more frequently diagnosed than all of the other cancers combined, hence why you have to use sunscreen absolutely everywhere
5. Look After Your Nails
Your fingernails require special attention. Use a scrubbing brush to clear out any dirt which may be stuck beneath them. Do not bite your nails, as this introduces many undesirable germs into your mouth. Always use nail clippers or a file to produce a neat, smooth shape. And never cut your cuticles as this can lead to infection. Learn more about what your nails are telling you here.
6. Use Your Computer Correctly
Poor posture is well known to inflict pain all over the body. If you work a desk job, then proper spinal alignment is imperative to reducing repetitive stress injuries. Your eyes should remain in line with the top of your monitor, your feet should be planted flat on the ground, and your elbows should be relaxed at a 45-degree angle. Consider swapping out your desk chair for a gym ball while researching the available ergonomic keyboards and mouse products designed for better hand care.
7. Wear Gloves
There are various occasions when glove usage should be an automatic part of the preparation. Whether washing the dishes, tending to your garden, or working with tools, this additional layer of material may protect the skin from breakage or any external dirt. Another ideal time to slip on a pair of gloves is when the weather has turned bad. This will not only keep your digits warm but will also prevent your skin from drying out.
8. Tend to the Cracks
Due to the constant motion of your hands, dry skin can be of a particular concern as it’s more susceptible to painful splits and cracks. Take care of the problem by applying some lotion (or petroleum jelly) to the damaged area and then bandage it up. It’s worth noting that cracked skin is often a sign of dehydration, so use this as a reminder to drink more water!
9. Stretch and Take Breaks
While at work, it’s important to take short hourly breaks to walk around, allowing your blood to circulate and your body to align itself. During this time, why not perform a hand stretching ritual? Start by bending back your individual fingers, then pull them all back to stretch out the wrist. Follow this by pushing your hands together in prayer position, then interlace your fingers and stretch your palms outward. Finish by squeezing and relaxing a fist motion. There are many other stretching variations to test out, so explore your options until you find what works best for you.
10. Don‘t Ignore the Pain
Finally, if your fingers, hands, or wrists are hurting, then rather be safe and speak to a medical professional. There are several common causes of hand pain, hence why it’s always better to get an early diagnosis to rule out the more troubling possibilities. It may also be worth experimenting with a wrist splint to hold your arm in a neutral position, especially while you sleep.