Here in the UK, we’re in lockdown 3.0 and a lot of people are at home right now – but really, this has been the case for many for coming up to a year. A whole year! Whether you are working at home, furloughed or unemployed, the chances are you’re currently spending at least 90% of your time in your house. Things may feel a little bleak, but how are you showing up for yourself?
You might be wondering what the hell I’m on about, so allow me to explain. One way of showing up involves conducting the minimum daily self-care duties such as washing your face and brushing your teeth before sitting in your tracksuit all day. Another consists of dressing up the nines complete with normal or even professional clothing, hair brushed and styled, with a full face of make up (who the hell are you people, do you really exist?!). Or, if you’re anything like some people I know (not me, honest), it might involve staying in the same pyjamas all day and night, and generally festering in your own filth without a care in the world.
I started thinking about this as I listened to an episode of The Life Coach School – one of my favourite podcasts right now – on the topic of ‘showing up’. In this episode, the host Brooke talks about when she first started out, she was just at home on calls all day so often stayed in her comfies and didn’t make any effort to do her hair or make up. After all, nobody can see her, so what does it matter?!
Apparently, it does matter. Like any sane human looking to gather a vast array of opinions on an issue, I headed straight for Twitter to see what the general consensus was, and I was surprised to find that a lot of people are doing things differently to me! People are getting up and dressed… in work clothes… to sit in their home all day. People are behaving exactly how they would in the real world, because it apparently boosts their productivity and ability to work. I was baffled. Am I missing a trick?!
Does it really boost productivity?
I believe that showing up for yourself can change the way you approach the day, shifting you into a mindset where you’re ready to tackle things, and maybe boosting productivity. But it’s you that gets to determine what that looks like and I think it only boosts productivity if it works for you. For me, sitting at home in a shirt, blazer and pencil skirt would do diddly squat for my productivity. But what does help me is to brush my teeth, run a brush through my hair before shoving it back up on top of my head, and shower or at least wash my face first thing in the morning. That’s more than enough to set me up for the day I’m about to spend in my house.
There is something though, that no matter what, will always boost my mood and perhaps productivity. I’m wearing it right now and feeling amazing and like I could single-handedly conquer the entire world.
What is it you ask?
For me, it’s not the formal wear or doing my hair, or putting a full face of make up on and doing myself up that makes me feel productive, it’s a delightful golden glow from a bottle.
It’s funny what makes people tick.
SHOWING UP FOR YOURSELF OR OTHER PEOPLE?
Brooke’s opinion was that showing up professionally dressed with a full face of make up and hair done will always help you feel and look more professional. She has strong opinions on how people should and shouldn’t dress in certain scenarios, and it really got me thinking. Do people really value professionalism based on how we look, even in a world where we’re spending pretty much all of our time at home? Is there no lee-way given the circumstances in which we’re living? Does it really matter if you can’t be seen by anybody?
When it comes to other people and how they might judge you (especially if you’re in a job where you have to appear in a certain way), it’s an entirely different concept. I’m fortunate enough to be in a job that doesn’t require constant video calls with high-flying executives or people who care about these things, so I can just show up for myself and not others. My ability to do my job isn’t connected to how I look, but that’s a whole other rant (which can be found at the end of this post).
For the last year, I have worn nothing but tracksuits, hoodies and leggings, and on some days pyjamas whilst conducting my work at home and I’ve been doing just fine (well, as fine as somebody can do in the midst of a global pandemic). It has its downsides of course, the main being that being such a slob for the last year means that I wasn’t wearing my normal clothes and thus when I do put clothes on now, I’m slapped across the face with the stark realisation that I can no longer fit into them anymore because I’ve eaten junk and drank triple my body weight in wine for the last year. But other than that, I don’t believe it’s impacted my productivity or mindset. I haven’t tried the alternative, because I don’t want to, but I genuinely don’t think getting dressed up with hair and make up would make a difference to me.
How about you? Does your productivity increase when you’re dressed to the nines or are you happy enough in your activewear? Do you have a routine of ‘absolutely must-do’s before setting up for the day?
Let me know!
Whole other rant, as promised.
The topic of work uniform and appearance has bugged me for years. I think that in specific very professional or important settings, a dress code may be required, but in a general office setting where there’s no external meetings or reasons that looking smart might matter, I think it’s daft and antiquated. Working for yourself has a lot of perks, and one of them is not having to adhere to some ridiculous dress code rule that is apparently in place because it makes you do your job better. I call bullshit. You can rest assured that the work I produce in my joggers will be just as phenomenal as if I were sat behind my computer dressed in a power suit and heels (though I do love that look!) There’s plenty of time to dress nicely when life returns to normal, and even then, I’ll only change my ways when I’m actually leaving the house. For now, you can catch me behind my computer screen in a tracksuit, and absolutely owning it.