The Power of Making an Effort With Your Appearance

Originally, I had planned to write about getting dressed when you work from home. When I say work from home, I include those of you who don’t have a work from home job per se. Maybe you’re a stay at home parent, on sabbatical, studying from home or unemployed.

I think most of you probably had a taste of staying at home in 2020, whether you had to work from home or put on leave or worse. Given the upheaval, I’m sure there were many pyjama days. Dress formal on top and wear boxers or pyjama pants on the bottom anyone?

Not judging you at all if you did this. I attended an online job interview last year with a formal jacket on and then wrapped in a fluffy blanket on the bottom. I was getting cold.

But there is also a danger of neglecting your appearance during times of ongoing stress or when you’re really tired. Whether you work at home or in an office you need to travel to. This is especially the case for those of us who aren’t the face of the company or who don’t meet with clients and investors.

I know, because I have been there.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we need to tap into vanity and become superficial or rely on our appearances to make everything right. And if you work just fine in your jammies, cool. Not everyone likes to get dolled up and no one has to if they don’t want to.

But making an effort doesn’t necessarily mean putting on makeup or gelling your hair to within an inch of its life. Sometimes, it’s simply getting dressed, brushing your hair, and of course the things necessary for hygiene.

Sadly, for some people who are struggling with depression or other mental disorders, even doing these simple every day things like brushing their hair is like climbing a steep and very high mountain. If this is your situation, don’t be afraid to get help. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. And you don’t have to feel like this forever. A GP, a psychiatrist, psychologist, and even counsellors at a church or helpline can start the healing process or direct you to someone who can give you the help you need.

For the rest of us, it’s a case of being lazy, or the mentality of no one’s going to see me, so why bother. Or if you had been working a corporate job and hate your suits, screaming FREEEEEEDOOOOOM with joyful abandon was probably what you did, at least in your head. Happy dance anyone?

I think a lot of companies have seen the benefits of telecommuting at least on some days and so more people may be working from home, at least some of the time, than ever before.

Why I Make an Effort Most Days of the Week Despite Working From Home

Not getting dressed in a way that you would be comfortable being seen in public constantly, takes a toll. Whether that’s emotionally or mentally or physically.

For Better Emotional and Mental Health

When I was doing my hours to get my group fitness qualification, I went to the gym twice a day to hurry it along. Sometimes three times a day… one day I will have to write an article on overtraining. It’s a thing.

But the point is, I didn’t have a job since I’d left my “outside job” as I like to refer to it to find what I really wanted to do. I just wore workout clothes all day, every day. And for the first week or two, this was great! I felt so chuffed, like yeah, I was made to do this and dress just like this all the time! I am going to be a fitness professional, fist pump!

But after that, I started feeling a little out of sorts. Some of it was the overtraining to be fair. But it was more internal. I just felt a little, bla. Not meh, not bleh, just bla.

I thought back to the time when I was very unhappy at work, stressing at home too, and everything felt overwhelming. Seriously, I am not really a crying person, although perhaps that’s not true any more, between hormones and adulting, I’ve gone from crying like once or twice a year, to like 4 or 5 times a year 🙈😂

Anyway, I was crying a lot. As in I’d be sitting there eating breakfast and then tears would randomly start rolling down my face. I’d sneak off to the bathroom at work and have a cry. I’d be watching an episode of whatever, and I’d be crying even if it wasn’t a sad show. And because I didn’t cry often, I would keep on crying, or at least my eyes did, for like another half an hour after I stopped.

Naturally this resulted in me crying at my desk at times with the staff and colleagues looking at me every few seconds and coming to ask me if I’m okay. I hated that, felt super embarrassed. Crying in public ain’t my thing. I was a bit of a wreck if I’m honest. A real quarter-life crisis.

The first thing that I stopped doing? Putting on makeup.

Eventually, I also stopped exercising regularly which resulted in some weight gain.

At some point, I realised this freaking sucks and I look really lacklustre. So every morning, I would put on some makeup, even if it was just eyeliner. Of course, I didn’t feel amazeballs after that. But I did feel marginally better. This, plus support from my friends and family and the grace of God helped me to get through that time.

If anyone is wondering, things eventually got sorted out at work and home. I still didn’t like my job, but I wasn’t breaking at the seams any more.

Back to the workout like crazy time.

So one day, I got home, had a rinse in the shower and put on my normal clothes. By normal, I mean jeans and a casual long sleeve top. I put on some eyeliner and brushed my hair out and let it hang loose.

Wow! What a difference. I’m not even kidding. Instantly I went from bla to my casual and better looking self.

So no need to get dressed up as if you’re going to parade your outfit on the catwalk. With just a little bit of effort and wearing something that I felt comfortable in and looked decent and even fairly good in did the trick.

So now, most days I make an effort. I sometimes have cosy tracksuit days and pyjama days. Sometimes, I couldn’t give a crap about putting makeup on or doing anything with my hair. But I don’t let this become my norm.

For a Better Work Mindset and Productivity

Plus scientists say that dressing up puts you in the right mindset for work. After all, our brains are probably wired to associate pj’s with sleep and relaxation.

Work clothes are associated with work.

I haven’t felt hampered by my jammies those few times I didn’t bother getting dressed first or from dressing casually. Working from home just works with my personality and if I am enjoying the work or an approaching deadline makes some fire under my butt, I can work like boss.

Having said that, formal is just not my thing. I like it now and then, but not all the time. I often chose to work in places where the dress code was casual. So maybe that’s why too.

My husband who also works from home is often super casual to the point of being a professional jammie wearer and he is the most productive person I know. He is also almost twice more introverted than me. So hmmm.

For other people, it might be that you need to get dressed to maintain a productive work mindset. If you are struggling a bit, try it out and see.

So yeah, I am that crazy person who wears makeup at home and now and then, especially if I am alone at home, I get dressed up in my fabulous booties or put on some beautiful earrings or I do my hair in a pretty style and put on eyeshadow and/or lipstick and mascara to go with that eyeliner. Things I would usually only do when I go out or those crazy looks I’m not brave enough to wear in public yet.

Nothing wrong with looking good for yourself. I know I feel better when I approve of what I see in the mirror. That’s my vanity creeping in. But seriously, most of us feel good when we look good.

Plus, sometimes my husband looks appreciative too if I’ve put on that lipstick he likes or my hair is in a style that I know he likes.

I also try to eat healthy most of the time and exercise regularly and make sure I have enough downtime- because I am worth it.

So are you 💖

Make a little effort with your appearance even if it’s just brushing your hair or putting on casual clothes instead of staying in pyjamas.

Feature image by: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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