Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dressing the Part

These post-surgery days have been a very quiet, introverted time for me. It seemed that I wasn't thinking any deep thoughts and the idea of 'blogging' during that time was beyond me. I can tell that my brain is waking up at last and lots of little things that I had been thinking are rising to the surface now.

'Dressing the part' was an apt title for todays musings. The morning that I woke up with my symptoms running rampant, all I did was get dressed and put on my glasses. No shower, no contact lenses, no make up, no fuss or muss in any capacity. And I looked terrible. Now on the other side of the coin I did feel pretty rotten as well, but I really 'dressed the part' and amplified the visual impact.

While in the hospital, I knew that my contact lenses would have had to come out and makeup would be washed off. Why in the world would I go to any trouble to look any better than I felt? It was a waste of time and energy. But when my family doctor walked in my room the morning after my surgery, she was physically turning around and started walking out again. Because she didn't recognize me! She said it was because of my glasses, but you add to that the lack of make up and a very bad hair day ... and I was actually a little bit relieved that she didn't recognize me!

Once I was home, I really didn't see the point in trying to 'pretty myself up'. I showered and freshened up and that helped me feel a little more alive. But I didn't place any more effort into my looks than that. Why?

What I found, is that I acted differently when I didn't take those extra steps to enhance the look of that reflection in the mirror. Yes, I was recouperating from surgery ... but a few strokes of make up and a few extra minutes with my hair would have added a boost of something to my self esteem. I started acting the part of 'patient'.

Five days into my recovery, I had friends over. So I took those extra moments and made myself look healthy. And amazingly, when I took that extra effort I actually felt better as well. I started 'living up' to the reflection in the mirror (still no great shakes, but you should have seen the unadorned me ... not a pretty sight!).

Last week, I took a small step back into my babysitting world (a few of my before and after school kids). I got up every morning and 'dressed for work'. Contact lenses, make up and a bit more fussing with my hair. I was definitely feeling better every day, but I felt the correlation between the way I dressed to the way I felt.

This morning, I face the luxury of a Saturday off!! I don't have kids to babysit and I am on a sick leave from my 'Saturday job'. So I questioned how much effort to put into my looks today.

I have some bookwork to do, so I wanted to get myself into work-mode. That meant putting in my contact lenses (I can see much better with them). And once I made that step, I knew that I should put my 'best face forward'. I took the extra steps to outline my fading features so a person could find my eyes in the bland canvas of my face. I primped with my hair a bit. I dressed the part of a person who was excited about facing the day ... and now I'm prepared to live it.

I once worked in an office where the only contact we had with the public was on the telephone. Our dress code at work was still business attire. And the reasoning behind that was very much what I realized as these past days of not 'dressing the part' of a healthy person. A person's telephone voice picks up on a lot. If you are dressed business-like, you tend to carry that into your voice. When you dress the part, you tend to 'act' the part.

I have had a few friends that have faced very serious health issues. And though I am sure that each of them would have had many days that they weren't feeling their best when I saw them, they 'put their best face forward' and acted the part of a healthier feeling person.

I don't believe that those extra steps of pampering are a cure all. But I do believe that it helps a person to feel a little better about themselves (no matter what they are battling - healing, depression, exhaustion ...) when you take some time to pamper yourself in some way that makes you feel better about yourself.

I have followed Rosie O'Donnell's blog and her comments and advise to others about battling depression are always the same. "Shower, sunshine and move" ... a little bit of 'yellow' in the day (no matter what form it takes for each individual) may not be an end-all solution. But it certainly can't hurt. Feeling good inside, having a positive outlook from within makes a huge difference to how you deal with so many things.

What makes each individual 'act the part' of a happier, healthier, less stressed person is as individual as the person. To take the time for yourself to feel 'yellow' within, is a good investment.

Be good to yourself ...

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