Getting dressed yields psychological benefits

By: Grace Coughlan, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

As COVID-19 furthers its reach, social distancing is the name of the game for people across the country. One of the many challenges that come with social distancing is, well, not being around other people. Social distancing can be quite an adjustment, especially when you’re forced to carry out your daily routine from your home.

Many universities and colleges across the country, including TU, have decided to finish the spring 2020 semester by switching to online classes. Distance learning is a change for professors and students, who are now learning how to communicate through sites like Google Hangout, Blackboard Ultra Collaborate, Zoom, and many more. All of these face-to-face communication platforms raise the question as to whether or not you should be getting dressed to go to your online class? 

Everyone is struggling with our new reality that we’ll have to endure for an unknown duration of time. A great number of students have had to move out of their dorms and apartments with short notice, while trying to get accustomed to online classes, and last but not least, practice the rules of social distancing (and being stuck inside with your family can get a little crazy). Is getting dressed for your 10 a.m. Zoom conference the most important thing to do? Students may find that getting dressed for your classes may help get through the long days of quarantine. 

It’s important that we’re all aware of our mental health during these chaotic times. What a lot of people don’t know is that keeping a schedule, or doing something as small as getting dressed in the morning can really improve your mental health. Megan Nesmith, a writer for Man Repeller, points out that what she wears reflects her moods in her article “I Decided to Dress Better to Pull Myself Out of a Funk.” 

I know the way I dress often reflects my emotional state; I slip in and out of clothes that change with the season, my mood, my job,” Nesmith says. “I can tell that, right now, what I am experiencing is a fundamental rearranging of my sense of self. I do not know how to present myself to the world anymore, and I do not know how to dress for this current life.” 

She talks about how it’s easy for anyone working from home, whether they are doing online classes or working from home, to take a look at their closet and ask themselves if it’s worth it to get dressed. 

What we wear each and every day, whether we think about it or we don’t, communicates something about yourself to where we are going each day. As you can imagine, as we’re all stuck in our homes everyday, we think why should we dress for anything other than contentment while we’re in the comfort of our homes? 

In a study conducted by Northwestern University in 2012, researchers found that wearing specific pieces of clothing can influence a person’s psychological well being and our performance. This is called “enclothed cognition” A lab coat can be associated with intelligence, the characterization of the lab coat is associated with positive effects. 

When I think of sweatpants or pajamas, I associate them with comfort and laziness. Comfort can be seen positively, but laziness is definitely a negative, especially when you’re trying to accomplish school work. 

So if you’re feeling unproductive and frustrated with the move back home, or all the online classes, or just the uncertainty of everyday life right now, put on those pair of jeans that are hidden under the mountain of leggings and sweatpants or that blouse in the back of the closet.

If there’s one easy thing you can add to your day to give yourself that sense of routine, getting dressed in the morning is an easy option.  

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