Confession: this is a topic we weren't sure we should talk about, until we realized it was affecting almost everyone we spoke with. It doesn't feel as urgent as the strain on our medical system or as imperative as the sacrifices made by essential workers who continue to put themselves at risk (and if you are one of those people, we'd like to say: thank you, thank you, thank you).
And yet, with about a month of shelter-in-place under our belts, and at least a month more looming towards us, we have to admit we feel... not cute. Not cute at all. Which seems silly, of course, when juxtaposed against the horrors of a global pandemic. However, since it looks like we're going to be in this new normal for a hot minute, it feels like the right time to unpack.
So, why are we all suddenly feeling extra bleh about ourselves? We offer some insight via the following hypotheses:
1. You're staring at yourself more.
Communication has gone completely digital, which means you are constantly staring at a grainy, unflattering video of yourself while you speak. Every time you log onto that company Zoom check-in or agree to FaceTime with friends and family, there's your face — from perhaps an angle you'd never considered and almost certainly in an unforgiving light.
The fix: You don't usually see yourself when you're speaking to others, so why continue to do it now? We recommend hiding the video of yourself yourself when you video chat. If Zoom is your technology of choice, right-click your video to display the menu, then choose Hide Myself. You will no longer see the video of yourself, even though others in the meeting can see video of you.
2. You're not yourself.
Why do your hair and makeup if no one's going to see it, right? While time at home can certainly be a great opportunity to give your face and hair a much needed product break, if a little makeup and heat styling is part of your typical routine, you probably won't feel like yourself if you cut it out completely. There's no need to do a full contour and curl (unless that's your thing), but the reason we love our beauty routines is because of they way they make us feel. Put simply: when you put time and effort into your appearance, you feel good, and when you feel good, every area of your life improves.
The fix: Do something that makes you feel pretty. Whether that's blow drying your hair, swiping on some mascara, or dabbing a little highlighter on your cheekbones, make time for a little morning primp — even if nobody is going to see it but you.
3. You're living in sweats.
If "getting dressed" now means changing out of nighttime pajamas and into to daytime pajamas, we are right there with you, sister. On the one hand, it feels like a gift to wear comfortable pants and bra-optional sweatshirts on a daily basis. On the other hand, the lack of clear transition from off-duty to on-duty can have an impact on your productivity. According to Forbes, it doesn't necessarily matter what you wear — if the outfit you're wearing is designated as work apparel, you'll increase your focus and produce higher quality work. Whether that work is taking care of your family or responding to a long list of emails, you will feel better about yourself (appearance included) if you're performing at the top of your game.
The fix: Designate "work clothes" for daytime. They don't have to be uncomfortable or traditional, they just can't consist of any items you would ever consider wearing to sleep. Make the distinction, commit to the process, and reap the benefits.
4. You're consuming a lot of social media.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and it's also the force that powers social media. If you didn't already know from personal experience, researchers have found that social media consumption plays a causal role in depression and loneliness. However, with more time at home and a moratorium on socializing, it has never been more tempting to log on and check in.
The fix: If you're having trouble setting healthy limits, set your phone to black and white mode. If you have an iPhone, you can do this by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters. Turn "Color Filters" on, and you'll see an option for greyscale at the top. This will stifle the subconscious pull these apps have on your brain (color has a lot to do with it) and will also make the images far less appealing if you do open the apps.
5. You're feeling the pressure.
Chances are, you're feeling stressed. And, uh, rightfully so. Every single one of us is dealing with a lot of unknowns, fear, and big changes that weren't necessarily on our radar even a month ago. But here's the thing: beauty is a reflection of how you feel inside, and if right now the way you feel inside is... icky, then you might not love what you see in the mirror.
The fix: First, cut yourself some slack. Second, focus on easy changes you can incorporate into your routine that will make you feel good. Maybe that's going for a walk every morning, calling up an old friend to reconnect, listening to an upbeat song, or simply turning off the news for a bit. The more you invest on the inside, the more you'll see beauty on the outside.
Giving back, whether it's via donations or volunteer work, is another fantastic way to combat the "ick". Click here for a list of organizations.
How are you feeling? Got any tips for getting through tough times? Let us know in the comments below!