If you’re unemployed or working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be tempted to stay in your pajamas all day. Or perhaps you get up and shower only to slip on a comfy pair of sweats and twist your hair into a messy bun before going about your business.
Who could blame you? Aside from the occasional Zoom meeting or grocery store run, nobody besides your immediate family is going to see you. And if you do go out, you cover up with a face mask anyway.
Besides, going makeup-free is good for both your skin and your mental health, right?
Actually, it turns out that forgoing your typical dressing and grooming routines could be detrimental to your physical and mental well-being.
The Importance Of Routines
Getting dressed and putting on lipstick isn’t about looking good for your partner or even for the people on that Zoom call with you. Rather, maintaining your pre-lockdown grooming practices is all about sticking to a routine and lifting your mood.
We know. The usual agenda is out the window. Bedtimes, morning alarms and even calendars can often seem pointless during quarantine, especially as the days stretch into weeks and months. Fixing your hair and doing your makeup can seem meaningless when you’re not going any further than your couch.
However, experts have long touted the benefits of being organized and keeping a regular schedule. And your beauty routine could have numerous mental health advantages, too.
“By cultivating different looks, blending, mixing, and experimenting, you can practice creativity and art, which are often much-needed and encouraged past-times for those struggling with mental health,” eating disorder therapist and body image expert Temimah Zucker, LMSW told Business Insider.
Professionals also state that getting ready for work — even while working from home — can help you separate your personal life from your work life.
“Because we’re constantly interrupted by dings and pings, especially right now, we have fewer and fewer moments of flow in our daily lives,” Samantha Boardman, MD, told Refinery 29. “So when we can have these calm moments, when all of our intention is being directed into one area, and when we are using our hands, there’s something beautiful about the level of attention you’re bringing to something that makes you feel strong and good.”
The same can be said for clothing. Denise Green, a fashion anthropologist at Cornell University, says that what you wear can have a significant psychological impact. She says the lack of routine right now makes life surreal.
“[P]art of helping me to develop routine, and essentially a kind of coping mechanism for dealing with the uncertainty that we’re experiencing right now, is getting dressed every day,” Green told Marketplace.
Above All, Practice Self-Care
Remember that getting dressed, doing your hair and putting on makeup is something you can do for you. It can help provide some semblance of normalcy and a much-needed mood boost. In a world where so much seems to be out of control, it can be comforting to know you’re still in charge of how you look.
That said, there may be some days when you need to snuggle on the couch in your comfiest PJs and marathon-watch your favorite show, and that’s perfectly okay, too. Taking care of yourself and those you love is truly what matters most.