Working from home is comfortable yet it’s also monotonous and challenging. Here’s what dressing up can do for your mental health.
After an approximate year of remote work, we’ve all grown tired of the work from home debate, especially that argument where one group says you should get dressed up and the other vehemently refuse to. As is the case with most things, getting dressed up to work from home has its pros and cons.
While some people still make the effort to get dressed and to look sharp for their Zoom meetings, the majority of us settle with some form of sweatpants and a cute top, this one reserved for the days where we have video calls. But it’s also true that our collective mental health isn’t doing all that great and some psychologists believe there’s a correlation between this and the way we look.
“For a lot of us, there’s an internal message of ‘I care about myself,’ and that’s going to look differently for different people,” psychologist Donna Novak told the Huffington Post. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit or some heels every day in your living room, but it does mean that a little effort can take you to a healthier mental space.
A trick that many people reference in order to commit to workouts is to put on workout clothes first thing in the morning. In a similar way, wearing a comfortable work outfit or putting on a small amount of make up can help you feel motivated and invigorated for the day, something that’s difficult to do when the situations that surround us are challenging.
Wearing different outfits can also help you draw some boundaries between your work life and your private life, with one look signifying work time and another letting you know that it’s okay to relax and stop checking your emails.
Emotional scientist and psychologist Tracy Thomas says that people with creative jobs might experience even more benefits than people who have more traditional roles. “Typically, the people who would have the most struggle with emotional issues are also the people who need to create. And if you’re not creating every day — including creating your own self with your different wardrobe and the way [you] adorn and decorate yourself — you’re essentially taking away part of your creative process and then that can create sadness and depression,” she said.
Still, if you want to get dressed up for remote work, the benefits only work when there’s no pressure on yourself, when dressing up doesn’t become a distressing activity. It all depends on the person; if dressing up and putting some effort in your look makes you feel better, go for it. If putting on sweatpants and a different shirt every day does the trick, well, then that’s even better for you: less laundry to deal with.