Aside from the odd social engagement, errand to run or meeting to attend, I spend most of my days working from home. My Instagram has often documented the highs and lows of this new career path, but for the most part I love it. What’s not to love about chasing your biggest dream every day for a living?
With being at home all day, I don’t have a dress code to adhere to. I don’t have to wear a uniform or obey strict rules of what I can and cannot wear. I can be myself, as comfy and as casual as I want to be.
When I first started working from home, I pretty much stayed in my pyjamas all day. I didn’t have to get dressed, so I wouldn’t. The novelty of being able to wear pyjamas whilst I worked was great at first. Wearing them meant I could get up and start working straight away rather than fuss choosing an outfit.
As time went by, though, I realised just how much this ultimate casual dress sense was restricting me. In all honesty, I think I developed a bit of anxiety from being in a homebody state 24/7. If I had to do something like pick up a few bits from the shop or return a parcel, it felt really overwhelming. The smallest tasks suddenly seemed enormous and I felt nervous if I had to go out alone. My pyjamas were my comfort blanket, my security. Getting out of them and into ‘real clothes’ became an effort and, in all honesty, something I feared.
I knew that had to stop. That behaviour just wasn’t me. I have always been social and self motivated, not introverted and fearful. I used to enjoy going out and meeting new people. I was the one who wanted to come to Australia in the first place because I wanted to experience a new way of life. Whilst writing for a living has been more amazing than I could have imagined, I didn’t want it to turn me into a recluse. I wanted to be out in the real world living life, not scared to step outside.
So I decided to get dressed, an act that sounds so simple but has made such a difference to my mental health. Every morning, I select an outfit of ‘real’ clothes. It’s never anything fancy, but it signals a shift in mindset – it’s time to focus now, time to get the job done.
Some people minimise the idea of clothing and fashion and call them frivolous, but to me these last few months have shown me their importance more than ever. They are your armour. You put them on and you tell the world who you are. You look in the mirror and shout ‘I’m ready for you’.
That’s how getting dressed every morning makes me feel – like I’m ready to take on the world. Even if at times the only person who sees me all day is Jack, it doesn’t matter. Getting dressed shows me that I can face anything.
Making midweek plans doesn’t phase me anymore. The idea of going to the shop by myself or for a walk alone doesn’t make me panic like it used to. When I wake up, I put on my uniform for the day, my ‘real people’ clothes that remind me that just because I work from home doesn’t mean that I have to stay inside forever. I can write from a coffee shop or a library, I can take my notepad to the beach and write chapters out by hand. I can do whatever with my day because I am dressed and ready for it.
Never underestimate the power of clothing. Clothes have the power to make you become who you want to be. Even in my pyjamas, I never lazed about at home and did nothing – I always worked, wrote, chased dreams – but being properly clothed has taken that up a notch. I take myself more seriously because I treat myself more seriously. Who knows where this attitude will take me next…