........... BRING THE OUTSIDE IN
OK, yes I know, that's normally got something to do with gardens and bringing nature into the home, but actually the principle is the same. We bring the outside in to make ourselves feel good, and dressing up can have the same effect. Making the effort to look good on the outside can help us to feel better on the inside. It's a temporary fix, but it does have its benefits.
Now I've done my time in baggy faded sweatshirts, comfy old lounging joggers and that old been there done that T-shirt, throw in that scruffy pair of UGG-style boots and a shiny face free of makeup and it sounds like a perfect match made in heaven with the sofa, popcorn and a good book. And that's fine, for an afternoon of self-care, but not so good when it becomes an every day way of life. Eventually how you look on the outside, ( old, scruffy, worn, rumpled, used, tired ), is how you start to feel on the inside.
So what's the point? Why get dressed up if you have nowhere to go?
Because getting dressed up is not about going out, it's about feeling good about yourself. Think about all those moments in your life when you felt good, a day out with friends, a promotion at work, a marriage - they didn't include 10 year old washed to the point of fading away comfy jogging pants.
Our bodies have this amazing ability called muscle memory, it's what enables us to ride a bike or roller skate even after years of being nowhere near wheels, but it is also what prompts us to stand a little taller in a smart dress, walk a little better in nice shoes, create better posture in a shirt and tie, and as we physically put ourselves into these upgraded clothes, our minds follow; we subconsciously remember how we felt last time we wore something smart and felt good about it. Our minds have created these associations between the positive emotions and the outer accoutrements that we were wearing, and we just need to prompt that muscle memory.
This is one of those you have to try for yourself. Put on something that you consider to be 'too good' for everyday wear, a pretty dress, a smart shirt, trousers instead of jeans, smart shoes instead of flip flops. You might want to go out and share how nice you look with other people, take yourself for a coffee, wander around the shops, pop in to see a friend or family member. Feeling better yet? Did putting on nice clothes make you feel like adding aftershave, or makeup, doing your hair a little nicer? Did it make you feel better?
Perhaps getting dressed up for a date night dinner at home with your partner could be something that you use as an excuse to sit together at the table to eat ( even if it is a take-away ), a way to spend some time together, to talk. Perhaps that new coat in the back of the wardrobe will give you the push that you needed to overcome that anxiety you've been feeling about sitting in a cafe and eating alone. Stride around purposefully in your smart shoes and you'll walk taller than in those scruffy sneakers, throw your shoulders back and look around you, keep that confidence with you for an interview or a meeting that you've been dreading.
These are small things, superficial you might say, but they can have a cumulative effect. All those tiny little positives that you already have to hand, you just need to pull them out, put them on and show them off a little.