words Alexa Wang
Lockdown has impacted our confidence in many different ways. We may have struggled to adapt to working at home and feel like our performance suffered, got used to being isolated and not mixing with other people, or generally feel nervous about leaving the house and getting back to a busy schedule.
It’s time to go back to the age-old tactic of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ – a popular saying we’re all familiar with. When feeling unconfident, faking confidence is simply acting out the changes that you want yourself to develop. Instead of reflecting on low self-esteem and putting yourself down, pretending you’re confident will help you overcome these challenges.
Interestingly, fashion is a brilliant way to do this. You can convey yourself a certain way and give the impression that you are a confident individual.
The impact of fashion on confidence
Especially since remaining indoors for the best part of a year, we may feel like we’ve lost a sense of our style and what is currently fashionable. We may feel uninspired due to a lack of self-care that makes us feel strong and confident – fashion should never be underestimated in helping this. Being used to sitting at our computers or on the sofa in joggers and a hoodie, we might not feel our usual sociable and hardworking selves. Self-care, with fashion that suits our personality and social setting, is extremely important to our mental well-being and can reduce levels of stress and anxiety. That and making us look good, too! Just think how good a stylish pair of sandals make you feel on holiday!
Still prioritise free time if you’re not feeling sociable
Not ready for post-lockdown life? Just because things are opening up, you shouldn’t feel pressured to force yourself into social situations if some days you just want a bit of alone time. Ease back into normality but also prioritise your free time and self-care. If your mental health will benefit, ditch the pub for a night in watching your favourite series. There are some people who aren’t ready for the social side of normality, as they’ve got used to the rules they’ve been living under.
If you picked up new hobbies and interests in lockdown, you should still make time for these and shouldn’t feel like you need to sacrifice them for things you did pre-COVID. Try to slowly reintroduce everything into your schedule and find where things can fit in your new life. If you can’t do the same things as often as you once did, don’t worry – adapt your time between different things that you enjoy.
Getting back to the grind
Soon, it’ll be time to drop the sweats and get back into your glad rags for the office. Many businesses are expecting a hybrid working model, where we alternate between working at home and at the office. If this will apply to you, you can ease back into dressing smart – if you’ll be back full-time, you should plan your work outfits now to get your head in the game.
When you look good, you feel better about your day. As you will be feeling confident about your appearance, you might be more inclined to engage with your colleagues and speak up first in meetings. Interactions may be more positive – you may be more confident about your decisions and feel less stressed overall. You should sort through your current work clothes and sell or give any to charity that don’t empower you. Reinvent your work self with new smart clothing, buying the most powerful garments for days you know you need to bring your A-game. You could even dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Confidence is a journey and doesn’t always come easy to some. But by trying to remain positive and recognising your abilities, you can help yourself get there. It’s important to remember that once, before lockdown, you lived in the world we are about to return to. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling, and if dressing the part isn’t helping as well as you anticipate, then that is okay too. If you feel stressed, hectic, and fast-paced, relish the opportunity to slow down and take some time to yourself when you’re not working.
Focus on getting into the swing of things at work. Once you’re actually back in the office, the familiarity will soon return to soothe your worries. Take some time alone to enjoy things that helped you in lockdown so that you can ease into normality.