This piece sources from this article in the New York Times, written by Jenny Gross.
If we’ve learned anything from all this, it’s that we touch our face constantly. I remember learning that from the movie Contagion. Kate Winslet told us that the average human touches their face 2,000-3,000 times per day. Doesn’t that sound arrogant? I know it’s mostly itches and stuff, but it’s absurd that we can’t keep our hands off our faces.
But since the CDC came out and warned us against touching our faces so much, my face has become an itch factory. It’s all I think about. It feels like ants are climbing over my face and head at all times. I have flesh-eating skin diseases in my dreams. And I can’t do anything about it. It’s driving me insane.
Generously, the New York Times published a list of helpful tips for how to avoid touching your face. Let’s take a look:
Keep a box of tissues handy.
When you feel the urge to scratch an itch, rub your nose or adjust your glasses, grab a tissue and use that instead of your fingers.
Right, so we need something to act as a condom between our dirty fuckboi fingertips and our face vagina. But adjusting one’s glasses with a tissue is difficult. Tissues are hardly big enough to encompass an entire hand. A touch up here, a nose wipe there, sure. But it’s similar to pulling a hot dish out of the oven using a dish towel instead of an oven mitt. Risky! Towels and tissues are basically tiny curtains that have a tendency to slide off the fingers. And then you’re fucked. Like the oven mitt, use a glove instead. It will give you peace of mind.
Pause throughout the day to notice compulsive behavior. Once you’re more aware of when and why you’re touching your face, addressing the root cause can be an effective solution.
Putting Post-it notes around the house, or on your desktop, could also serve as helpful reminders.
Great idea. Here’s a trigger: reading 100 articles a day about not touching your fucking face. It’s the yawn effect: when someone yawns near you, you yawn too. When you read an article about not touching your face, your face immediately itches. If I had post-it notes around my apartment about not touching my face? Forget it. I might as well just wear my hands as a mask. If we could tone down the whole “don’t touch your face” campaign, we might forget that we have faces to touch.
Keep your hands busy.
Keeping your hands occupied with a stress ball or other object can reduce instances of touching your face and minimize triggers, doctors said… If you don’t have a stress ball to squeeze, mail to sort or laundry to fold, you could lace your hands together in your lap or find another way to actively engage them so you are not bringing them to your face as much.
Let me just dust off my old Fireball yo-yo. Can’t be sorting my mail on the way to the gym. And lacing my hands together in my lap? What is this, mass? The only healthy way to do this is to take up smoking. I’ve always heard that a big part of smoking addiction is needing something to do with one’s hands. Start ripping through packs of cigs and next thing you know, you won’t have touched your face for a week.
“My general advice would be that people should try to reduce their stress over all, as opposed to obsessively worrying about what they touch,” said Stew Shankman…
It is more effective, he said, to try to be in the present moment, practicing meditation and mindfulness exercises and focusing on your breathing.
*Flips table.* Don’t tell me to chill! I’m fucking chill! Chiller than you, Stew. What kind of fucking name is Stew anyway? Stu is fine—short for Stuart, like Stuart Little, which we all loved. But Stew? Like thick soup? Get out of here man. I’m not taking advice from comfort food.
Apparently if you just wash your hands all the time and sanitize, touching the face isn’t a huge deal. I can live with that.