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Dress to Cope

By Blogger
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I admit it. I can be a slob.

I’ll also admit this: I just said that to be dramatic and get your attention! But it is at least partly true. I work at home and it’s easy to avoid shaving and to wear old jeans and a t-shirt that has seen better days.

I just completed a not-so-fun round of 24-hour something-or-other; maybe it was food poisoning, maybe it was a bug of some sort, but I was sick as a dog. I'm rarely sick, even with all of the traveling that I do, so it hit me all the harder. This morning the stomach ache was gone and I felt better so I puttered around the house doing what I normally do but I still didn't feel quite right. After I showered, though, I felt GREAT! That's when it occurred to me: I feel better when I'm neat and clean... DUH! And I can easily see how this can help us cope.

When my wife was in the middle of her cancer treatments, I didn’t really care what I looked like when I was working around the house. I felt grubby, and didn’t care because I had more important things to do. But maybe I did.

When I feel “unkept” and I haven’t shaved for a while and my hair is askew, I’m not operating at 100 percent. At some level of consciousness it weighs me down, and I have discovered that if I just go to the trouble of wearing clothes that are nicer than my “painting jeans” and shave and trim my beard, that I feel better about myself and I am much more effective at everything I do.

I have always known how important it is to feel good about yourself. I watched my wife get her nails done throughout her treatment, every two weeks without fail. No matter what side effects she was enduring she could always look at her nails and feel that little nudge that only these types of things can give us. It didn’t make her jump out of bed and do a dance while she vomited from her chemo, but it helped a little.

When you are feeling stressed and need some quick relief, take a shower, do your hair and make up (if you "do" your hair and makeup, that is... I certainly don't!), and put on some clean clothes. It will help.

Little things add-up to make a big difference, and don’t we need as many advantages as we can get?

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I work at home, and I start early in the morning. It is so easy to get up, grab some coffee and get to work on the computer wearing the T-shirt and shorts or sweat pants that I wore to bed. A few hours later when my shift is finished, I usually have chores that need doing around the house -- kitchen chores, cleaning up the yard after the dogs, laundry, etc -- and it seems weird to dress better for those! It's only when I'm leaving the house to run errands or meet a business person that I am conscious of actually cleaning myself up.

But you are SO right in how it makes me feel when I do. Before, I've thought "It's just me, what's the point?" Now, I will try to think, "I should, because it's just me!" I will give it a go. We feel more professional and more a part of the world when we have cleaned up a little, even when we're not going out.

Food for thought. Thank you!

October 23, 2009 - 10:09am
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