Anxiety & Personal Style
“Should I wear these pants or those pants?”
“Should I really throw this away? What if I need it later?”
“Where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where do you want to go?”
”I don’t know.”
Do these refrains sound familiar? These are the types of things that are constantly running through my head. I’ve struggled to make decisions for a while, even before this hard season. Decisions that seem simple to make would have me second guessing everything. I always asked for my mom’s or husband’s thoughts before wearing an outfit. I would change multiple times if something wasn’t just right. I struggled internally to pick a place to go to dinner when asked. What if we went somewhere and I didn’t like it? It seems ridiculous to most people, but decisions haunt me. I literally hate making decisions.
Until I did some research on my own and actually started seeing a mental health professional, I thought I was just extremely indecisive and that I would be this annoying for the rest of my life. (I feel bad for my family.) As it turns out, struggling to make decisions is a symptom of anxiety. When I paired that struggle to make decisions with the symptoms people usually think of when they hear anxiety—heart flutters, gut response, fear—it made more sense.
One way I have been working on making decisions has been through clothes.
I love clothes. But I never really had a personal style. I always aspired to be like someone else. I’m originally from California, but I never had the typical “Cali Girl” look. And, boy, did I wish I did when I was younger! They were so pretty and perfect! And I was so…awkward and “normal.” I always thought my mom was stylish and put together and professional—I wanted to be like that when I was a grown up!
But then I grew up. And I realized…I am none of those things. I am a combination of a lot of things, and that is what makes me who I am. So I started choosing clothes and outfits that I like, that I feel good in. I took inspiration from things I like and started to make my own style. It’s far from perfected, but every time I choose something to wear, I’m thinking about who I want to be.
How does this relate to anxiety? Part of that personal style is choosing pieces that are easy for me to make decisions with. I actually tend to think through what I would wear with a particular item of clothing before I buy it. That way, when I go to wear it, it’s as if I’ve already made the decision. I also prefer simple pieces that I can pair with just about anything. This lessens the decision I have to make, which helps me not feel overwhelmed when I choose an outfit.
Interestingly enough, working on developing my personal style has helped my decision making. I feel good in the clothes I wear, so my confidence is better. When my confidence is better, I don’t feel as much of that anxiety. And when I don’t feel as much of that anxiety, decisions become a little easier.
If you’re struggling through anxiety and decision making, start by decisively making small decisions each day. Find something small to focus that energy on and develop it. You’ll likely find yourself making decisions for that thing. And as you develop it, you’ll feel more confident, and that confidence will radiate through your other every day decisions. Because you’ll see if you do it once, you can do it again.