Whether you’re nine or 99, looking clean and neat will help boost your friendships and opportunities in life.
Almost anyone will have more self-confidence at a job interview, court appearance, or social event if he or she has invested in self-care. The more attention you’ve paid to grooming, the more easily you can forget yourself and concentrate on others.
Making time to honor your appearance makes others want to be around you. Besides, if you’re feeling “presentable” to others, you can quickly meet someone for lunch or a community event. Otherwise, you may hold back and not go.
“I’ve started a program at our senior center to help older people feel polished,” says a young woman we’ll call Brittany. “I got tired of seeing my grandma and her friends looking neglected.”
Any of us, whatever our age, can say “yes” to more fun, activities, and social events if we feel okay about our looks.
“When my life gets extremely stressful, the first two things I neglect are cleaning my house and my appearance,” says a young mother of two. We’ll call her Diana.
“I work six hours a day, care for the kids, and crash for a nap before dinner,” says Diana. How can I grab hold of my time planning, so I look like a well-groomed person?”
These tips can help Diana or anyone:
• Get your hair done regularly. Whether you are male or female, your hair is a major part of your appearance. Invest in a cut, color, and perhaps a wig if you’re female.
• Keep your nails in decent shape. Whether you’re a young mother or a 90-year-old grandfather, having nice hands and feet shows you have self-respect and pay attention to details.
• Hire some household help, if you can afford it. This guarantees you some time to work on spiffing yourself up. For example, pay your teenage niece to vacuum and change the beds once a week. Or, hire a cleaning service for a few hours each month.
• Keep a few nice outfits hanging in the closet. Be sure to envision what you’d put on if, for example, you needed to go to a funeral this week. Picture your outfit if your co-workers asked you to join them for a movie tonight.
“I’d just returned from a business trip, when I learned my cousin’s husband had died,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Marcie. “It was early Sunday morning when I picked up the local paper. The funeral was Sunday night! I found an outfit, but my hair was a disaster. I’d gotten rained on that day.”
Marcie says she has a short wig for such occasions. “I don’t wear it often, but when I need it, it saves my sanity,” she told us.
Most of us likely feel guilty when we spend a lot of time on our appearance. But, giving attention to little details makes us feel loved and cared for.
“My son came home from college last weekend,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Roberta. “He wanted to introduce his girlfriend to his grandma at a local retirement facility. “Thank goodness I’d just been there to make sure her hair was done and she was nicely dressed. All of us need to pay close attention to our older relatives and how they look and feel. They are still part of the family.”
^pJudi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips.” She is also executive director of USA Wellness Café at www.usawellnesscafe.com. Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.^p