Why you should still get dressed while working from home

Though pajamas seem to be the work-from-home uniform of choice during self-isolation, there's good reason to think about swapping your sweatpants for khakis.

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Psychotherapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling spoke to Fox News about the importance of getting dressed every day, even while working from home, and how it benefits your mental health and productivity.

“Any kind of structure is important in this time of unprecedented disorganization,” Smerling said of getting up and getting dressed in the morning, as if you were going into the office.

“It’s a ritual. Ritual helps us focus,” she said. “This can be a ritual — that you get dressed, you have your coffee, you make your bed.

“This signals you have changed from sleepiness to actual work efficiency,” she said.

The simple task of putting on pants, she said, helps “set up a new environment.”

“You’ve transformed your mental state from one of relaxation and sleepiness into one where you’re working. You’ve changed the scenery.


“It’s reframing morning from night. We all need that reframe now in this time.”

Smerling likened the practice to maintaining general hygiene habits, and the effect it has on your mental state and focus.

“You think better, if you notice, when you take a shower — when you have a structure,” she said. “It’s just one of the variety of ways to mentally prepare yourself for the end of one scene and the beginning of another.

“It’s like you’re in a Broadway play,” she said. “You’re changing the scenery.”

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Though, if you’re really committed to the elastic waistband, Smerling says there are other ways to create that same “feeling” of starting a new day without having to change your clothes. You just have to separate yourself from work mode and home mode.

“You have to set up these demarcations of where I sleep and where I work,” she said. “Wherever your work space, you have to mentally prepare yourself to transition from sleep to work.”

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