How your clothing can help you deal with anxiety

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While it may seem silly, shallow or feel weird to spend so much time and effort thinking about clothing, it is worth the effort. Most of us (myself included) have gone through life buying things just because we thought they were pretty. I’ve bought things to make me happy when I felt sad, when I had a date I wanted to look a certain way for, or for a job I felt I needed to change for. I didn’t think about the bigger picture when I was buying these things – I didn’t think about who I really was and who I truly wanted to be. I was reacting, often on impulse.

I also NEVER got rid of anything. I had years and years of unnecessary clothing that I was saving for a day when I might have needed a certain top, or because I felt guilty after spending so much money that I couldn’t get rid of it. I would be overwhelmed every time I went to get dressed. Nothing went together, or fit properly, or felt right. I had so many clothes, but nothing to wear.

When I started doing my own personal work trying to overcome an anxiety disorder, one of the first things I did was take everything out of my closet and start getting rid of it. It took many, many tries before I finally came up with a system that worked for me. A system that built a wardrobe out of a huge closet. Being an anxious human, decluttering my life is a simple form of therapy. Organizing is a visual and practical way of calming oneself, so I have become a true artist in changing mundane, cluttered rooms into beautiful, inspiring spaces.

Parts of my process have been inspired by experts of decluttering like Marie Kondo. Other parts come from my deep spirituality and what I have learned through trusting my intuition. I have also spent most of my life working in retail, which means I have a deep understanding of style, women's bodies, and the inner (and external!) conversations we have with ourselves around getting dressed. Through running Flopsy Life, I have gained behind the scenes insight into small, ethical clothing companies, and know which ones make the best pieces for the right price points.

I now have what I call an “intuitive wardrobe”. It’s not separated into work clothing and fun clothing. I don’t switch anything out seasonally (except maybe shorts – I do live in Calgary after all). It is not particularly stylish or full of the latest trends in poorly made fabrics. It’s also not spread out among many different closets or rooms. I use my intuition to select what I keep and add, which in turn helped me recognize how to use my intuition in all other areas of my life. It’s drastically changed who I am and how I live - and I couldn’t be more grateful for the lessons.

Now, everything I own is around 50 pieces total (year round, including lounging and workout wear. Seriously.). It’s beautifully organized and displayed like in a store. I invest in a couple pieces of clothing a year that are ethically made and will last for many, many years. All my pieces fit me perfectly, and work together. I can grab anything, even half asleep, and look amazing. I don’t get overwhelmed or feel self-conscious when I get ready. It might seem little, but putting the effort into fixing my wardrobe has changed my life. I know it can do the same for you.

When you’re ready for it, check out the other Style Musings and free workbooks. If you want some serious one-on-one support, let’s talk.