Guest Post by Helen Reynolds
A beautifully cut jacket.
My hierarchy of needs runs somewhat differently from Maslow’s version.
You might laugh, or think ‘that’s ridiculous!’ And, yes, to some extent it is ridiculous! But, I know that in order to be happy, I HAVE to feel confident about how I look on the outside. I HAVE to feel looked after.
My family is composed of two teenage boys and a hard-working, globe-trotting husband, so, like many women, I have come to realise that if I’m going to feel looked after, it’s me who has to take the steps needed to make that happen.
As a professional image consultant, I meet incredible women every day; each one of them is unique. But, my clients have one huge thing in common: they’ve been putting themselves at the bottom of the list for a very long time. Of course, at times – when you are firefighting a barrage of family or work commitments – salon visits or exercise time have to be shelved. But, when you make this a way of life, it has a damaging effect on your soul.
The process that I go through when working with women is sometimes quite a revealing one. It’s not coaching, but I usually find out a lot about what makes each individual tick.
What I often discover is that, under the veneer of successful, professional person, lurks someone who feels uncomfortable in her own skin. Someone desperately unhappy with the way she looks. Someone who is often hyper-stressed or tearful about getting dressed for a big event, and who on occasion refuses invitations because she doesn’t feel confident enough in her clothes to attend. This breaks my heart.
To me, having a great outfit is about more than vanity. It’s got NOTHING to do with competing with other women, or having to look the part on the school run. It’s about looking after yourself. Letting your clothes show the authentic ‘you’ on the inside. Using what you have in your wardrobe to build your confidence and act as the armour you need to go into battle and make change happen.
Thankfully the times when being ashamed or feeling guilty about looking after our own needs are almost behind us. And, nothing makes me gladder than to see ‘self-care’, ‘filling your own cup’, ‘fitting your own oxygen mask first’, etc moving up the agenda for women.
Taking care of yourself if vital. I can’t put it better than Jo did in her recent article about how to create your own self-care plan. But, what I can do is add to the debate and end the shaming of women who like to look after themselves by outing myself!
So, in the interest of openness and female solidarity, here are the things that I enjoy doing when I take a little time for myself:
- Regular haircuts and colour – I ALWAYS rebook when I leave the salon, otherwise I struggle to make time to ring for another appointment
- Gym time – I’m not really ‘driven’ about exercising, but I know that my mood always lifts when I’ve done something active. If I can’t get there three times a week, I’ll prioritise a walk around the block.
- Wardrobe management – (I know, it’s my job, but I still love it!!!) I spend time thinking about what’s in my wardrobe, where the holes are and identifying what I need to buy to make outfits complete.
- Watching TV – I watch a lot of ‘non-intellectual’ TV programmes. I LOVE them. Some of them are woefully dreadful but they help me to wind down. Sue me.
- Massage – I’m not talking about spa massage, but I regularly visit my local professional masseuse. Otherwise stress goes straight to my shoulder and it starts to hurt.
Having these things as my ‘go-to’ activities, just for me, mean that I am a much better mum, wife, daughter and friend. When I’ve made time in my schedule for what is important to me I’m genuinely happy to prioritise the things that are important to my family and friends, like visiting Homebase or hanging off a zip-wire. And, I am more available for everyone else without that nagging feeling that I’d prefer to be watching X Factor or sorting through my vest tops.
If you’d like to change things up, get to grips with your personal style and give your confidence a turbo-boost, why not join Helen at her fantastic Masterclass: Get Your Style Sorted! On 13th May 2017, in central London.
You can get your hands on an early-bird ticket until 24th of April 2017, when the price will increase. Helen only runs this event once per year, and places are limited, so if you want a bargain, book now!