Our society leads us to believe that we’re meant to smell like coconut and cool cucumbers from morning until night, despite the millions of things our bodies and minds are doing at any given moment. We’re constantly walking, thinking, working, processing, all of which generate sweat. Because guess what, humans sweat.
We sweat a lot in our daily lives. In fact, the only areas on our body where we don’t have any sweat glands are our ears, nails, and lips. While different activities trigger different kinds of sweat, all come with the same negative feeling that somehow sweating is dirty and gross. Why is this human and natural process treated with a dose of shame?
The answer is we’re conditioned to strive for cleanliness, as apparently, that will make us more desirable.
Regardless of how this learned behaviour came about, feeling shame around sweating is a natural reaction and your feelings about it are valid. When you’ve spent your entire adult life being told body odour is something to hide and disguise, how could you not feel a little embarrassed when you catch a whiff of yourself?
Feeling shame around our body’s natural odour is a learned behaviour. Fortunately, anything that can be learned can also be unlearned.
So how do we begin to unlearn this behaviour?
– Understand why we sweat. There are differences between psychological sweat and cooling sweat, and how you manage the two may vary.
– Let your body self-regulate. Blocking sweat glands with ingredients such as aluminum in antiperspirants doesn’t give your body the chance to learn how to regulate its own temperature. Essential oils such as rosemary and sage assist in the body’s natural sweat regulation.
– Get to know how your body smells, you might find you like it! Your shame might be stemming from unfamiliarity with your body and what it’s doing for you, so stick your nose in your armpit next time you want to hide and experience first-hand how wonderful your natural scent can be.
– Wear clothing you feel comfortable and confident in, that allows for proper ventilation and space as the fabric isn’t smushed right up into your armpits.
– Talk about it. The best way we can dismantle societally learned behaviours is by talking about them with our peers, breaking through the ingrained beliefs to come out the other side.
The information in this post was adapted from various Nala Care social media posts. Please follow @nalacare for more amazing info on loving your body.