By Vanessa B
Summer is in full swing and the world is gradually opening up again. As we emerge from life in lockdown and step out into the sun again, you’re not alone if you’re doing so with a small bit of trepidation about the return of a number of everyday things. Remember small talk? Non-elasticated waistbands? Passing the mic around the room at karaoke? A lot of things have changed and we live in a strange new world that we may feel strange in.
When in doubt, it might help to think of the old adage ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ – a popular saying we’re all familiar with. It’s not about being fake when feeling unconfident, but rather acting out the changes that you want yourself to develop, perhaps from the outside in. Instead of focusing on your perceived flaws and putting yourself down, sometimes a little make-believing that you are confident can help you overcome these challenges.
As many of us know, fashion is an excellent way to do this. You can both express yourself and convey yourself in whatever way you choose, creating a visual impression to complement and enhance your inner confidence,
The impact of fashion on confidence
Especially since remaining indoors for the best part of a year, we may feel like we’ve lost a sense of our style and what is currently fashionable. We may feel uninspired due to a lack of self-care that makes us feel strong and confident – fashion should never be underestimated in helping this. Being used to sitting at our computers or on the sofa in joggers and a hoodie, we might not feel our usual sociable and hardworking selves. Self-care, with fashion that suits our personality and social setting, is extremely important to our mental well-being and can reduce levels of stress and anxiety. That as well as making us look good, too! Just think how good a stylish pair of wedge sandals make you feel on holiday!
Back to the office
For many of us, it’ll soon be time to drop the sweats and get back into your glad rags for the office. Many businesses are expecting a hybrid working model, where we alternate between working at home and at the office. If this will apply to you, you can ease back into dressing smart – if you’ll be back full-time, you should plan your work outfits now to get your head in the game.
When you look good, you feel better about your day. As you will be feeling confident about your appearance, you might be more inclined to engage with your colleagues and speak up first in meetings. Interactions may feel more positive – you may be more confident about your decisions and even feel more put together overall. It can be a good practice to regularly sort through your current work clothes and sell or give any to a charity that doesn’t empower you. Reinvent your work self with new smart clothing, buying the most powerful garments for days you know you need to bring your A-game. Like they say: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Confidence is a journey and doesn’t always come easy. But by trying to remain positive and recognizing your abilities, you can help yourself get there. It’s important to remember that once, before lockdown, you lived in the world we are about to return to. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling, and if dressing the part isn’t helping as well as you anticipate, then that is okay too. If you feel stressed, hectic, and fast-paced, relish the opportunity to slow down and take some time to yourself when you’re not working.
Continue to prioritise free time if you’re not feeling sociable
Not ready for post-lockdown life? Just because things are opening up, you shouldn’t feel pressured to force yourself into social situations if some days you just want a bit of alone time. Ease back into normality but also prioritize your free time and self-care. If your mental health will benefit, ditch the pub for a night in watching your favorite series. Some of us aren’t quite ready yet for the social side of normality, having gotten used to the rules we’ve been living under.
If you picked up new hobbies and interests in lockdown, you should still make time for these and shouldn’t feel like you need to sacrifice them for things you did pre-COVID. Try to slowly reintroduce everything into your schedule and find where things can fit in your new life. If you can’t do the same things as often as you once did, don’t worry – adapt your time between different things that you enjoy.
Focus on getting into the swing of things at work. Once you’re actually back in the office, the familiarity will soon return to soothe your worries. Take some time alone to enjoy things that helped you in lockdown so that you can ease into a new normal at your own pace.