Style as Self-care

clothe yourself in kindness

Self-care encompasses a universe of possible activities, and the ones you choose for yourself may be drastically different than the ones I choose for myself. Many women tell me that style seems like the opposite of self-care to them, a realm that involves judgment, rules, stress, comparison, and disappointment. And, of course, that is completely valid. No two people’s concepts of self-care will be identical. But here’s why I consider style to be a part of my own self-care regimen.

The look-good, feel-good loop

I’ve come to realize that this is more of a möbius strip than a mere connection, as one will feed the other and it doesn’t really matter where you begin. Personally, I find it easier to feel good if I look good first. Caring about how I present my physical self to the world makes me more present in my body. Presence in my body feeds itself, creating more care. The cycle of self-care feeding self-love creating more self-care allows me to broadcast a profile of self-respect and power. Also, it reminds me that I have some control over how I feel about myself.

The visible difference

I know that mantras and meditation, reading and discussion are invaluable tools for self-care and understanding but sometimes I want something hard and fast. If I’m feeling low, cleaning up and dressing up make me feel instantly better. Not healed, but better. I can see the change, and that makes it much easier to feel. Other forms of self-care are necessary to round out the process, but tending to my style is a great way to create a kick start.

The shift of focus

Wearing clothes that are uncomfortable or that fight my body can make me feel self-conscious, distracted, and cranky. Wearing clothes that are comfortable, make me feel powerful or graceful, or highlight what I love about my body can help me focus on the positive. It’s tied into the one less thing to worry about concept, but also stands on its own. Feeling chic and put-together really helps me shift focus from worry to accomplishment.

My self-care regimen includes monitoring my schedule to avoid overbooking, regular walks, long talks with my husband, family and friends, and gobs of sunscreen. My self-care regimen includes reading for pleasure, monthly brunch with my self-employed ladyfriends, and making sure I get at least an hour of lap-time with my cats on a daily basis. But my self-care regimen also includes dressing in ways that make me feel creative, centered, and sophisticated. Because tending to my style feels both pleasurable and rewarding.

This is a refreshed and revived post from the archive.

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2 Responses to “Style as Self-care”

  1. Isa Mclaren

    I’ve recently made a major change to my life and style as self-care has been a crucial element in the healing process. I spend time each evening preparing my outfit for work the next day. I take care of my clothes because I don’t have money to spend on new ones. I re-style and re-combine outfits, again because no money for new clothes. Also, I find mixing things up to be really fun. It’s a night-time ritual that makes mornings run smoothly because everything, including accessories, is ready for me to put on. No mad dashes looking in the dryer for clean underpants (okay, that still happens sometimes), no agonizing over what to wear instead of having a second cup of coffee. I head off to a job I love looking great and feeling great.

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