For the majority of us, continuous face-touching comes as second nature. It's not something we think about; it's just something we do. We chew on our nails. We rest our chins on our hands. We scratch that itch on our noses. Most of us probably didn’t realize how often we touch our faces throughout the day. However, the CDC and WHO have told us to stop touching our faces to protect us from coronavirus and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Everytime we touch a different surface then touch our faces, we run the risk of giving any germs we pick up direct contact to our eyes, nose, and mouth. But not touching our faces is not as easy as it sounds.
When it comes down to it, face touching is a habit we can all stand to break. But how do you break a tendency you don’t even realize you’re doing? Here are a few tips to help you keep those hands far away from your face.
Tips to Stop Touching Your Face
1. Learn Why You Touch Your Face
Touching your face doesn’t stop at scratching an itch; Emotional triggers may also play a part. Do you rub your hand across your forehead when frustrated? Or possibly rest your chin on your hand when deep in thought? Becoming more aware of when you touch your face can help you narrow down what triggers this behavior. You may consider asking someone to help you by pointing out every time you touch your face or setting reminders on your phone to help you break away from this habit. Or try using a scented hand sanitizer, soap, or lotion. Going in to scratch your cheek and smell something fragrant? If this helps you put your hand back down, you better believe it’s not vanilla you’re smelling; It’s the sweet smell of victory!
2. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Many people touch their face as an anxious behavior. In such a stressful time, it may seem like not touching your face is almost impossible. If you determine stress triggers you to involuntarily touch your face, finding ways to manage stress are key to stopping. Try stepping away from what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths. You may consider taking up meditation or work to become more mindful. Adopting a more mindful mentality can help you feel more present in the moment, and thus, more aware of your actions. Anything that works to make you feel less stressed is one step closer to not touching your face. Click here to learn more about managing stress.
3. Pick Up a Competing Behavior
If you feel the need to touch your face, find something else to occupy your hands or draw your attention elsewhere. Scientists have even suggested physically sitting on your hands or clasping them in your lap to help fight the urge to touch your face. Another option is to keep a stress ball or fidget spinner within arms reach - Just remember to wash it regularly!
4. Use a Tissue
If you find there’s no way around not touching your face, there are a couple things you can do instead. Start by keeping a box of tissues handy. If you feel an itch coming on or have an eyelash in your eye, use the tissue to resolve or remove the irritant. Always dispose of the tissue immediately and thoroughly wash your hands.
5. Wear a Face Mask
The CDC recently recommended the use of cloth face masks to the general population to help flatten the curve. Face masks provide filtration to help protect against harmful droplets, but they also create a barrier between your face and hands. When you have something covering your face, you think twice before touching it. Shop our favorite cloth face masks here. Just make sure you are wearing your mask properly and aren't touching the outside of your mask! Click here to learn more about face masks.
How to Safely Touch Your Face
Of course, there are times when you have to touch your face. You can touch your face —just make sure your hands are thoroughly clean first. Make sure to wash your hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds before washing your face, putting on your makeup, taking out your contacts, or doing any other activity where face-touching is necessary.
To Sum Up…
It’s definitely not uncommon to be a serial face-toucher. However, this is one habit everyone should work on breaking to help keep ourselves and others from coming in contact with coronavirua. Have any other tips to help us and others combat continuous face-touching? Let us know in the comments section below!