How Clothing Therapy Can Help Your Mood.
Ok, so the majority of us have experienced "cabin fever" of late and no doubt have felt that we are being pulled this way and that with family needs, work commitments/worries and generally feeling like we 'should have' made better use of our time. Watching Tiger King and drawing eyebrows on your pets (yes it's a thing) only provided a temporary distraction.
Throw onto the pile, your mood swings and then trying to get a hair appointment and what you have is a potential ticking time bomb set to explode, unexpectedly now we feel that we are being released back into the world slowly.
Granted the daily 30 mins of the outdoors, be it a walk, trot or bike ride can delay your screams for a bit, but I want you to realise that there are ways you can give yourself some respite as well as actively working on 'you' whilst you're at it. What's more, you don't have to spend a penny and you already have the tools at home and they're waiting for you folded, sitting or hanging. Enter clothes therapy.....
Er no, this is not the same as retail therapy, though that also has it's place for some. I'm talking about how your clothes, as well as shoes, bags, jewellery and that favourite lippy can help boost your mood, give you inspiration and even set the ball rolling for further actions.
As an Image Consultant and Coach with an holistic approach to ones self and body image, it's important to understand where I'm coming from on this. I generally link the following three areas of self development - the mind (what you think about yourself), the body (what you're actually rocking) and the wardrobe (your clothes and style presets) as a process to help you identify, embrace and utilise what you already have in order to grow and work from the inside out positively.
In the case of Clothing Therapy (that's what I call it), I'm going to share with you 5 ways that you can plant positive seeds with what you already own, from today.
1) START YOUR DAY WITH INTENTION
Let's be honest, most of us have probably not given our external image much focus recently and may well have used the isolation experience to experiment with bright hair dyes or undergone the scissors under the instruction of YouTube.
For the most part, pj's, dressing gowns and lounge wear were most appealing, but did you know that the action of getting dressed and putting on clothes mindfully can actually help you focus and feel motivated? It's an activity that feeds your self image positively by nurturing your value because you are indeed WORTH THE EFFORT.
Ok, so clothes for some of us are just pieces of cloth stitched together to cover up our modesty as well as being functional protection from the elements, but they also serve as non verbal cues to the outside world about who we are.
It's also a fact that when you wear something you love and feel good in, it will actively help you to perform better. Think about compliments you get, pride from uniforms and kits and professionalism you may feel from wearing certain clothes and these are just a few examples.
So let's do a few things to help us tap into our happy whilst we're at home and from the moment we decide to get up.
Dress to match your emotion - If you've woken up feeling perky and fairly contented then it's a great idea to keep that going, so reach for garments that reflect that happy. Your feel good stuff but something other than what you wore to bed please if you're not going out today.
Dress to change your mood - When you awake and feel anxious, unhappy or pretty 'meh' then you can consciously pick out things from your wardrobe, drawers and jewellery box that will put a smile on your face. Think colourful, bright and/or anything with positive associations or memories to them.
Dress for your day ahead - If you've laid in bed and considered what you want to do with your day or are still working from home, then dress for your tasks or goals. For example, if you have virtual meetings scheduled, then dress as if you were still in the office. You don't need to go full suited and booted as it were, but you will feed your focus and get you in the zone, not to mention show your professionalism and commitment to clients or employees if you make an effort.
It's also an optical plus to giving a focal point to your face, neckline and top half at least with a natty necklace or pop of pattern, this will spread the joy and lift morale for all parties. Alternatively if you want to tidy the garden, put your scruffs on as soon as you can so that the momentum kicks in and you will focus on the task in hand rather than get distracted in your pj's. Same goes for any exercise you want to do, yoga, a run etc.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing the duvet days and sitting around in your comfies because sometimes they serve us well and help us to relax. However, if you find it's becoming more commonplace then it may feed your melancholy and leave you feeling lost and without focus.
Alternatively, you could treat yourself to a pair of special 'slump day' pj's or lounge-wear sets that will help you feel more valuable on 'those days'. So a hearty slogan, a sprinkling of sequins or a bright print could do the trick for you.
2) ENCLOTHED COGNITION IS A SUPER POWER
Some may argue that "clothes do not maketh the man" but I want to point out that they sure do seem to have magical effects..
Enclothed cognition is a fancy term for "The systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes" (Adam Galinsky) As we know clothes can have symbolic meanings eg. doctors white coats and a policeman's uniform - an officer of the law in pink or a pilot in his pj's, I don't think we'd feel the same way about their roles?
Plus, we can emotionally feel differently wearing certain things - a suit in an interview or that little black dress on a date can help us hit the road running.
Therefore, as we've touched on earlier, you can pop on something you already own to mimic positive feelings. A top that's always rewarded you with compliments (feel attractive), a lucky t'shirt (feel confident) or gifted piece of jewellery (feel loved).
3) EMBRACE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
This is an easy thing to do and fun at that. I wan't you to go up into your bedroom or dressing room, open those wardrobe doors and reach for the item, intuitively, that fills you with the most joy when you look at it and/or when you wear it.
You can do this first thing and put it on for the rest of the day, or you can just get it out and enjoy it. Think about why you love it? Is it the colour, the fit, the pattern or something else? Maybe you have a positive association with it because of how it made you feel?
Was it a gift from a loved one or a treasured heirloom? Did you wear it to a fabulous event or get many compliments when you don it? Mindfully, sit with all of those lovely memories and feelings and know that you can access them anytime and when you need them going forward after we are released from our homes. They are your foundations to 'wearing your happy' and should be loved and appreciated, even if they don't have a use at the moment.
Wear the shoes, swish about in the holiday maxi, rock the sexy undies or strut around in your little black dress. This can apply to your potions and lotions drawer and all those lovely scents and products you love. Give them a whirl. You can't beat a face-pack and a good book.