Covid Lockdown: Here’s how dressing up will help drive the depression blues away
While we don’t really experience Spring in India, the current weather is the perfect transition from the chilly winters to the scorching summers. However, the government-mandated lockdown, on account of the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has taken over the world, has forced people indoors and everyone is refraining from venturing out. And if they do, it is for stocking up on essentials or for medical purposes. So all our reasons for getting dressed up have disappeared, people are either indoors lounging in their pyjamas or if they do head out, they are covered head to toe, protective face mask and all. So fashion seems to have jumped out the window, even the posts that Bollywood celebrities post now are nothing like their professionally shot photographs from the past. Now even the celebrities seem more accessible than ever as they post videos of themselves washing dishes, cleaning their houses, mopping the floors, among other chores, all in their pyjamas, loungewear or athleisure outfits. However, all this staying indoors may have you feeling a little low, from boredom as well as lack of social interactions, and let’s admit it, even the biggest loners among us are now craving human contact. And while one may feel like caving into these feelings, there are simple ways in which you can brighten your mood and hopefully pause the existential crises we are collectively going through together. It’s not just philosophical anymore.
As fickle as it may sound, looking good makes you feel good, and while we are all finally living our dream of lounging in our pyjama all day, working from home in our boxers, showering and back into a fresh pair of jammies, it may now be time to break the cycle. Most of those in social isolation are working from home, and this makes it impossible to switch up their routine. You wake up, you slouch in front of your laptop for hours fearing the thought of that ‘con call’ later with your boss - for which you suit up your top half, hoping to sneak in a nap that ends with snack time. Finish the workday and then Netflix/Read/Social Media till you hit the hay at 4AM. There is no time to switch it up, maybe there is, but we are all too sad to do anything productive. However, there’s always time to change your outfit and look a little presentable. Writer Joe Pinkster explains the concept of ‘dressing up the brain’ which means that if you dress better it can completely change your thought process. A scientific study conducted at California State University by psychology professor Abraham Rutchick also backs this theory. The study confirmed that “putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world”. The study by Rutchick and his co-authors revealed how formal clothes make people think more ‘broadly and holistically, rather than narrowly and about fine-grained details’.
In another study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the term “enclothed cognition” was used to ‘describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes’. In the study, the researchers got subject to wear white coats which they were made to believe belonged to doctors. While wearing said coats the subjects were more attentive, however when they were told the coat belonged to a painter they relaxed and didn’t focus like before. However, clothing’s psychological effects have only been researched in a few instances where the brain makes sense of stimuli.
And though for the intellectuals this may seem like such a ‘basic’ suggestion, and yes ‘why do appearances matter?’ and whatnot. But it was the legendary author Mark Twain himself who said, “Clothes make a man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” And it holds true. We are all guilty of judging people based on how they are dressed, and guage everything from job profile and financial status, to character and upbringing, simply based on how they’re dressed. Talk about don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, not just the type of clothes, but also the colours you choose have an effect on your mood psychologically.
Red clothing: Red is associated with power, passion, and romance and promotes feelings of positivity.
Yellow clothing: Think the colour yellow, and it will instantly make you think of sunny days. The happy, cheery colour promotes creativity.
Blue clothing: The colour of the sky and the ocean has a relaxing and calming effect on your mood.
Black clothing: While black may not be a very positive colour it does make people look more serious and professional, so you know what colour to get out when you’re logging in for those ‘con’ calls.
Purple clothing: The original colour associated with royalty, go for purple if you want a more sophisticated look.
Green clothing: You know how eye doctors advice to look at some greenery when you’ve been staring at the computer/television/iPad screen for too long? Well, the colour green is extremely calming and relieves stress. So don’t go green with envy, go green being stress-free.
So if you’re feeling down in the dumps on account of the Covid-19 lockdown, being away from family, having to work from home, or any other reason, all you have to do is get yourself up and get dressed, and it will definitely improve your mood if not completely turn your day around.