Today, I broke down and dyed my roots. I have a strong gray streak on one side that started after 9/11, and kicked up after my mother died—and let’s just say that Cruella de Vil is not really an on-brand look for me. I had been rationing my stash of hair dye so I’d let my hair go. But today, I just couldn’t look at my lockdown locks anymore.
It’s bad enough that I’m in some form of jammies all day. I’m like that meme circulating on Facebook: It’s 8pm. Time to change from your daytime pajamas to your nighttime pajamas. And I’m sure my skin is happy, but the no-makeup look? Not me at all.
My friends call me a fashionista. “A real-life Carrie Bradshaw,” someone said once of me. And true, after years of working in magazine publishing, I do have a closet Carrie would envy. I never leave the house without my hair and makeup done, and I never wear sweats or yoga pants in public. Ever. I have a passion for fashion, and that’s a big part of who I am as a creative person. To not be made up every day is a glaring reminder that things are not as they should be. And today, I decided to do something about that.
We’ve been talking a lot about some of the new ways we can use this free time while in confinement, like trying yoga, learning a skill online. But maintaining the usual habits that make us feel normal are important, too. When my mother was battling cancer, in the hospital for weeks, she had a moment when she decided enough was enough. She suddenly got out of the bed, went to the bathroom and washed her face. Then she coiffed her hair and put on her signature red lipstick. “There,” she said, with a defiant look on her face. “Better.” That day she won a small victory over a dire situation. And I felt better, too, because in that moment, I had my mother back.
In times like these, it’s the little things that can make a difference mentally. What routines, or personal habits are worth keeping up—for ourselves and our children—so we feel less diminished by the effects of this pandemic? For me, it’s making more of effort to look less like a raggedy shut-in. Like my mother that day in the hospital, I decided it was time to stop looking the way I was feeling. Surely, if I look better, more like myself, I will feel better, too. I may even put on a skirt and top today. Or, at least, some red lipstick.
What are you doing to help this time feel more “normal?” Share it in the comments.
Tip of the day
Create a schedule to give your day some construct, and include whatever habitual activities are not curtailed by the lockdown. For any of those that activities that are curtailed, like going to the salon or gym, or group activities, create a similar activity (home salon, video chats, etc.) and do it at the same scheduled time. It’s more than keeping up appearances; it’s keeping up the things that make us who we are, and the comfort that can bring.