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What to Wear When You’re Feeling Down

A case of the blues every now and then is natural and normal. Whether it is work, a relationship, or too many bad weather days, life can get hard sometimes and cause feelings of mild sadness and depression.

In times like these, what you wear can either lift a depressed mood or exacerbate it; or so studies reveal. They suggest that a person’s wardrobe choices can be one component of good self-care when they’re feeling down.

How What You Wear Can Be Good Self-Care for a Case of the Blues

Good self-care can be critical to preventing a slide into full-blown depression that requires treatment. Getting regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and avoiding too much alcohol are some of the more frequently touted components of self-care for when one’s spirits are low. (If you’re finding it hard to cut down on drinking when you’re feeling down, explore how alcohol rehab may be able to help.)

Another less well-known form of self-care, though, is mindfulness about how to dress during an episode of low-grade depression. Here research has revealed some insights that run counter-intuitive to prevailing common sense about what to wear when you’re down. It turns out that putting on the comfiest clothing for a case of the blues can cause a person to feel worse.

Instead of following that inclination for baggy sweats or reaching for your PJs, psychologists like Dr. Alyssa Adomaitis, Ph.D., recommend dressing according to how you want to feel (as opposed to how you are feeling). On the basis of “role theory,” Dr. Adomaitis argued in an October 2019 article in HuffPost that people subconsciously dress “for the position ‘you want to portray.’” The implication: that people can dress to feel happier.

Other researchers have come to similar conclusions. For example, one study interviewed 100 women to learn what they wore when depressed versus what they wore when they felt happy or upbeat. In the first instance, the women wore baggy tops, jeans, a sweatshirt, or jumper; in the second instance—a favorite dress, jeans, or jewelry.

The researchers concluded that dressing up may help improve one’s emotional state. It would also seem from these results that when it comes to fashion choices that affect mood, one cannot go wrong with a pair of jeans.

Other Wardrobe Tips for a Case of the Blues

In addition to dressing up rather than dressing down, can you wear linen in winter colorful clothing as a pick-me-up. Color therapy experts say that bright, bold colors can boost one’s mood.

Also, try to dress comfortably. Skinny jeans and tight belts can cause abdominal pressure and digestive issues that add to stress, which in turn may aggravate feelings of anxiety (and depression). Similarly, 3” heels can be uncomfortable and taxing to walk around in. Nobody who is already feeling down needs that extra stress and pressure in their day.

Putting on a professional blouse or pair of shoes or trousers does not have to mean that you sacrifice feeling good in your clothes. And, feeling good in one’s clothes may be just that added boost needed to stop feeling blue and start feeling lighter and happier once again.

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