It was November of 2021, and as I moved further and further into a pandemic winter season, I found the dreary weather and bitter cold was having a negative impact on my morale. The work-from-home culture I had grown so accustomed to made it incredibly tempting to fall into a pattern of neglecting my personal health and physical appearance.
As a result, I noticed an unhealthy pattern of wearing the same set of pajamas to work in the morning, changing into a different set of loungewear for lunch, only to change back into the same set of pajamas after work.
Not only did I notice a steep decline in my productivity every time I did this, but also as a Catholic I found it harder to see myself as a daughter of God when I couldn’t feel confident in my own appearance.
I began to question it at a deeper level: If God loves me and created me in his image, shouldn’t I conduct myself in a way that reflects this reality? Shouldn’t I try to see myself the way that he sees me? It made me realize that my productivity was directly affected by my sense of self-worth.
So, after realizing the negative effects my too-comfortable routine had on me, I resolved to make a change. Little by little, I developed small habits to take better care of my personal appearance not for the sake of vanity, but my overall well-being.
After only a week, I noticed my work days going by faster and my spirits being much higher at the end of the day. Not only that, but my desire to nourish and take better care of my body directly affected the way I saw myself, giving me a deeper sense of inner peace I didn’t realize I had been craving.
These three new habits I developed to begin my day have made all the difference in my productivity, and positively shaped the way I see myself:
Picking out work attire the night before for each day.
I started carving out two minutes before bed and planning a more put-together outfit for the following day to break my habit of wearing sweatpants all day. Practically speaking, this saved me much more time in the morning, and it put me in a better mental space, allowing me to drink coffee leisurely while I say morning prayers or simply sit outside for a few minutes and prepare myself for the day.
Taking better care of my skin.
I used to wait until my lunch break to shower so that I could sleep in as much as possible, which only made me feel more tired. A brisk morning shower and face wash wakes me up quickly, and gives me a couple minutes to get in the right frame of mind for the day.
I’m not saying you need to adopt a 10-step skincare regimen, but I personally look forward to applying a few products I love that rejuvenate my skin each morning.
Eating a healthy breakfast — actually at breakfast time.
It seems simple, but this has been the most difficult for me to implement into my day. It’s not that I wasn’t eating breakfast before, but I was waiting until noon to finally make myself a full meal. Making an effort to feed myself early in the day increased my productivity and improved my mood, much to my roommates’ relief.
Whether it’s making time for a workout, having a spa night each week, trying a new face mask or skincare routine, or simply kicking back and treating yourself to some wine or a good cocktail, self-care is a practical step towards beating the pandemic winter blues.
When I nourish my body and put effort into my appearance, I acknowledge my worth and dignity as a daughter of God. In this way, I give glory to him in many small ways throughout the day, and experience an inward peace that only he can provide for me.